Speakership: Gbajabiamila opens talks with Dogara, ex-speakers

•Settles for Wase as deputy

AS the race for the speakership of the ninth National Assembly hots up, the campaign organisation of Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, on Tuesday, said  it had opened consultations with the various stakeholders, including the incumbent Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara; former speakers and the body of former presiding officers, to ensure victory.

This was as the campaign organisation said Gbajabiamila now had a verifiable required winning number of members across political parties in the House to secure his emergence as speaker.

Director-General of the organisation,  Honourable Abdulmumin Jibrin, disclosed these to newsmen in Abuja, on Tuesday, adding that to ensure a rancour-free contest, one the contenders for the position from the North Central zone, Honourable Idris Wase, had been endorsed as the deputy speaker, while the remaining four zones would share the four slots of principal officers.

He assured that no zone would be marginalised under the new arrangement of the ninth National Assembly.

Speaking on the outcome of the consultations being held with All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers in the House, prior to the inauguration, he said that the campaign organisation had already secured the required numbers to win the race, as the members across political parties had gone ahead to commit themselves in written forms.

“Honourable Idris Wase from the North-Central zone is going to run with Gbajabiamila as his deputy. This was a decision taken after extensive consultations with members, both returning and new, party leaders and stakeholders.

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“We have secured the verifiable numbers to win the position comfortably on June 10. We applied different options that are scientifically verifiable and, as of today, we have gotten the required number to win the race. We also have members from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other political parties, the last we did was to have their commitment in written forms

“We are also reaching out to other stakeholders in the opposition political parties such as their governors, doing diplomatic shutting and all-round lobbying, reaching out to former speakers, former presiding officers and body of past principal officers of the House. We are also lobbying the current Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, because he has contributed in no small ways to the stability and progress of the eighth session of the National Assembly

“Above all, we are in full support of the arguments of marginalisation, fairness, justice and equity being put up by other contestants. They are valid points. We are talking to then one by one and we are very sure that at the end of the day, we will come together and reach a consensus. Honourable Gbajabiamila will run an all-inclusive administration, no individual or zone will be left out.

“We are on guards, we are not taking chances. Otherwise I would have asked our members to go and sleep till June 10 when the election will be conducted,

Jibrin also dismissed the rumours doing the round that some governors, including that of Kaduna State, Mallan Nasir el-Rufai, were against the candidature of Gbajabiamila, adding that unknown to many, the Kaduna State governor had been one of the forces mobilising for the project across the six geopolitical zones in the country.

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