I won’t resign for Gbajabiamila - Lasun
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yusuf Lasun, said on Tuesday that he would not resign for Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila having been duly elected by members to occupy the position.
He spoke in Abuja amid speculation that he had come under pressure from some forces in the All Progressives Congress in the South-West, asking him to step down for a former Minority Leader of the House, Gbajabiamila.
But Lasun, who was accosted by journalists at the National Assembly as he stepped out of a committee room, reacted, “That is a speculation; why will I resign?
“I went through an election on the mandate of the Speaker (Mr. Yakubu Dogara).”
It will be recalled that Lasun, who is from Osun State, had defeated his rival, Mr. Mohammed Monguno, from Borno State, to become the deputy speaker on June 9.
Lasun polled 203 votes as against Monguno’s 153.
The eventual winner of the speakership slot, Mr. Yakubu Dogara from Bauchi State, had also defeated Gbajabiamila by 182 votes to 174.
However, there were speculations that a few days after the election, Lasun came under pressure to quit.
A delegation of lawmakers from the zone reportedly met with him to raise the issue.
One National Assembly official, who was privy to the alleged discussions, stated, “Members, mostly from the South-West, took part in the discussions. They were sent to meet Lasun to explain to him why it was necessary for him to step down for Gbajabiamila.
“The point was made that the zone needed a stronger person to represent the South-West in the leadership.”
But, on Tuesday, Lasun told reporters that there was no way he would resign, having been elected by his colleagues to be their deputy speaker.
The deputy speaker spoke soon after he inaugurated a 37-member Ad Hoc Committee on Welfare set up by Dogara to source car loans for members and equip their offices.
The committee is also to allocate offices to all 360 members and process the payment of their entitlements, including accommodation, to enable them to settle down for work.
About 233 of the 360 members were elected for the first time and currently have no accommodation in Abuja.
But, Lasun also seized the opportunity to defend the N150bn the National Assembly had spent as its budget since 2010.
The budget was only reduced to N120bn in the 2015 Appropriation Act.
Lasun argued that, contrary to the views held outside the legislature that it was spending too much, the National Assembly spent less than three per cent of the total budget of the Federal Government.
He stated that the legislature was a separate arm of government with its own peculiarities.
The deputy speaker spoke more, “So, when you talk about salary, it has to be tied to something. Let me tell you this, for the last years with the exception of 2015, the budget of National Assembly has been N150bn, and that is exactly 2.67 per cent of the total budget of the Federation.
“So, I don’t know where people see this when they say it is 25 per cent of the budget of the federation; the budget of the National Assembly is 2.6 7 per cent of the federation, so it is not overblown.
“People have suddenly forgotten or they don’t know that there are 469 members of the National Assembly, and each with five aides and they will be paid from the N150bn.
“The assembly itself with its technocrats and the staffers; we have the National Assembly Service Commission, all of them draw their salaries and allowances from this N150bn.”