Members-elect of various minority caucuses of the House of Representatives in the 10th National Assembly met on Tuesday ahead of the inauguration in June.
The meeting, which had lawmakers from the six minority political parties in attendance, is aimed at forming an alliance ahead of the inauguration of the 10th assembly.
A ranking lawmaker from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Fred Agbedi, said the meeting was to enable the lawmakers-elect and returning legislators to “network, interact and familiarise” before their inauguration.
He said the minority caucuses have the highest number of elected lawmakers in the 10th assembly, giving them “greater strength to deepen opposition politics and democracy”.
A member of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Abdulmumin Jibrin, said the opposition lawmakers must work “very closely” to protect their interest.
“We understand that for us to be able to put through our collective interest, for us to be able to protect our ideals as minority parties that fundamentally serve as a check to the ruling party, and to be able to contribute to nation building, we must come together,” he said.
Alluding to the lawmakers in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Jibrin told the opposition lawmakers that whoever calls them for a meeting and “tells you anything — is not telling you the honest truth”.
“If we do not put ourselves together, we will not be able to marshal through our interests,” he said.
Another ranking member, Beni Lar, said the minority caucuses can achieve a “common goal” if they are united.
“All of us put together are now the majority and a greater majority. This is something that many parliaments around the world seek to achieve but cannot achieve. I believe that with our numbers, strength and with our doggedness, we can achieve our common goal and purpose,” she said.
The meeting subsequently moved into a private session after remarks by the representatives of each party.
The APC controls 162 of the 325 House of Representatives seats declared so far by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The opposition political parties have 163 seats between them.
The PDP has 102, Labour Party (LP) has 34 and NNPP controls 18 seats.
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has four seats, while the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) have two each and the (Young Progressives Party (YPP) has one.
The electoral umpire is scheduled to conduct supplementary elections in about 32 federal constituencies.