9th Assembly: Who the Caps Fit

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Femi Gbajabiamila

Canticles…

 

Hurray, it’s just four days away

Four days to what?

It’s four days to the new dawn in the National Assembly. I cannot wait.

 

New dawn in the National Assembly? Why are you seemingly excited?

Are you asking? Who won’t be excited? Is that not the end of the toxic leadership we have had in the National Assembly in the last four years? Don’t you know that the new leadership is progressive, disciplined and are far from being political rebels who are determined to rock the boat of state?

 

Hmmmm, you speak with so much haste and confidence as if you already know who the National Assembly leaders will be.

Well, all things being equal, the candidates of the party will emerge.

 

Which party are you referring to?

The All Progressives Congress (APC) of course. It’s the party with the majority in both chambers. The party has endorsed the candidature of Ahmed Lawan and Ovie Omo-Agege as Senate President and Deputy Senate President of the senate respectively while also endorsing the candidature of Femi Gbajabiamila as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The APC is clear about its choices.

 

Do not forget that the leadership of the APC will not be in the chambers to vote on that day. The lawmakers have the constitutional right to independently vote their own leaders.

You are correct. But don’t forget this set of lawmakers are not as rebellious as the ones winding down. The former leadership was toxic. They tried to run a parallel government, they held the government to ransome, and that is why Nigeria did not make appreciable progress in the last four years. These ones will listen to reason and obey the voice of the party’s leadership.

 

 

I am afraid you are carried away by the ululation of oneness in the APC. But you must realize there are a thousand and one interests in the National Assembly. Or did you not read of the position of the CUPP (Coalition of United Political Parties) in rejecting the candidature of Gbajabiamila as Speaker of the House of Reps because of the alleged conviction by Supreme Court of the State of Georgia for “willful dishonesty”? CUPP also believes Gbajabiamila is an imposition from one of the leaders of the party.   Did you not read of the agitation of Senator-elect, Orji Uzor Kalu for the post of Deputy Senate President? Did you not read of how some people have taken Gbajabiamila to court over alleged conviction in the United States of America? Can’t you see that the road to the 9th Assembly leadership is not as smooth as you think?

Hmmm, I can tell you that the various caps have been reserved for the heads they will fit. Look, Orji Uzor Kalu is a legislative rooky. He is not a ranking senator. He even has some baggage. He does not have the experience to become a deputy Senate President. Beside, the party did not zone that office to his part of the country. I can tell you that Ovie Omo-Agege is it! He has the experience and the leadership candour. The party’s zoning arrangement favours him. He is respected and loved by his colleagues.

As for Gbajabiamila, I can tell you that all those contending with him will soon fall into line. Or did you not read that the PDP caucus in the House has ordered its members to support Gbajabiamila?

I can tell you with oracular certitude that the APC leadership will prevail in the choice of the National Assembly leadership. Nobody wants the cantankerous  relationship that dogged the relationship between the executive and the legislature in the 8th Assembly. Never! It won’t happen again!

 

But have you also realized that the APC is a fractured household? Can’t you see the dog-fight between the sitting chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole and his predecessor, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun? Does that not tell you that a house divided against itself cannot stand?

Such contentions are not unassociated with politics. What is important is that at the end of the day, all grey issues will be resolved. In politics, agreeing to disagree is allowed. Or did you not hear that Mr President is about intervening in the feud between Oyegun and Oshiomhole? They are two brothers. Two former governors of the same Edo State. So, calm down. And like Shakespeare, I can tell you all is well that ends well. This arrangement will end well. Trust me!

 

No, I can’t trust you on this matter.

And let me tell you, a lot will depend on the kind of voting method both chambers choose to adopt in the election of their leaders. If it is Open Ballot, then the APC might have its way. But if it is secret ballot, hmmm, it will be like Charly Boy Show, where anything can happen.

Don’t fret. Everything is being worked out with finesse. And it shall turn out well. Have you not noticed the noise from the Ali Ndume camp against Ahmed Lawan, has reduced? Look, in the next few days, they will all fall in line and the 9th Assembly leadership will emerge as planned.

 

But many people think the APC can only bark and not bite. They claim that the leadership style of the National Chairman is combustive and rather than attract more and more people, it is repelling many, with the resultant effect of a fast-shrinking party. The party has lost 7 states under the present leadership, prompting some to ask if Oshiomhole is PDP’s secret weapon against APC.

Don’t derail our conversation. We are discussing the coming leadership of the 9th Assembly, not the leadership style of the APC. If you want us discuss that, choose another date and we will deal with it.

 

Well, all things considered, my interest is ultimately for a good and functional Nigeria. A Nigeria where life is not short, nasty and brutish. A Nigeria where the laws made are for the collective good of all. A Nigeria where all stakeholders are treated equal. Where there is no superior race or tribe. A Nigeria where the boy from Zamfara State can compete in the same examination with another boy from Imo State and will have the same marking scheme and cut-off points. A Nigeria where security of life and property, plus prosperity is guaranteed.

All that is achievable. That is the crux of the Next level.