Speaker: Abbas, Betara split opposition camp

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The coalition of minority members-elect has been split by contests for the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the 10th House of Representatives.

It was discovered that a new coalition was supporting Tajudeen Abbas, who was endorsed by the All Progressives Congress, while the “10th Assembly Greater Majority,” a group of the minority lawmakers-elect, was supporting Aliyu Betara, a member of Borno State.

The Peoples Democratic Party and other minority parties with elected representatives in the 10th House have formed the coalition known as the “10th Assembly – Greater Majority,” but many lawmakers-elect are leaving the group.

On Monday (today), the disgruntled opposition figures, including those from Rivers State who support Governor Nyesom Wike, plan to introduce the Minority Parties’ Forum, a parallel minorities’ coalition.

The new development occurred as the opposition camp’s candidates for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the 10th Assembly, Greater Majority, were set to be introduced this week.

On May 2, 2023, the coalition announced that it would eventually nominate members from within its ranks for the positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

The coalition claimed that the move was required as a result of the “discordant tunes coming from the stable of the ruling APC.” As there are 183 members in the coalition, compared to the ruling party’s 177, the opposition members-elect declared that they were determined to enter the fray by providing credible and alternative leadership options.

As a result, the 10th Assembly’s Greater Majority established an 11-person committee with the mandate to shortlist, screen, and ultimately recommend candidates within a week.

Nicholas Mutu (PDP) serves as the committee’s chairman, Victor Ogene (LP) is its secretary, and Abdulmumini Jibrin (NNPP) is its vice chairman. In addition, there are Idris Salman, Beni Lar, Ali Isa, Alhassan Rurum, Mathew Kuzalio, Salisu Majigiri, Nnabuife Chinwe, Jonathan Gbefwi, and Oluwole Oke.

Several members of the 10th Assembly: Greater Majority have expressed interest in running for the leadership positions, according to Ogene, who spoke with our correspondent on Saturday. He also made a suggestion that the opposition members might adopt and consider one of the APC’s candidates.

However, a member-elect, Solomon Bob (PDP/Rivers), revealed that some members of the 10th Assembly: Greater Majority were leaving and launching a new group of opposition members on Monday in an interview with our correspondent on Sunday.

Bob claimed that Betara, the current chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, was to be chosen as the candidate for the 10th Assembly: Greater Majority.

Ironically, Iduma Igariwey (PDP/Ebonyi), the deputy chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, is rumored to be in charge of the coalition of factional minorities that will supposedly support APC candidates. Alhassan Rurum, a member of the NNPP from Kano State, will serve as the pressure group’s secretary.

I don’t belong to the Greater Majority, I belong to Joint Task – 10th Assembly, the lawmaker declared. With the way things are going, they are actually a small minority right now. Another coalition, the Minority Parties’ Forum, will be created. The launch will take place on Monday. It runs parallel to that one in order to make everyone aware that there is only one Minority Parties’ Forum.

“They cannot come and try to monopolize the idea that the minorities are united in their support for Betara, as they are (allegedly) doing. The public’s perception has been skewed by us, creating the false impression that all minorities support Betara. That’s not accurate.

When questioned about the coalition’s leader, Bob responded, “Igariwey is the one coordinating (the coalition), and Alhassan Rurum is the secretary.”

When asked why Igariwey would oppose Betara’s bid for the speakership given that he was both the committee’s deputy chairman and chairman, Bob responded, “Igariwey has not been with Betara from Day One. Being Betara’s deputy during a term that is coming to an end is one thing, but attempting to bring in a new term is quite another.

The Rivers lawmaker asserted that the Minority Parties’ Forum would include more members of the opposition when questioned about the claim made by the 10th Assembly: Greater Majority that it has more members-elect than the APC caucus.

Where will they get the numbers, asked Bob. Everyone in Oyo State is with us, including the 14 members. Out of nine, only Wole Oke is present in Osun; the other eight are with us. We have all 13 members with us in Rivers. All ten of them are with us in Akwa Ibom. How will they obtain the numbers then?

However, the PDP member acknowledged that the APC candidates would be adopted by the Minority Parties’ Forum. He declared, “We are supporting Tajudeen Abbas, who has the support of the APC.

Igariwey, when reached, acknowledged the development but clarified that it only served to reposition the 10th Assembly: Greater Majority.

It is actually a different minority caucus group, he said. Our motto is not Greater Minority. The only difference is that we’re attempting to reposition the group; otherwise, it’s still the same group. The people who make up this minority group are still the same.

Igariwey responded, “We are going to have our meeting tomorrow.” This was in response to a question about leaders and members of the Greater Majority who have been attending meetings by the Joint Task – 10th Assembly, a coalition of members-elect of the APC and opposition parties that has adopted the zoning plan of the ruling party. You will be better informed about it when we release something akin to a communiqué.

The number of candidates in the opposition coalition who had expressed interest in the speakership race as well as the emergence of another group were both brought up in conversation with Ogene (LP/Anambra), who speaks for the 10th Assembly: Greater Majority.

However, he directed our correspondent to the group’s coordinators, Messrs. Dachung Bagos (PDP/Plateau), Jonathan Gbefwi (SDP/Nasarawa), and Fred Agbedi (PDP/Bayelsa).

Calls were placed to Agbedi, Gbefwi, and Bagos, but none of them answered.

In the meantime, the South-South Youth Alliance declared on Sunday that those opposed to the selection of Godswill Akpabio as Senate President were opposed to the “will of God” for Nigeria, ahead of the June 13 inauguration of the 10th Senate.

Akpabio was referred to by the youth group as a “democrat” who is qualified for the top senate position in a statement released in Abuja.


Senator Akpabio served as the performing governor of Akwa Ibom State, earning the title of “uncommon governor,” according to the statement signed by the group’s coordinator, Benjamin Nwizua. He then went to the Senate, where he rose to the position of Minority Leader before becoming minister of Niger Delta Affairs.

Additionally, a faction of the ruling party operating under the Progressives Foundational Movement has endorsed Abass for Speaker.

The group also begged Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the president-elect, and the APC leadership not to give in to pressure and a subliminal threat to strike Abbas from the list of chosen candidates.

The PFM National Coordinator, Aganaba Johnson, made the appeal in a statement that was released in Abuja on Sunday.

However, the Northern Business Roundtable has urged senators chosen on the platforms of the various parties to support Abdulaziz Yari, the former governor of Zamfara State, in his bid to lead the Senate.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday in Abuja, the group’s spokesperson, Larai Kolo, asserted that Yari possessed the skills and moral fiber necessary to serve as Senate president.


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