9th NASS Speakership race: No retreat, no surrender as Bago, Onyejeocha, others dare APC, Gbajabiamila

Arewa group demands candidate without baggage

As the race for the speakership of the 9th National Assembly hots up, five aspirants under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), have vowed to run the race to the finishing point on the day of the inauguration despite the endorsement of Hon Femi Gbajabiamila by the party.

The aspirants include Umaru Mohammed Bago (Niger State), John Dyegh (Benue State), Olajide Olatunbosun (Oyo State), Emeka Nwajiuba (Imo State) and Nkeiruka Onyejeocha who is the only female aspirant in the race.

Speaking with Tribune Online during separate interviews while defending their individual actions, the lawmakers cited section 50(2)(b) of the constitution of the Federal Republic which stipulates that “members of the National Assembly shall elect from among themselves a President of the Senate and a Speaker of the House of Representatives with their deputies, all of whom must have cognate legislative experiences.”

This development came just as Northern-based rights group under the aegis of Arewa Progressives insisted the would-be speaker of the must be a transparent character without the baggage of corruption hanging on his or her neck and would be hunted by the past.

Addressing a World Press Conference in Abuja on Saturday, the Chairman of the group, Alhaji Ali Abacha pointed out the group after a painstaking analysis on all the aspirants, it had singled out Hon Olajiide Olatubosun, Oyo State, of the South-West, where the party had already zoned the position of the speaker to, to be a worthy character without baggage of any sort on his neck which all the members of the 9th Assembly should rally round as the speaker.

According to him, “here are members with impeccable records in private and public sectors contesting the Speakership. Hon. Olajide Olatubosun, an alumnus of the prestigious University of Lagos, who is also a Chartered Accountant is in the race. I think he is the best from the South west who has no known report of criminality. Nigeria deserves a Speaker whose past will not hunt the House in particular and the country in general.

“He is one lawmaker with acceptable mien, ready to carry his colleagues along in the business of lawmaking for the progress and prosperity.”

But the South-West zone coordinator for Hon Gbajabiamila for Speakership project, Hon Akeem Adeyemi told the Tribune Online that Gbajabiamila would emerge the Speaker of the Ninth National Assembly come June 11, this year through overwhelming votes across the party lines based on the daily supports pouring for his candidature

According to Hon Adeyemi, “what is before us now is more than the Tuesday election, we are going for the coronation of the Mr Speaker of the 9th National Assembly who is our Hon Gbajabiamila. Look, he is the only aspirant that have what it will take us to the next level, mind you he has been around sine 2003, you can not buy experience.”

However, speaking with the Tribune Online, the spokesperson of Hon Bago Campaign Organisation, Hon Afam Ogene declared that Bago remained the candidate to beat amongst the six aspirants jostling for the position.

According to Ogene, “Hon Bago remains the candidate to beat amongst the six aspirants. A third time member who had chaired a very sensitive Committee in House without blemish and was a member of various committees and ad-hoc committees. Above all, he is a man of impeccable character who is generally acceptable by his colleagues across the six geo-political zones in the country.

Also speaking affirmatively of emerging victorious as the 9th Assembly Speaker, Hon John Dyegh, North Central, told news men in Abuja during an interactive session that he was in the race to win and not for a road show.

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The lawmaker who enumerated his planned programmes for the assembly if elected the Speaker next week disclosed that he was confident of being the next speaker based on the supports he has been receiving from members, political leaders and other well-meaning Nigerians on daily basis.

He explained based on all these, there was no reason for him to withdraw for any other aspirants.

On his own, another leading contender in the race, Hon Olajide Olatubosun, declared he is for a free and fair contest and once this is done, he is sure of total victory.

Hon Olatunbosun, however, vowed to fight any attempt to impose any candidate on the 9th Assembly as the Speaker, with a strong warning that it would be resisted with the last pint of blood in him.

Speaking with Tribune Online, Hon Nwajiuba from the South-East declared that he would run the race to the finishing point on the inauguration day and was sure of victory despite the endorsement of any other aspirant by the party, saying that his colleagues across the six geopolitical zones in the country were solidly behind him.

The law maker who was in the House in 2003 assured to ensure the cordial working relationship between the legislature and the executive arms of government and as well ensure strict adherence to the principle of separation of powers.

The only female aspirant in the race, Hon Onyejeocha who was the chairman of the House Committee on Aviation in the 8th National Assembly declared that she was not in the race to play game or to negotiate for any other thing than the Speaker come next week Tuesday.

The lawmaker assumed to run an open and all-inclusive administration if given the opportunity by members with a promise to change legislation perception in the country during her tenure.

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