Gbajabiamila-Jibrin House leadership accord fails
THE continued delay by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in coming up with a final decision on the zoning arrangement for the various political offices may give way to a major crisis of interest in the House of Representatives, as an alignment being worked out by two camps gunning for the top positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Chamber yesterday ended in a cul-de-sac.
APC as the majority party has the conventional privilege to zone the offices of Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.
It reserves the right to choose the Leader, Deputy Leader, Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip of both chambers in Nigeria’s bicameral federal legislature. Here lies the albatross that is threatening to expose the underbelly of the party and may set its government on a controversial foundation, unless there is manifest fairness and inclusiveness as much as possible.
Specifically, there are indications that the much expected alliance between Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and Abdulmumin Jibrin for Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively for the 8th House may have come under serious threat.
It was gathered that the meeting called at the instance of the latter on a possible alliance ahead of the APC zoning arrangement was deadlocked with the conveners storming out of an Abuja hotel venue of the parley.
Gbajabiamila and Jibrin, who were earlier billed to formally declare the new alliance at a media briefing on Monday failed to do so, owing to reported inability to amicably address some knotty issues.
The Minority Leader had circulated a personal letter to his colleagues, informing them of his intention to contest for speakership while Jibrin had in about a fortnight ago, also made public his intention to vie for the position. He also took paid adverts of his scheduled consultations with his colleagues in some Newspapers.
However, Jibrin who is also Chairman of the House Committee on Finance was said to have realized the futility of his speakership ambition, a development that may have resulted in his move for the planned alliance, which is now facing collapse.
Details of the issues being worked on had been sketchy, but snippets of information gathered by The Guardian indicate that there were strong suggestions that the camp of Gbajabiamila was not comfortable with Jibrin emerging as Deputy, should the tide eventually move in favour of the Minority Leader.
Reporters who were invited to the Abuja venue where the formal declaration of the accord was to be made at 11am on Monday, waited patiently for hours, only to be told that the briefing has been postponed indefinitely.
About one and half hour later, Jibrin called the reporters with apologies to return to the venue, as all was set for the media briefing, but that was not to be as it was another round of hours of waiting.
After much prompting, the lawmaker who called again from an undisclosed meeting room within the same hotel once again stated that he was sorry, and that a new date for the briefing would be communicated in due course, as the groups were still meeting.
Though the power sharing arrangement has not been officially announced by the APC, consultations and agitations have been on who becomes the Speaker of the House when inaugurated in June.
Aside Gbajabiamila who is from Lagos State, and Jibrin from Kano State, others in the race for the Speakership include; Yakubu Dogara from Bauchi State, Pally Iriase from Edo State, Tahir Monguno from Borno State, and Israel Ajibola Famurewa from Osun State.
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