In a bid to up the ante of his quest for the Speaker of the incoming 8th session of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has set up a 36-man mobilisation committee to canvass support for him in the states of the federation, including the FCT.
Gbajabiamila, who is also the current Minority Leader in the House tasked the state coordinators with job of soliciting support of their other colleagues and assure them of his unwavering intention to fulfil promises made to them in a collective bid to redefine representation in the coming eighth House of Representatives.
Notable among his campaigners are: Hon. Rufai Chanchangi (Kaduna), Hon. Abdullahi Balarabe Silame (Sokoto), Hon. Khadijah Ibrahim (Yobe), Hon. Baderinwa White (Ondo), Hon. Peter Akpatason (Edo), and many others across party lines.
Gbajabiamila, who is also a frontline aspirant for the speakership position Hon. had earlier in a document attached to his letter of intent distributed to his colleagues last week, assured the 360 members-elect of his readiness to ensure transparency and accountability in all House and legislative matters, equitable distribution of committees and chairing opportunities.
He also pledged to ensure adequate input of members through provision of federal presence in all constituencies that would include but are not limited to capital projects, periodic public legislative sessions on national issues rotated between the six geopolitical zone and conscious rebranding of the House as a symbol of democracy.
While the APC is yet to make an official pronouncement on zoning of National Assembly leadership positions. Some lawmakers from the North West, Gbajabiamila has earned a reputation that transcends the reported zoning of the Speakership seat to South West which is already in his favour.
“If not for God and Femi Gbajabiamila the North West through Rt. Hon Aminu Tambuwal could not have been Speaker. He personally led the battle from the front and stood with Tambuwal to the end. So it’s time for us to reward his loyalty and hard stance against anti-democratic antics of the outgoing federal government”, a lawmaker from Kaduna who does not want his name in print said.
Last Wednesday, 194 members met at Protea Hotel, Asokoro, Abuja, and unanimously declared their support for Gbajabiamila and asked him to be fair to both new and old members of the House.
Like Gbajabiamila, another major contender for the speakership seat, the Chairman of the Committee on House Services, Yakubu Dogara, last Thursday alongside with about 22 other members of the House addressed the Press where he stated that his aspiration represents the interest of the poorly developed North East and further gave indication that the zoning arrangement of the party may be inconsequential to his aspiration.
On same Thursday evening another leading contestant from North East where Dogara hailed from, Mohammed Tahir Monguno also made his official declaration in Abuja. On the other hand, Pally Iriase and Ajibola Famurewa are also said to be making underground moves.
Gbajabiamila is also expected to meet with members of PDP in the House to extend his hand of friendship to them. A National Assembly aide close to the PDP camp said, ” the leadership crisis plunging the PDP after the loss of the presidential election is already affecting our efforts to turn the table against the zoning arrangement of the APC just like they did to us in 2011. Some PDP governors are already trying to establish a working relationship with the incoming Buhari government by instructing House members from their states to kowtow to the position of the APC on the zoning of the Speakership seat to South West”.
There are indications that some PDP members in the House are hell bent on crashing any zoning arrangement of APC and may jettison ‘the best man for the job’ mantra to pave way for emergence of an APC Speaker that can roughen feathers with the newly elected President through the PDP lens just as they believed the outgoing Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal did to the outgoing Goodluck Jonathan government before finally defecting to APC.