Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
As the race for the speakership of the ninth House of Representatives gets tighter, the aspiration of the Majority Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to become the next speaker got a major boost Thursday with 178 new members-elect across party lines endorsing him.
The 178 new members-elect with a handful of ranking members, who are members of his campaign organisation, converged on the Chelsea Hotel, Central Business District Abuja, where they held a closed-door meeting and threw their weight behind Gbajabiamila.
Briefing journalists along with his colleagues after the meeting, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart and Speaker of the Akwa-Ibom State House of Assembly, Hon. Onofiuk Luke, said the incoming members, irrespective of their party affiliations resolved to back Gbajabiamila after identifying him as the best candidate in the race.
According to Onofiuk, “I am the Speaker of Akwa-Ibom State and here with me are newly elected members of the House of Representatives and this is a conglomeration of people of different parties. I am of the PDP. We have members of the APC here, we have members of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), we have people from Action Alliance (AA), we have people from Allied Congress Party (ACP) and we have people from African Democratic Congress (ADC). It’s a multi-party arrangement.
“We decided to convene ourselves as newly elected members of the House of Representatives to look at the emergence of the next leadership of the ninth assembly and in doing so, we looked through the antecedents and credentials of those who are aspiring to lead the National Assembly and we acknowledge the fact that this country today; with the challenges that we have that we need a bipartisan approach to solve the problem of Nigeria and the person and the man that has shown that credibility, capacity; that has what it takes even as reflected in his manifesto, to carry the entire parties along in resolving and solving the issues of Nigeria; the man who will not mortgage the independence of the legislature but at the same time would not engage the executive in unnecessary fisticuffs; a man who will build a good relationship between the executive and the legislature, between the legislature and the judiciary; a man who will care about the welfare of Nigerians; a man who will put the interest of Nigeria above his personal interest; and a man, who will put the interest of Nigeria above the party. And we have resolved today, to have come from our different states, from our different constituencies and we have found as newly-elected members, having looked through the credentials and the CV, we have found Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as a man who has a capacity to lead the ninth National Assembly as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“We know that he is not going to let Nigerians down and we know and believe that he is not going to let us down and we know and believe that he is not going to let God down.”
Gbajabiamila’s list of endorsers had grown longer on Tuesday when he got support from his home zone as South-west governors, governors-elect and House members-elect subscribed to his aspiration in line with his nomination as the APC’s official candidate for the lower legislative chamber’s top post.