Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth and Sports, Obinna Ogba, has explained that it will be difficult for first-timers to become Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives in the country.
Ogba who represents Ebonyi Central said the two chambers of the National Assembly have their rules on how Senate President and Speaker can emerge which favour ranking members.
He noted that if green horns emerge as the new leaders of the National Assembly, they will not be able to know the rules of the Assembly and apply them after their emergence.
He disclosed this when speaking with journalists in his Nkalagu residence in Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
He, however, called for the conduct of general elections for all the elective positions in the country on the same day to reduce cost and electoral fraud.
He disclosed that he is among those sponsoring a bill to amend the electoral act so that subsequent general elections will be held one day for all the positions in the country.
He said: “I am one of those who will be sponsoring a bill to amend the electoral act. We are going to change the system of elections, all the elections must be conducted one day. But I will be one of those who will sponsor the bill but if it fails, it is no longer my making.
“It is a waste of resources to divide elections into two. Since they can give you three ballot papers, they can give you five papers and you just cast your votes. It will save money, it will save lives, and it will save many things.
“I think it should be left for the National Assembly members; the Senators and House of Representatives members to decide who leads them but you don’t rule out ranking because if you bring a fresher, he may not have had the opportunity to go through the rules of the National Assembly. The Senate has rules, the House of Representatives have rules and it is part of the privileges old National Assembly members will enjoy.
“I don’t want my governor to say that I don’t want him to be a Senate President but from the discussions I am having, the only way a fresher can come is that they can elect a Senate President today and impeach him or her, after four months or five months, then all of them are now ranking because the moment you stay three months, you are now a ranking Senator. So, that person can be elected
“But for now, it is difficult because the first assignment in National Assembly is an election. So, the new person will not even know when to hit the gavel and when not to hit the gavel because the first thing is an election and after the election, the President takes the seat.
“He has to adjourn and there will be a motion. So, if a new person is elected, the person may not know what to do. So, let us allow National Assembly members to do their jobs,” he said.
He called for support of the incoming administration in Ebonyi State which will be headed by Chief Francis Nwifuru the governor-elect.
“I believe that power belongs to God. Even if a man wants to stop you, he can’t succeed except God allows him to do so. I am happy that the people I supported won the elections.
“I urge you journalists to give maximum support to the incoming government led by Ogbonna Nwifuru. He is a young man with potential. Administrations are different. From Walter Feghabo different from Simeon Oduoye to Sam Egwu, Elechi, and Umahi, all were different.
“It is not easy to preside over the House of Assembly for 8 years. Nwifuru has gotten experience. He knows the state in and out.
“I am not Nwifuru’s adviser. As an Ebonyian, I know that the outgoing governor has done well, especially in the area of infrastructure.
“He has even said to my hearing that he will empower Ebonyi people to make them stand tall with others outside the state. Other advice to him will be private and not for your consumption.
“Do not assume that anything will happen with our support to him no matter what an elder told you. If there are 5 people who ensured that Umahi becomes governor, I am one of them. Umahi is still my incumbent governor. I will not discuss him in public.
“At my valedictory speech, I will tell Nigerians that it will take a long time for us to be one. We should not deceive ourselves. Anyone telling you that Igbos have been forgiven after the war is deceiving himself. It will take us a lot of time to speak our minds in this country to avoid being witch-hunted or killed. There is no freedom of speech.
“Whether we like it or not, Ebonyi is our state. Political parties are just vehicles to get to our destination. The leaders of the state decided that the north zone should produce the governor.
“The NWC of PDP for reasons best known to them shot itself in the foot. It decided to give the ticket to the incumbent governor’s cousin. If you are talking about suspension, you can write to them to do so.”