“Somebody asked if we are going to counter the PDP by offering automatic tickets, and I asked, did we serve anybody a departure ticket?”
Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) House of Representatives members have pleaded with the national leadership of the ruling party to guarantee them automatic return tickets to the National Assembly.
Making the appeal when he led other members to the national secretariat of the party, Reps Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, argued that it would take between six months to one year to train first timers.
“I want to remind you, Mr Chairman, of our discussion few weeks ago, that you continue to fight for these members. Many of them are first-timers and that alone is a case to be made.
“If we want this country to develop, we cannot continue to toss people around. They have acquired experience, as ranking members, to drive the party at the grassroots level, and should be given serious consideration.
“It is the same you second timers. We have discussed this at length and I know you are doing everything you can to make sure they come back.
“Because, if they don’t come back, we are going to spend the rest six months to one year training the fresh legislators, and how would that help the party and the country? I appeal to you to use everything in your power to fight for them the same way they are fighting for you and for the party now,” he appealed.
However, responding to the request from the lawmakers, national chairman of the ruling party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, said the party was concerned about producing seasoned legislators.
“Somebody asked if we are going to counter the PDP by offering automatic tickets, and I asked, did we serve anybody a departure ticket? If we did not give you a departure ticket, how did the issue of return ticket arise?
“For me, we are clear that every legislator, who has value and is at home with his people and not with the godfather’s in their communities, is an asset to our party, and this party will do everything possible to retain them.
“Only on Wednesday, I said to the caucus of the Senate, that my hope is that once we clean up the system and we are able to distinguish our left from the right, and can now see clearly as people who believe in particular set of idea, our party must consciously work to achieve a situation where Nigeria will produce seasoned legislators and congressmen, like we have in the US, where a Senator McCain will speak, and even a mad president listens. We must get there.
“But, if it takes them 100 years to get there, we don’t have to wait that long. We don’t have to reinvent the will because we copy what is attractive and discard what is not.
“It can’t be argued that experience should be discarded because in the real world, nobody can give what he does not have and experience is not learnt from the book, but acquired on the job, where honest mistakes are made and intelligent and honest people can identify those mistakes, overcome them and move on,” he quipped.
Stating their mission to the party house, the Reps Majority Leader said: “I called for this meeting and I know how busy you are, criss crossing and the NWC team as well, but at short notice you did not hesitate.”