One of the leading contenders for the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the soon-to-be inaugurated 8th Assembly, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has denied the alleged involvement of the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in his ambition.
He spoke when he addressed members-elect of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja on Wednesday May 20.
Gbajabiamila is the current Minority Leader of the House.
“I intend to be speaker not for anybody. Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu has no hand in it. Lamido Sanusi (Emir of Kano) left his palace in Kano and pleaded with him to support me. He didn’t get a clear answer. Shortly after that, Senator Lawan Shuaibu went to Tinubu on the same issue. He still did not respond until when a few weeks ago Nasir El-Rufai went to meet him, then he said maybe this man has some appeal.
“In 2011, some members from the North went to him to suggest that I should be Tambuwal’s deputy, but he said no to that”.
He also refuted a statement credited to him that Tinubu had already written down the names of committee chairmen in the 8th House.
He explained that a member of the House, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, had approached him to sign an agreement to make her chairperson of the appropriation committee, but that he failed to give her a clear answer.
“She wanted me to sign that she would be chairman of the appropriation committee. I said to her the committee is a very sensitive committee that we have to look at a very sensible person. She later said that I said all the committee chairmen have been allocated by Bola Tinubu. That conversation never came up between me and Mrs. Ukeje.
“I want this campaign to be about issues and hope it would be that way, but I heard a lot of many negative stories. I tried to maintain dignified silence, but I want to set the record straight now,” he added.
He assured the PDP members that he would ensure equity, justice and fairness in respect of positions of chairmen of House committees, adding that he would improve on Tambuwal’s legacies.
Having led the opposition in the House for eight years, Mr. Gbajabiamila said he had garnered enough experience and attained unmatched level of competence to lead the House as Speaker.
“I have led the opposition for the past eight years with the best of my ability. I have faced a lot of threats and intimidation to my life right from the time of Obasanjo up to about two weeks ago. The way I stick my neck for the opposition, I seek to do same for Nigeria as speaker,” he stated.
Mr. Gbajabiamila is facing opposition from Yaqub Dogara (Bauchi State), Tahir Monguno (Borno State), Mojeed Alabi (Osun State), Abdulmumin Jibrin, (Kano State).