Dogara and Gbajabiamila
The battle of who emerges the first among equals in the 8th House of Representatives rages
Barely 48hours from today,
Nigerians will know who is their number four citizen.
At the beginning of the speakership race, seven contenders emerged: Femi Gbajabiamila, APC, Lagos; Yakub Dogara, APC Bauchi; Pally Iriase, APC, Edo; Tahir Monguno, APC Borno; Ajibola Famurewa, APC, Osun; Abdulmunin Jibrin, APC, Kano and Comrade Peter Akpatason, APC, Edo.
But now, it is going to be a straight fight between Gbajabiamila and Dogara as other contenders have stepped down.
Going down memory lane, in 1999, it was a seamless process as the choice of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Salisu Buhari had a smooth sailing to emerge as Speaker until a certificate scam shoved him aside.
This development led to the emergence of a Ghali Naa’ba who stood on his toes to complete his tenure.
By 2003, PDP perfected the process and Bello Masari picked the speakership ticket with no serious contender.
In 2007, PDP fielded its candidate, Patricia Etteh, but the vagaries associated with the vibrancy of most green chambers all over the world swallowed her.
This led to the emergence of Dimeji Bankole who, with iron fist, completed the 6th session of the House.
By 2011, PDP’s political permutations hit a brickwall as its candidate, Mulikat Akande-Adeola, could not stand the fireworks of Aminu Waziri Tambuwal who, alongside his colleagues in the PDP with a strong backing from the then Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, lawmakers emerged Speaker.
PDP permutations were taken to the cleaners and Tambuwal had to use all available weapons within his reach to hold the House firmly for it not to collapse-he miraculously succeeded.
The 8th Assembly permutations have led to the emergence of groups clamouring for their candidates.
So far, more than eight groups from the six geo-political zones of the country have emerged.
The Consolidation Group consists of old and new members insisting that Dogara remains the candidate to beat for speakership.
The Patriots too are drumming support for Dogara.
The North-East caucus, on the other hand, is clamouring for the candidature of Gbajabiamila and at three different occasions declared support for him.
The South-South group, championed by Iriase, is solidly behind Gbajabiamila.
The North-West caucus is divided. While a part of it is working for Gbajabiamila, the other is working with the Dogara camp.
All the candidates eyeing the position of Speaker from the South-West have quietly stepped down for Gbajabiamila.
From the South-South, Iriase has stepped down for Gbajabiamila.
Monguno and his over 36 supporters from the North-East also declared support for the Minority Leader.
THE TAMBUWAL OPTION
Amid what is seen as the APC preference for Gbajabiamila to emerge as the House Speaker, the Tambuwal option that rocked the PDP, from all indications, may resurface this time around, considering the way some lawmakers are clamouring for Dogara.
Dogara is seen by several of his colleagues as eminently qualified to run the affairs of the House because of his rich background in legislative business.
They see a Tambuwal in him who carried his colleagues along for four years.
On the other hand, Gbajabiamila is seen by his supporters as one who led them in the wilderness for 12years as Minority Leader.
They believe that as a leader who never, for once, betrayed their confidence, he should mount the saddle of the House Speaker.
They argue that in civilised climes it is the natural thing to do to give a leader the first option of refusal.
Unarguably, Dogara and Gbajabiamila are qualified to lead the 8th House.
The Dogara group, while clamouring for the independence of the legislature which may lead to the Tambuwal option of 2011, is equally very careful not to invite the wrath of the APC leadership rooting for Gbajabiamila.
Tambuwal succeeded because he had support of PDP and AC N lawmakers who ensured he emerged and stood by him through his tenure.
But this scenario, if it resurfaces, the House has to be at alert to remain one.
Meanwhile, it is speculated that an arrangement between Dogara and a PDP lawmaker as Speaker/deputy respectively could sway votes to repeat the Tambuwal option of 2011.
Many lawmakers, however, described the pack as fruitless as it may not fly.
PDP lawmakers are 138 and, if they agree to vote for a particular candidate, the speakership may go the way of 2011.
The Gbajabiamila group is not resting on its oars it is reaching out to all various groups in the House to let them know what the Minority Leader can deliver if made Speaker.
Its principal remains one of the most experienced legislators Nigeria has ever produced as he has led the opposition against the ruling party for three sessions.
He is a lawyer/legislator with many years of experience to his advantage.
Jibrin steps down
In a surprise move, Jibrin, last Wednesday, said he dropped his speakership ambition to endorse Dogara in a bid to place Nigeria above party cleavages.
He explained:” I have also donated my fully operational secretariat and situation room to Hon. Dogara.
“ Wholeheartedly, my supporters and I now support his ambition to be the next Speaker.
“Our decision to support Hon. Dogara is based on the following reasons:
1. He comes with no baggage. He is trusted by all with the largest acceptability and capacity to unite the House.
2. He is honest, straight forward and does not lie.
3. He is a man who epitomizes personal discipline, a man who has the full conviction of his faith and a man who has strong family values.
4. He played a critical role in stabilising the House after the defection of the 37 legislators who defected from the PDP to the APC.
5. He will serve as a reliable link with the party and between the returnee and first term members.
6. He is a cognate member with a wide parliamentary experience and extensive understanding of the rules and workings of the House.
7. Finally, he is a team player, he is humble, courageous, and outstandingly dedicated”.
The Iriase endorsement
Iriase, a chartered accountant, a former Edo SSG and a two term local government chairman, in this chat, speaks on why he dropped his speakership ambition and endorsed Gbajabiamila.
Why did you step down for Gbajabiamila?
You will recall that on the 4th of May 2015, I informed you of my decision to contest for the Speakership of the 8th Assembly. Since then, I and my supporters have run a decent and cost effective campaign while waiting for my party’s direction on the matter. The Party has not zoned the position of Speaker as of today.
However the ongoing campaigns have thrown up some dangerous tendencies which could breed acrimony and disturb the 8th Assembly from delivering to the satisfaction of Nigerians who have very high expectations from the now government.
Nigerians are suffering from excruciating poverty, scandalous rate of unemployment, mindless corruption, comatose economy, scary insecurity, persistent fuel scarcity, frustrating infrastructure deficit and gross inadequacy of power supply. It seems to me therefore, that this Nation is not in the mood for any acrimonious contest that will negatively impact the performance of the National Assembly and by extension the entire new government. Indeed, the Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, in his agenda-setting address at the just concluded two-day retreat for APC members-elect of the House of Representatives, admonished us about our obligations in the following words. “More than the legislative majority, is the abundant goodwill of our teeming population who are ready for change and will support us if they can discern that we are working for their interest… Bold decisions will need to be taken, and this can only be possible if there is a synergy among our party, the National Assembly and the President. We know you will not fail us, and you will not fail Nigerians. History beckons, and you must stand up to be numbered amongst those who made the sacrifice and put in the hard work in the battle to rescue Nigeria.”
In the circumstances, with a deep sense of responsibility and sacrificial self denial, I have decided, notwithstanding my robust qualifications, to quit the race for Speaker and fully support Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, the current Minority Leader, for the job. In taking this decision I have consulted widely and I am confident that my teeming supporters will join me, to achieve a seamless inauguration, emergence of our preferred candidate and a smooth bi-partisan relationship in the House of Representatives.
It is important to explain that the three front runners for the post before now have been Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, Hon Yakubu Dogara and my humble self. The question may be asked – why did I not team up with Hon Yakubu Dogara? The reason is that a Dogara Speakership under the current reality will be insensitive, repugnant to equity and good conscience and will not be feasible, as it flies in the face of all precedents and the principle of Federal Character. Just imagine what the perception of Nigerians would be, of APC as a party and the incoming government, if the President and Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria, the Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Chief Justice of the Federation and also Speaker of the House of Representatives(say,Yakubu Dogara), all come from the Northern zone of Nigeria!
The other reasons are that Femi Gbajabiamila is detribalised, urbane, cerebral and independent minded. He has been with us in the trenches for opposition politics, armed with the stoic vision of a better Nigeria.
Finally, I urge all members-elect of the 8th Assembly to think Nigeria first in these trying times and join forces to disappoint doomsday prophets, by building an enduring consensus behind Femi Gbajabiamila and whoever we may chose to be his deputy. This will surely help to improve on the gains of the 7th Assembly and deepen the integrity of the House of Representatives of Nigeria.
The man Gbajabiamila
Femi Gbajabiamila (born June 25 1962, surname also spelled Gbaja-Biamila and Gbajabiamila) is a lawyer, All Progressives Congress politician, and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
Previous Elected Office: 2003 – 2011, House Representatives
2003-2011, Committee Chairman Of Federal Airports Authority In Nigeria
Independence of Legislature, welfare.
Independence of Legislature.
Bachelor’s Degree In Law from University of Lagos And Marshall Law School, USA.
Minority Leader, House of Representatives, 6th National Assemby 2007 – 2011
Action Congress of Nigeria Leader And House Minority Whip – 2007.
He is married and has children.
The man Dogara
Date of Birth
December 22, 1966
Date of Assumption
House Services / Welfare (Chairman)
Federal Capital Territory
Information and National Orientation Agency
Labour, Employment and Productivity
Legislative Budget and Research
REGULATION OF MONOPOLIES, TENANCY, CORPORATE CRIMES AND COMPANY LAW, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY.
TO SEE THE REPEAL OF OBSOLETE LAWS, A SOUND TENANCY LAW THAT WILL ENCOURAGE PRIVATE AND
COMMERCIAL PROPERTY DEVELOPERS AND A SOUND COMPETITION LAW REGIME IN NIGERIA.
BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN LAW (UK), (BARRISTER AT LAW)