Why Femi Gbajabiamila May Not Become Speaker

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Why Femi Gbajabiamila May Not Become Speaker

Why Femi Gbajabiamila May Not Become Speaker
May 12
04:51 2019

…The Odds Against Gbajabiamila, The Anti-Tinubu Forces at Play

Lightning never strikes the same place twice, so the saying goes. If developments unveiling around the race for the Speakership of the 9th House of Representatives are anything to go by, Femi Gbajabiamila, present Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, may be twice beaten to the race. There is no gainsaying Gbajabiamila’s experience, competencies and erudition stand him in good stead for the job, the reasons why becoming Speaker may slip off his grasp for the second term is that the forces against him are gathering momentum, and those forces are perfecting their scheme in sheer silence and in perfidious conjunction with some of the returning members considered as Gbajabiamila’s close allies. Also, the opposition of some governors, especially of northern extraction, to Gbajabiamila’s bid are formidable and may undo his ambition.

TheCapital has reliably gathered that the only ace that could guarantee Gbajabiamila a victory in June is if the leadership of the All Progressives Congress eventually succeeds at reaching a consensus and prevails on a top contender for the position, Honourable Mohammed Bago, to shelve his ambition; otherwise all that seems like coasting home to victory would come to ruins on the day of the election in June. Bago, a third-time representative from Chanchanga federal constituency of Niger State has vehemently stood against the zoning arrangement that schemed out his geographical region of the North Central which polled the third highest votes in last election after North West and North East. Contrary to reports projecting Gbajabiamila as favourite, Bago enjoys supports of present leadership of the House and most of the ranking officers.

Current Speaker and Deputy Speaker, Yakubu Dogara and Lasun Yusuff were said to be rooting for Bago; and they have been working quietly to ensure he comes out victorious. Dogara is said to have been mandated to work with members of the Peoples Democratic Party while Lasun is reaching out to members of APC through his Chief of Staff, Bimbo Daramola, who has been the public face of ‘Bago for Speaker’ campaign. According to TheCapital source, pro-Bago members are swelling in number and would pull a surprise in June. The source hinted that many of returning and new members being paraded as Gbajabiamila supporters are playing to the gallery and doing so for fear of punitive actions from the party leadership. “It is a block vote for Bago from PDP members. Majority of our people from the North are also in firm support of Bago,” said the source who pleaded anonymity.

Bago is also said to be enjoying the supports of some governors who are not comfortable with the growing influence of the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, whose preference for Gbajabiamila is vocal and visible. These governors are mobilising resources for the emergence of Bago in a bid to whittle down Asiwaju’s influence. This alignment against Gbajabiamila, according to the source, is a forerunner to the intrigues of 2013 general elections, of which Asiwaju is reported to be positioning himself for President. The governors, especially of northern Nigeria, are averse to Asiwaju’s aspiration, and are ready to work against it. To this group, it is going to be Christian South and Muslim North ticket for the APC come 2023. In fact, several of them are not pondering to the candidacy of Vice President Yemi Osibajo, who should be the natural successor to President Muhammadu Buhari. The name of Kayode Fayemi has crept into the equation as a dark horse while for others, it would rather be Babatunde Fashola if at all the APC toys with the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket, not Asiwaju

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