One of the aspirants for Speaker of the House of Representatives in the soon-to-be inaugurated 8th Assembly, Femi Gbajabiamila, has denied his bid is being sponsored by a national leader of his party – the All Progressives Congress – Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Mr. Gbabiamila, who is presently Minority Leader in the House, made the clarification Wednesday while addressing Rep members-elect of the Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja.
“I intend to be speaker not for anybody. Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu has no hand in it. Lamido Sanusi left his palace in Kano and pleaded with him to support me. He didn’t get a clear answer. Shortly after that, Senator Lawan Shuaibu went to Tinubu on the same issue. He still did not respond until when few weeks ago Nasir El-Rufai went to meet him, then he said maybe this man has some appeal”, Mr. Gbajabiamila said.
“In 2011, some members from the North went to him to suggest that I should be Tambuwal’s deputy, but he said no to that”, the minority leader said.
Gbajabiamila also refuted a statement credited to him that Tinubu had already written down the names of committees’ chairmen in the 8th House.
He explained that a member of the House, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, had approached him to sign an agreement to make her chairperson of the appropriation committee, but that he failed to give her a definite answer.
“She wanted me to sign that she would be chairman of the appropriation committee. I said to her the committee is a very sensitive committee that we have to look at a very sensible persons. She later said that I said all the committees chairmen have been allocated by Bola Tinubu. That conversation never came up between me and Mrs. Ukeje.
“I want this campaign to be about issues and hope it would be that way, but I heard a lot of many negative stories. I tried to maintain dignified silence, but I want to set the record straight now”, he added.
The lawmaker assured the members-elect that he would ensure equity, justice and fairness in respect of positions of chairs of House committees, adding that he would also improve on Tambuwal’s legacies.
Emphasizing his suitability for the position of Speaker, Gbajabiamila said having led the opposition in the House for eight years, he had garnered enough experience and attained unparalleled level of competence.
“I have led the opposition for the past eight years with the best of my ability. I have faced a lot of threats and intimidation to my life right from the time of Obasanjo up to about two weeks ago. The way I stick my neck for the opposition, I seek to do same for Nigeria as speaker”, he stated.
Other contenders for the position of Speaker are Yaqub Dogara (Bauchi State), Tahir Monguno (Borno State), Mojeed Alabi (Osun State) and Abdulmumin Jibrin (Kano State).