by Tordue Salem

The race for helmsman of the House of Representatives is revving up, as one of the leading candidates, Pally Iriase, yesterday withdrew for Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Mr. Iriase, ex-Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly and an accountant, announced his decision at a press briefing in Abuja.

“In the circumstances, with 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. 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. Gbajabiamila, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and my humble self. The question may be posed as to why I did not team up with Hon. Dogara. The reason is that Dogara as Speaker 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,” he submitted.

He added that his support for Gbajabiamila is because “he is detribalised, urbane, cerebral and independent-minded. He has been with us in the trenches for opposition politics, armed with a stoic vision of a better Nigeria.”

He also stated that his withdrawal was aimed at reducing the acrimony among the contestants.

”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 incoming 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 incoming government,” he stated.

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