by TORDUE SALEM, WOLE OLADIMEJI AND BOLADALE BAMIGBOLA


… Tambuwal lobbies for Dogara

As the 6th June inauguration date for members of the National Assembly draws nearer, the race for who takes over from Aminu Tambuwal as Speaker of the House of Representatives is gathering momentum, with three major contenders campaigning vigorously for the seat.

So far, three lawmakers from different geopolitical zones have declared interest in the plum job. They are Femi Gbajabiamila (South West), Jubril Abdulmumini (North West) and Yakubu Dogara (North East).

National Mirror gathered that although there are others, especially from the South West, who are equally eyeing the position, they are afraid of their party leaders, especial Senator Bola Tinubu, who was said to be supporting the candidature of Gbajabiamila.

It was reliably gathered that some of the candidates from South West would rather not campaign openly in order not to incur the wrath of the party leader, but nevertheless, have vowed to contest for the seat.

Our correspondent gathered that already, Tambuwal has been lobbying APC hierarchy to endorse Dogara as his successor.

Tambuwal, who would be sworn in as governor of Sokoto State on May 29, is said to be reaching out to leaders of APC and his colleagues on behalf of Dogara by proxy.

A source told our reporter that Tambuwal “is not only reaching out to members himself for Dogara, he is also doing it by proxy.”

Dogara’s aspiration to be Speaker also got a boost last week, with opposition parties joining members of APC to declare their support for him.

More than 90 members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have already pledged to work for his emergence as Speaker.

At a press briefing he held in Abuja yesterday, Hon. Dogara said he joined the race because of his vast political and legislative experience.

He argued that the House, since the sixth Assembly, has not voted on party or regional basis, but based on the requisite qualifications and goodwill enjoyed by a candidate for the office.

Speakers Dimeji Bankole and Tambuwal emerged in the 6th and 7th Assemblies, against the calculations of their party. Dogara hopes the same situation may happen to his advantage in June.

“My declaration does not mean the zoning arrangement in the APC has failed, but I am in this race because I am experienced and qualified for the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“I am also running based on justice, because I represent a zone (North-east), which everyone knows is the poorest and we are confident also that my colleagues from different zones of the country are with me in this aspiration.

“And I also know there can’t be change if we do not emphasize the issue of justice. We have looked at the plight of our people and we have decided the position should go to the Northeast, judging from our unprecedented plight and circumstances, we deserve something, and asking for Speakership, will not be asking for too much,” he submitted.

He warned that the party may collapse from within if certain interests of some people were allowed to prevail.

Another aspirant, Hon. Ajibola Famurewa, yesterday stated that members of the House, especially from the North have “unofficially endorsed and mobilised other members of the green chamber for my candidature.”

Famurewa, who represents Ijesa-South Federal Constituency of Osun State, stated that he intends to lead other lawmakers at the lower chamber to re-address foreign policies of the country to protect Nigerians residing abroad.

He averred that this is to forestall future reoccurrence of the horrific treatment some Nigerians were subjected to in South Africa and Indonesia recently.

The lawmaker, who spoke in Osogbo, however expressed readiness to abide by the decision of leaders of the party, especially Tinubu and Governor Rauf Aregbesola, even if it does not go in his favour.

He dismissed media reports that portrayed him as being desperate about his ambition, saying that he could not do anything against the wish and advice of APC leaders.

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