9th Assembly Speakership: North-Central aspirants defy APC

•As Bago visits Ooni of Ife for royal blessing

As the tempo of the race for the Speakership of the House of Representatives in the ninth Assembly rises, some members-elect on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) aspiring for the top post appeared to have defied the zoning of the position to the South-West  zone by national leadership of the party.

The three aspirants from the North-Central are: Honourable Mohammed Bago (Niger State), Honourable Idris Ahmed Wase (Plateau State) and Honourable John Dyegh (Benue State).

The leadership of the APC had, at a dinner held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, announced the endorsement of Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila from Lagos for the speaker’s position.

But barely a few hours after the endorsement, the North-Central caucus of the APC in the House of Representatives kicked against the party’s position, vowing that the zone would not take anything less.

This was as it directed members interested in the office not to back down from the race.

The Sunday Tribune learnt that in compliance with the zone’s directive, one of the contenders to the office of speaker, Hon. Bago, at the weekend, paid a visit to the palace of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, to seek royal support for his aspiration.

In a statement made available to newsmen by the spokesman of the Bago for Speaker Organisation, Hon. Victor Ogene, in Abuja, on Saturday, Bago stated that besides the fact that the Nupes, his ethnic background from Niger State have historical links with the Yoruba, he decided to identify with the Ooni because of his stance as an advocate of youth inclusion in governance.

Bago, according to the statement, thanked Oba Ogunwusi for the warm reception and royal blessings accorded him, promising not to betray the confidence in him.

According to the statement, the Ooni of Ife, in his response, canvassed for youth inclusiveness in the leadership structures of the country, saying that for there not to be a lacuna in leadership, the youth must be encouraged to assume leadership positions.

“Yes, we now have the Not Too Young to Run law, but to compliment that we need to consciously bring the youth into leadership positions,” the Ooni was quoted to have said.

This was as he reportedly praised Bago for embarking on the courtesy visit, describing it as “a demonstration of your profound respect for the Yoruba race.”

Oba Ogunwusi also reportedly prayed for the success of Bago’s aspiration to become the next speaker of the House, pointing out that “the positive attributes he exudes would surely guarantee him success.”