Insiders told us that lawmakers loyal to the current Speaker, Yakubu Dogara and former Speaker, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State have vowed to crush Gbajabiamila’s ambition.
Our sources added that lawmakers loyal to Dogara and Tambuwal are bitter with Gbajabiamila because they believed that if he becomes the speaker, his godfather, Bola Tinubu will be controlling the national assembly.
We were told that Dogara/Tambuwal camp have decided to support a candidate from the North- Central geopolitical zone.
There are currently three candidates from the zone: Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase (APC, Plateau), Hon. Umaru Mohammed Bago(APC, Niger) and Hon. John Dyegh (APC, Benue). Besides, they agreed to back a North-East candidate for the position of deputy speaker.
There are four candidates vying for speaker from North-East and the group may impress on one to contest for deputy speaker. The North-East candidates are: Hon. Abdulrazaq Namdas (APC, Adamawa), Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno (APC, Borno), Hon. Aliyu Muktar Betara (APC, Borno), and Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub (APC, Adamawa).
Monguno has already endorsed Gbajabiamila and Yakub is also said to be on the way to stepping down. Sources within the camp said the lawmakers may have to choose between Bago and Dyegh as Wase is believed to have agreed in principles to contest as deputy speaker with Gbajabiamila from the South- West.
“We have been meeting; although nothing is cast on stone, but it is now clear that we may have to support candidates from the North-Central and the reason is simple: It is the only zone that has not produced speaker or deputy speaker since 1999 despite the fact that they always give their best to the ruling party.”
“Some people in the group had suggested that if the APC cannot get its house in order, we should sponsor a PDP member, but the majority do not want to rock the boat. We don’t want a frosty relationship between the legislature and the executive that may derail passage of bills. You can see the number of bills the president has withheld his assent to since 2015.”
“Our camp is not interested in making Nigerians to suffer because of ego or individual interest, but we want the best for this country. It is because of this that we have agreed to support a candidate from the North-Central. And what we have done is on moral ground and it is for equality and justice sake.”
“We have to assess the candidates from the zone and pick the best. We are also not foreclosing balancing on faith issues. It is sensitive and important. You are aware that so far, they are three in number: Bago, Wase and Dyegh. It is likely that Wase may be out of the equation because there are rumours that he has agreed to withdraw from the contest and work for Gbajabiamila so that he can become deputy speaker.”
Another lawmaker disclosed that: “We are choosing North-Central because, the issue of Senate President is settled. The North-East will produce the president; it may be Ahmed Lawan, Ndume or Goje. So, we are looking for balance.”
“So, if we support a candidate from the North- Central for speaker, we will as well work for a deputy speaker from North-East. For speaker, it is between Dyegh and Bago. We were considering Wase initially, but he is with Gbajabiamila camp now. He will withdraw from contesting along the line. Bago worked for us in 2015; we would have endorsed him outright, but we are taking this issue with utmost caution.”
“Some of our men are not comfortable with the issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket. If we take him, we will have to look for a Christian in APC; and there is none from the North-East that we can work with. That is why Dyegh came into the picture.”
“He belongs to the Gbajabiamila camp; and was working for Wase until he pulled out. Dyegh is a Christian and we can pair him with a Muslim from the North-East. We choose Dyegh, he will have to pair with either Namdas or Betara.”
“But if Lawan emerges in the Senate, Namdas will be the natural choice because Lawan is from Yobe and Betara from Borno, which is the same axis. Namdas is from Adamawa and, in fact, the person representing Atiku Abubakar. So, for a guy like that to have defeated Atiku’s candidate to emerge, it means he is a strong politician. And in terms of competence, most of us believe Namdas will have an edge over Betara.”
“South- West and North-West have vice president and president. They will be considered for other principal positions.”
Source: New Telegraph