- Femi Gbajabiamila seems like the firm favourite to emerge as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives
- 230 members-elect of the House of Representatives have reportedly signed the endorsement register for the Lagos lawmaker
- The public endorsement reportedly took place at a luxury hotel in Abuja on Sunday, June 9
A report by The Nation indicates that about 230 members-elect of the House of Representatives have signed the endorsement register for House Leader Femi Gbajabiamila as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.
According to the report, among the lawmakers are six top contenders, who have also publicly signed to endorse Gbajabiamila's ambition.
The public endorsement reportedly took place at a luxury hotel in Abuja on Sunday, June 9.
Abdulmumin Jibrin, the director-general of the Gbajabiamila/Wase campaign organisation said the reason for the event was to show the world the strength of the team.
Gbajabiamila, 56, is running alongside Idris Wase as deputy Speaker, and both lawmakers enjoy the backing of Nigeria's ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC).
Jibrin stated that 60 members of the opposition parties have signed up for the team, adding that consultation would continue till the day of the election on Tuesday, June 11.
His words: “The pretenders not contenders will know that they are seated in this hall. This is to show how transparent and our strength is which will be done by signing of endorsement.”
“We know we have the numbers but we don’t want to take anything for granted. In the next 24 hours we have to tighten the knots.
“Unlike 2015 we have made a lot of inroad into PDP. We knew we have to consult them and they are not even interested in committee chairmanship but to be partners in progress with the APC.”
According to Jibrin, the other top contender was unwilling to step down, saying “there’s no problem, we’ll meet on the floor on that day.”
“Those supporting the others are hiding, but as we can see, we go everywhere with our supporters. We want to see the strength of the other contenders,” he added.
On his part, Gbajabiamila said: “This is more or less a night of gratitude; we’ve gone round the country. We can only thank and not just for the moment but for the next four years.
“This is because if you did not buy into our vision, it will not see the light of the day. But with this we are convinced the Ninth Assembly will be like no other, a legislature where our members will stand shoulder to shoulder with any in the world.
“Where opposition will also be proud, I’m in a vantage position having been an opposition and Majority Leader. That balance gives an edge.”
He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for being unequivocal on who he wants to work with.
The House Leader also appreciated the APC and its hierarchy, the south-east caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Grand Alliance governor that gave their total support and endorsement.
“It is for this reason that you see this amount of support from them. I want to assure you that we will not disappoint Nigerians. We will do our best to move the nation forward,” he said.
Meanwhile, a group, Arewa Youth Awareness Forum (AYAF), has warned President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the APC not to be on the wrong side of history, due to its support for Gbajabiamila.
The group in a statement sent to journalists on Sunday, June 9 and signed by its convener, Mr. Obadiah Diji, alleged that the quest of Gbajabiamaila to be the Speaker of the incoming 9th National Assembly, is tactically a 2023 presidential agenda.
The AYAF frowned at the manner in which the chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, “unilaterally schooled our federal legislators on whom they must vote for.”
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