- Whips up anti-Tinubu sentiment S’East group supports Gbajabiamila
Gboyega Akinsanmi in Lagos and Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has reviewed its strategies to frustrate the emergence of the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan and his House of Representatives counterpart, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila respectively as the Senate President and Speaker of the House in the ninth National Assembly.
However, the South East Consultative Initiative (SECI) has equally backed the candidature of Gbajabiamila for the speakership contest less than 48 hours the faction of Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El Rufai withdrew its support for the House Leader.
Different sources disclosed the PDP’s resolve to disrupt the plan of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to impose the leadership of the National Assembly, noting that its latest strategy was to whip up sentiments against the APC National Leader, Senator Bola Tinubu.
Just after the general election, the APC National Working Committee (NWC) had endorsed Lawan for the Senate presidency and Gbajabiamila for the House of Representatives speakership in the ninth National Assembly, a position the presidency threw its behind.
However, the PDP and an APC faction opposed the nomination of Lawan and Gbajabiamila for the National Assembly leadership. While the former warned against undermining the independence of the National Assembly, the latter rejected the party’s position, citing Tinubu’s undue influence.
But with the rising support for the APC candidates, a lawmaker disclosed that the opposition party “has changed strategies to frustrate the emergence of Lawan and Gbajabiamila.”
The lawmaker explained that the APC leader “is the main driver of the zoning of the positions to these two ranking lawmakers. Already, the social media is awash with such sentiments projecting Tinubu as greedy having singly installed the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and now wants to install the leaders of the National Assembly.”
Among the flyers being circulated on the social media is one that has Osinbajo’s photograph atop the image of President Muhammadu Buhari and flanked by Lawan on the left and Gbajabiamila on the right.
The photograph was captioned “The shape of New Nigeria.” Beneath the names of all these leaders on the flyers are inscribed “TINUBU’ except for President Buhari.
Another lawmaker explained that the idea was “to cause disaffection among the populace by presenting the endorsed candidates as lackeys of one man who has eyes set for 2023.
“Expect a heightening anti Tinubu social media blitz from this week” a ranking Senator who spoke on condition of anonymity told this paper last week.
“Besides, cartoons, fliers and commentaries will flood all known social media platforms pillorying the erstwhile Governor of Lagos and a pillar in the formation of APC and supporter of Buhari.
However, Gbajabiamila’s candidature saturday received major boost when a South-east group threw its weight behind his quest to contest the speakership race in the ninth National Assembly.
In a statement by its National President, Mr. Nnaji Paschal and Secretary, Dr. Offia Saturday, the group dissociated itself from the speakership ambition of Hon. Emeka Nwajiuba and other contestants from the South-east.
The statement said though Nwajiuba defeated Chike Okafor to clinch the Ehimembano/Ihitte Uboma/Obowo/Okigwe South Federal Constituency seat, he was never a member of the ruling APC.
It said Nwajiuba was not even from the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) but from the Accord Party, thereby describing Gbajabiamila as a team player and selfless politician with the requisite knowledge to pilot the affairs of the ninth House of Representatives.
The statement said the humane and selfless way he took his failed bid for the plum job in 2015 “is still fresh in our minds. He humbled himself to take the House Leader position and worked harmoniously with Speaker Yakubu Dogara and by so doing reunited the House.
“We feel that having made such sacrifice for the interest of peace and development of the National Assembly and the country at large, it is now time for his colleagues to reward him for his sacrifices by electing him to lead them”
“It has been 16 years since he was last in the house, his knowledge of the inner workings of the house as regards lawmaking and management of the house will be at best minimal and at the other extreme archaic and outdated.
“The art of lawmaking like other facets of human endeavor is ever evolving and one fears that Nwajiuba may not be in tune with the recent techniques and innovations in lawmaking even though he may be a ranking member,” the statement said.
On the other hand, the statement attested that Gbajabiamila “is an institution when it comes to experience in the National Assembly, having been part of the leadership of the eighth House of Representatives.”