Speakership: Gbajabiamila responds to colleague’s ‘no retreat, no surrender’ statement

Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila. [Photo credit: Concise News]
Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila. [Photo credit: Concise News]

An aspirant for the position of House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, has responded to a statement credited to the campaign team of another aspirant for the same position, Umaru Bago.

Mr Bago’s team had said on Wednesday that the lawmaker would not drop his ambition.

The declaration followed the adoption of Mr Gbajabiamila by the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) as its preferred choice for the speaker’s seat. The adoption was announced at a meeting the APC elected lawmakers had with President Muhammadu Buhari.

A statement by the spokesman of the campaign, Victor Ogene, stated “it is no retreat, no surrender for Bago.”

The statement queried the processes the party took in arriving at the adoption, vowing that unless the right call was made, which is zoning the speakership to North-central geopolitical zone to achieve equity, justice and fairness, Mr Bago would remain in the race.

But responding to the statement, Yemi Adaramodu, on behalf of the Femi Gbajabiamila campaign organisation, said it is not a fashionable pastime for it to join issues with colleagues or whoever, in the quest to seek for the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The statement said if “the ornamented fabrications of the ‘No retreat, no surrender’ diatribe against the parley of April 16, 2019, between Mr President, National Working Committee of the APC and House of Representatives Members-Elect are not dilated, exposed and incinerated, the success and gains may be vitiated.”

“The historic get-together was among other things, to strengthen the political bond between elected members and the leadership of the party, this surely should be a routine engagement of a serious and winning party like the APC.

“It amounts to perfidy and egregious chicanery for anyone, who bears the badge of All Progressives Congress to twist the content and outcome of such fraternal assemblage for unbridled self-conceited ambition.

“It was a notorious fact that Mr President’s both spoken and unspoken words did not scold the party chairman, rather he praised the chairman for his foresight and ebullient leadership.

“Mr President also prayed for a committed, consistent, tested, trusted and God fearing leaders for the National Assembly. So, inventing words and ascribing same to the president is spurious, hollow and uncharitable.”

The statement said the theme and setting of the press release shows an anticlimax of political paranoia in hibernation. “It’s a resurgence of the old and perfidious collaborative order.”

“It’s a morbid humour, to demand for how the national chairman obtained the concurrence of the critical stakeholders on the legislative zoning preferences. The positive and lively reactions of the stakeholders to the zoning pronouncements by the chairman showed an endorsement of same, an exhibition of a joint decision and the needed unimpeachable testimony that all the strata of the party leadership are properly carried along.

“We believe it’s a mere accidental spontaneity of the author to struggle with unnecessary nuances of South-west not being only Lagos or Ogun. He should allow the concerned react. There is no need for mercenaries.”

The organisation described Mr Bago as a “respected Honorable Colleague, whose banner the author of the put-away press release used.”

“We are convinced that the said author acted alone, as we believe Hon Bago is a faithful party man, who is also a good student of history. The sordid experience of 2015 was enough lesson for us, including him to listen to the voice of reason and wisdom from the party leadership.”

Mr Gbajabiamila, representing Surulere 1 federal constituency of Lagos State, was re-elected for the fifth term and currently serves as the House Leader.

Ongoing tussle

The APC leadership recently declared support for Yobe senator, Ahmed Lawan, to become the next Senate President. The party is also in support of Mr Gbajabiamila’s candidacy for Speaker.

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

Mr Ndume, from Borno State, has vowed to continue with his ambition, saying he enjoys the support of many elected APC senators.

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

The APC is expected to produce the Speaker, but as it happened in 2015, different candidates, other than those 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.

So far, there are at least seven members who have indicated interest in the position of Speaker.

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