Front runner and the All Progressives Congress (APC) anointed candidate for the speakership of the 9th House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajiabiamila, yesterday stepped up his campaign for the office as he gathered members-elect from across the political divides in Abuja to sell his manifestoes to them. Apart from unveiling his game plan for the forthcoming election for the principal officers of the National Assembly slated for next month, Gbajiabiamila also lavished the lawmakers-elect with gift items. Before they were given the items, which included smart phones, journalists were excused out of the parley held at the New Chelsea Hotel, Abuja.
As they filed out of the venue for a press conference also in the same hotel, the lawmakers-elect clutched the parks containing the phones and posed for separate photographs. Sources at the closed-door meeting claimed that the members-elect signed the register for the phones and other gift items in an envelope before all was handed to them. The sources declined to give disclose what was in the envelope that each beneficiary received.
The meeting, LEADERSHIP Friday further learnt, was presided over by Gbajabiamila, who hinted that he currently enjoys the support of 178 reps-elect from all the major political parties in the House. According to his political associates, the figure is enough for Gbajiabiamila to clinch the speakership of the Lower House during its inauguration in June. One of the loyalists of the Lagos-born speakership aspirant, Hon Onofiok Luke (PDP, Akwa Ibom), who addressed a press conference after conferring with Gbajiabiamila, said that they opted to support him for the office because of his capacity, openness and experience in the National Assembly. Hon Luke, who is the outgoing speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and member-elect for the incoming House of Representatives, said that all the 178-members-elect rooting for Gbajiabiamila attended the meeting and resolved to adopt him for the office because “he is a non-sectional lawmaker.” Hon Luke said: “This is a conglomeration of people of different parties.
I am of the PDP, we have members of APC here, and we have members of APGA and we have people from AA. We have others from the SDP and from the ADC. It’s a multi-party arrangement. “We decided to convene ourselves as newly-elected members of the National Assembly because we have acknowledged the fact that because of the challenges that we have, we need a bi-partisan approach to solving them and the only person that shows that credibility, capacity, and all it takes even as reflected in his manifesto to carry the entire parties along, is Hon Femi Gbajiabiamila. “The man will not mortgage the independence of the legislature and will at the same time not engage the executive in a fiasco; he is a man who will build a good relationship between the executive and the legislature, and between the legislature and the judiciary. “Hon Gbajiabiamila is a leader who will care about the welfare of all Nigerians; he is a man who will put the interest of Nigerians above his personal goals.
He will also put the interest of Nigeria above the party,” he said. The PDP lawmaker further disclosed that “we have resolved today by coming from our different constituencies and as newly-elected members having looked through the credentials of the contenders, have found in Hon Femi Gbajabiamila a man who has the capacity to be the speaker of House of Representatives in the 9th National Assembly. “We know that he is not going to let Nigerians down, we believe that he is not going to let us down and will also not let God down,” Luke said.
Kogi Gov Endorses Lawan/Gbajabiamila For NASS Leadership Meanwhile, Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has declared his unalloyed support for the APC’s endorsement of Senator Ahmed Lawan and Gbajabiamila as Senate president and speaker of the Senate and Lower House in the 9th Assembly respectively.
The governor stated this yesterday during a courtesy visit to the APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in Lagos. He said that the decision of the ruling party remains his position on the next National Assembly leadership. Governor Bello said that both Lawan and Gbajiabiamila are experienced and qualified to lead the Upper and the Lower Chambers of the National Assembly. To Tinubu, the governor said: “You are our national leader and we are your children. You have set the agenda and we shall ensure we make it a reality. I supported Hon. Gbajabiamila in 2015 but it was unfortunate that we lost out. This time around, we shall make sure that the decision of the party prevails by electing the two of them to work with Mr. President to move the country forward. “We have two senators-elect and seven House of Representatives members-elect from my state. They will listen to us. Even the two others who are in ADC and PDP will be lobbied to support us,” he assured Tinubu.
Governor Bello further told his host that his loyalty to the APC and him is not in doubt and that he would continue to build the party to remain unbeatable in Kogi State. LEADERSHIP recalls that the governor led the APC to a resounding victory in the 2019 general elections, a feat which was statistically better than the performance of the party in the 2015 polls. Governor Bello inherited a House of Assembly dominated by the PDP in 2015 and wooed majority of them back to the APC and was able to ensure a clean sweep of the 25 seats in the House of Assembly in the 2019 election. Political pundits said that such feat is “unprecedented” in the history of the state. An aide of the governor said that Bello’s meeting with Tinubu was a huge success. According to him, “it was a successful meeting. I am aware that the governor has told the two senators-elect and the seven reps-elect to support both Lawan and Gbajabiamila and they have pledged to do so. Asiwaju Tinubu thanked the governor for being a true party man and assured him of the APC’s determination to retain Kogi in the November 2 governorship election.” The aide said that Tinubu told the governor that the performance of the governor in the 2019 general elections was excellent and urged him to continue to pull everyone together for the greatness of the state. On whether the APC national leader would support the governor’s re-election, the aide said that the ruling party is known for rewarding excellent performance