North Central ‘elders’ reject APC’s choice, Gbajabiamila, for House Speaker

The House of Representative in Chamber ... members are notorious for budget mutilation
The House of Representative in Chamber ... members are notorious for budget mutilation

Elders under the aegis of North Central Elders Forum have formerly endorsed the Deputy House Leader of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase, for the seat of the speaker in the ninth assembly.

The forum made its stand known on Tuesday at a press conference in Abuja.

Muhammadu Ari-Gwaska, who spoke for the group, said after due consultations, the forum decided to adopt its most senior member for the position.

He said he was optimistic that Umaru Bago, another aspirant from the zone, would step down for his “senior brother”.

He went further to say the North Central geo-political zone in its diverse nature and peaceful disposition had always been predisposed to being shortchanged in power sharing.

“The people of this zone have over the years molded our diversity into a strong quilt that has strengthened us with the capacity to engage and interrogate the exogenous manipulation of power, leadership and patronage among the comity of nations to bring into sharp focus the understanding of our place as a bridge in the Nigerian Project,” he said.

He appealed to the All Progressives Congress (APC) hierarchy to as a matter of deliberate policy, give the speakership to the geo-political zone.

This he said was for the purpose of fairness, equity, justice, unity and loyalty as necessary ingredients in forming a government that will effectively drive the agenda of the party.

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Mr. Wase, who is yet to formally declare his intention to run for the position, will be facing some of his colleagues in the race.

They include the Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, Mukhtar Betara, Abdulrazak Namdas and Umar Bago.

The APC leadership recently declared support for Yobe senator, Ahmed Lawan, for Senate President. The party is also believed to be in support of Mr Gbajabiamila for Speaker.

The adoption of Mr Lawan was condemned by some APC lawmakers, including Borno senator, Ali Ndume, who also seeks to be the Senate president.

Mr Ndume has vowed to continue with his ambition, saying he enjoys the support of many APC senators-elect.

The APC enjoys a clear majority in the incoming House of Representatives, winning over 200 of the 360 seats.

The party is expected to produce the Speaker, but as it happened in 2015, a different candidate other than that endorsed by the party leadership may contest the election.

While both Messrs Lawan and Gbajabiamila were endorsed by the party for the positions in 2015, Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara emerged as the Senate President and Speaker of the House respectively.

The two winners later defected from the APC to the PDP.

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