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‘Why South East deserves House of Reps speakership’

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[FILES] Chairman House Committee on Health Services, Hon Chike Okafor. Photo/IfeanyiCY


Aspirant for the speakership of the House of Representatives in the ninth National Assembly, Mr. Chike Okafor, has maintained that the Southeast geo-political zone is overdue for the position.

In a chat with The Guardian, the lawmaker recalled how the All Progressives Congress (APC) denied the zone the opportunity to produce a principal officer in 2015, for want of a ranking representative from the party.He argued that such excuses would not be tenable this time, in view of the zone’s performance in the last general election.

According to him, it remains unthinkable that the APC will abandon the more than 400,000 of its supporters who voted for the party across the Southeast to cede the speakership to the Southwest that already has the vice president, the national leader and multiple Grade A appointments.

Okafor, representing Ehime Mbano/Ihitte Uboma/Obowo federal constituency of Imo State, faulted insinuations that those jostling for the exalted seat were being cowed by the APC to withdraw for Femi Gbajabiamila.

He told reporters at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja that the party, rather, had been persuading him and others to drop their bid and back Gbajabiamila, its preferred candidate.

The two-time lawmaker also debunked claims that Gbajabiamila was roundly endorsed by President Muhammadu Buhari and other reps at a parley in the presidential villa recently.

Meanwhile, National Assembly members from Bauchi State yesterday rose from an emergency meeting to endorse Ahmed Lawan as senate president and Gbajabiamila as house speaker.

Senator Lawal Yahaya spoke on behalf of the lawmakers comprising three senators and nine reps after the parley held at the behest of Governor Mohammed Abubakar in Abuja.

Yahaya explained that the decision was in line with the wishes of the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) of APC, adding that it behoves their colleagues from across the country to support the party in national interest.

The lawmakers described the duo as thoroughbred legislators that had paid their dues over the years, adding that they would be able to deploy their experience to enact enabling laws aimed at tackling the multi-faceted problems bedevilling the country.They also faulted the notion that APC’s decision to back Gbajabiamila for the speakership was antithetical to the power sharing arrangement among the six geopolitical zones in the country.Citing 2011 when the Northwest produced Aminu Tambuwal as speaker and Namadi Sambo as the vice president, they said there was nothing wrong if the Southwest enjoys same favour.

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