The newly elected members of the House of Representatives on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have opted to support Femi Gbajabiamila as the Speaker of the 9th National Assembly.
The current house Majority Leader’s declaration of his intention to run for the speakership had in attendance the one-hundred and seventy members-elect of the House of Representatives from the APC and other political parties, including four speakership aspirants.
Shortly after Gbajabiamila’s delivered his speech, a lawmaker, Magaji Da’u Aliyu (APC, Jigawa), who anchored the event said, “At our last count, we have 170 members of the House in attendance,” to express “our support” for the Lagos Rep.
Some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Action Alliance (AA) and the African Democratic Congress (ADC), the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the African Action Congress (AAC), as well as representatives of the caucuses of the geopolitical zones.
Recall that about 17 members of the House are contesting leadership positions in the House. All of them want to be speaker except Mr Magaji Aliyu from Jigawa State in the North-West who wants to be deputy speaker.
These include include Gbajabiamila, the immediate past Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives) and a former Majority Leader, Kawu Sumaila (APC, Kano); and the Deputy Majority Leader, Ahmed Wase, (APC, Plateau).
Another is the leader of the North-East caucus, Mohammed Monguno (APC, Borno), a ranking member who has just been re-elected for the fifth term just as Gbajabiamila. Also on the list is Olusegun Odebunmi from Oyo State.
Others are an ex-Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khajidat Bukar-Ibrahim (APC, Yobe); Yakub Buba (Adamawa); the Chief Whip, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa (Kano); Chairman, Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas (Adamawa); Chairman, Committee on NIMASA, Umar Bago (Niger); Chairman, Committee on Finance, Babangida Ibrahim-Mahuta (Katsina); Chairman, Committee on Aviation, Nkiruka Onyejeocha (Abia); Chairman, Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, Mr Suleiman Aminu (Kano); Abubakar Lado (Niger); and Muhammed Kazaure (Jigawa).
But the speakership aspirants in attendance during Gbajabiamila’s declaration included Ado-Doguwa, Sumaila, Monguno; and Bukar-Ibrahim, who had earlier served three terms in the House.
Other prominent lawmakers at the event were the leader of Gbajabiamila’s campaign, Abdulmumin Jibrin; Lagos lawmakers, including James Faleke and Rotimi Agunsoye; and some former principal officers of the House.
The PDP lawmakers who were present at the event were Wole Oke (Osun); Iduma Igariwey (Ebonyi) and Jerry Alagbaoso (Imo). They declared their support for Gbajabiamila, asking the aspirant to reach out to more opposition lawmakers.
Oke said, “Gbajabiamila and I came to the House in 2003. We have worked together and I know him in and out. He has been to my office twice and to my house twice, to notify me that he wants to seek election as Speaker of the House of Representatives. He has honoured me and as a well-cultured person, I also have to honour him by attending this declaration, but there is more to this.
“Nigeria is at a critical period of our national life. This is a period that we should be considering issues. So, when we talk about national interest and issues, I can’t see anybody in the House that is more qualified than Gbajabiamila.
“We, from the South-West, we are giving you one of our best. I speak here as Hon. Wole Oke; and honestly, I will be with him all through.”