A Party Divided in the Race for the Position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The race for the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 9th Assembly has begun. The All Progressive Party (APC) has zoned the speakership position to the South-West zone and is rumored to already have a candidate who the party favours. This is the person of Hon Femi Gbajabiamila. However, this choice is not set in stone as the House is yet to vote.

Recall that APC won 220 seats in the February 23 National Election while the People’s Democratic Party, alongside the other opposition parties, only won 140 seats. This could definitely boost the All Progressive Party’s confidence in its candidate emerging as the leader of the house.

Do you all recall the famous Nigerian parable of the broom stick (together we are strong and divided we fall.). This is the situation APC finds itself in today, with its party members declaring their intention to run for the speakership position. These party members include Hon Idris Wase Mohammed Tahir Monguno, Umar Bago, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Chike Okafor, Magaji Da’U Aliyu, Hon Al-hassan Ado-Doguwa, Hon Aminu Suleiman, Hon Ibrahim Babangida, Hon Abdulrahman Kawu, Khadijat Buka Ibrahim; Hon Segun Odebunmi; and Hon Yusuf Yakub. A total of 14 APC candidates and there is still time for more members to declare their intention. Let’s take a moment to analyse that for a minute, imagine the 220 APC seats are divided amongst its members, that’s about 15 seats per candidate. Suddenly the majority party becomes the minority party in the speakership race. Is this an indication of history repeating itself?

According to Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, its members can equally contest for the speakership, as well as the Senate Presidency, as the positions are not the exclusive preserves of any political party. He reminded everyone of the provisions of Section 50 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides that “There shall be (a) a President and a Deputy President of the Senate, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves; and (b) a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves.”

Meet the Contestants.

Firstly, Let’s introduce Hon Mohammed Umaru Bago, a returning member of the House of Representatives from Niger state, the Chairman of the House Committee on Maritime Safety and Education. He intends to correct the injustice the North Central zone has continued to suffer. He lamented that the zone had never produced a Speaker or a Deputy Speaker.

Next, meet Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, Former party favourite in the 8th Assembly, Now party favourite in the 9th assembly. He hails from the same zone as the current Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and is a close friend of Senator Bola Tinubu (Is that an advantage or a disadvantage?). He is also rumored to not have the favour of his fellow returning members of the House.

Next, we have Hon Idris Wase. The Deputy House Leader is from Plateau State in North-Central and seems to enjoy the support of his peers.

There is also Mohammed Tahir Monguno, Monguno represents Marte/Monguno/Nganzai Federal Constituency of Borno State. He is a fourth term member of the House; Abdulrasak Namdas is the chairman of House Committee on Media and Public Affairs and represents Jada/Ganye/ Mayo-Belwa/ Toungo Federal Constituency of Adamawa State. The list continues…

APC would need to pick a candidate amongst themselves or they just might play into the hands of the opposition party. Who do you think will emerge as the winner in this race? Are we “jumping the gun” when we should be asking which party would emerge as the winner of the race?

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