Betara, Gagdi stepped down for Abbas — Campaign organisation

The Joint Task – 10th Assembly, a coalition of members-elect of the 10th House of Representatives across party lines, has said two leading contenders, Aliyu Betara and Yusuf Gagdi, have stepped down for the candidate of the All Progressives Congress for Speaker in the coming 10th National Assembly.

The Tajudeen Abbas/Benjamin Kalu Joint Task Campaign Office made the claim in a statement issued on Sunday night in Abuja.

The statement was titled ‘Disregard Claims that Tinubu Wasn’t Aware of Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas Adoption by APC…Rt. Hon. Abbas Expresses Readiness to Win on the Floor on Tuesday…as Betara, Gagdi Step Down for Abbas.’

It partly read, “It has come to the attention of the Joint Task – 10th Assembly that some aspirants for the Speakership of the 10th House of Representatives claimed that the President/Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu, never mentioned the name of Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas was his preferred candidate for Speaker, but that the President only said he aligned with the position of the All Progressives Congress National Working Committee on zoning arrangements.

“It is pertinent to mention that the so-called G-7 no longer exists as key members of the forum such as Rt. Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, Rt. Hon. Muktar Aliyu Betara, Rt. Hon. Yusuf Adamu Gagdi, Rt. Hon. Makki Yalleman and Rt. Hon. Raheem Tunji Olawuyi, among others, have since dropped their speakership ambitions and declared support for the Abbas/Kalu ticket. It is worthy to note that Betara and Gagdi announced that they stepped down for Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas today, Sunday, June 11, 2023, after a meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima.

“As of Sunday, June 11, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas (PhD) has secured the endorsement of the overwhelming majority of members-elect across the eight political parties in the six geopolitical zones, and he is ready to compete on the floor of the House and take the mantle of leadership of the 10th House come Tuesday, June 13, 2023.”

The campaign organisation stated that the APC NWC, on May 8, 2023, “consulted with the President before reaching that resolution.”

The Abbas/Kalu group added, “Therefore, it is preposterous to claim that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was not aware of the adoption of Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas as Speaker. We urge the public, especially the media, to disregard such claims.”

Neither Betara nor Gagdi could be reached as of press time on Sunday night to confirm if they had stepped down from the speakership race, and for whom.

(Punch)