APC welcomes Gbajabiamila’s choice as House leader; indifferent on Saraki, Ekweremadu

Femi Gbajabiamila and APC leaders on Saturday... Photo Credit: Mr. Gbajabiamila's Facebook page

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, John Odigie-Oyegun, has expressed “relative satisfaction” with the choice of Femi Gbajabiamila as the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.
He, however, expressed indifference to the vote of confidence passed on the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, and other principal officers of the upper legislative chamber.
Mr. Gbajabiamila on Thursday emerged the House Leader.
He had on June 9 contested the Speaker position but narrowly lost to Yakubu Dogara despite being the party’s choice for the seat.
The House however became factionalised with some queuing behind Mr. Gbajabiamila and others belonging to the Speaker’s group.
Though he initially pledged not to interfere in the choice of the leaders of the National Assembly, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday summoned the APC House members to a meeting in Aso Rock during which he gave them a marching order to resolve the lingering crisis in the lower chamber.
The president also directed the contending factions to meet with Mr. Odigie-Oyegun with a view to resolving the crisis.
The APC national chairman told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview on Tuesday that he was satisfied with the resolution of the House to appoint Mr. Gbajabiamila as the House Leader.
“I’m relatively satisfied,” Mr. Odigie-Oyegun said.
Asked to state in clear terms if peace had returned to the House with Mr. Gbajabiamila’s appointment, the APC national chairman said, “I think so. Definitely! Although, the healing will take sometime I believe the worst is behind us.”
On the vote of confidence passed on Mr. Saraki via a motion sponsored by 81 senators, including 35 APC senators and their 46 PDP colleagues, Mr. Odigie-Oyegun said “that is a different kettle of fish.”
He stated further, “It is neither here nor there. It doesn’t change anything. Whether I am satisfied or not is immaterial.”
Prodded to explain what he meant, the national chairman said, “What we want is a united APC family. We still don’t have that. We want a situation where the PDP will not determine the way things go in the Senate. We have the majority in the Senate and so the PDP should not determine what happens.”
Mr. Saraki was elected senate president on June 9 by 57 senators, comprising mostly those elected on the platform of the PDP.
The party had nominated Ahmed Lawan from Yobe State and George Akume from Benue State in a mock election as senate president and deputy senate president.
However, Mr. Saraki, a former governor of Kwara State, was elected when about 51 APC senators were away at the International Conference Centre waiting to attend a meeting allegedly convened by Mr. Buhari.
Since the election which threw up Mr. Saraki of APC and Mr. Ekweremadu of the PDP, there has been a fragile peace in the upper legislative house.
The crisis heightened when Mr. Saraki ignored a letter from Mr. Odigie-Oyegun listing the party’s choices for the remaining leadership positions in the Senate.


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