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Gbajabiamila, Namadas, Onyejeocha… APC reps eyeing Dogara’s seat
THE ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) could again be facing a tricky challenge as several lawmakers elected on the party’s platform jostle for who becomes what in the two chambers of the National Assembly.
So far, in the House of Representatives, four candidates have already signified interest to run for the position of the speaker, even though the party leadership seems to have endorsed one candidate for that position – Femi Gbajabiamila.
However, the “endorsement” has not gone down well with the candidates that are hoping to contest for the position and many of them are going ahead with their campaigns.
Here are some of the aspirants:
Onyejeocha is serving her fourth term in the House of Representatives where she is representing Isiukwuato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency of Abia State.
She is the current chairperson of the House Committee on Aviation and so far, the only female candidate for the position of speaker.
Onyejeocha had been a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member until August 2018 when she dumped the umbrella party and joined the APC.
She is a graduate of the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Imo State University, and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology from where she obtained her bachelor’s degree and two masters degrees respectively.
Okafor represents Ehime Mbano/Ihitte Uboma/Obowo Federal Constituency of Imo State, and also serves as the chairman, House Committee on Health Care Services.
Declaring his intention to contest for the position of speaker, Okafor said he would provide competent and experienced leadership, adding that it was time that someone from the South East become speaker.
Okafor had a successful career in the banking sector, having held senior managerial positions in the All States Bank, Oceanic Bank and Zenith Bank, before delving into politics. He also served as a commissioner for Finance in Imo State during Rochas Okorocha’s first tenure in office.
It is, however, unlikely that Okafor would win the position for speaker if he eventually contests. He is just a two-time member of House of Reps which is likely going to count against him if members decide to choose based on seniority.
Namadas is also a two-time member of the House of Reps. He hails from Adamawa State, North East Nigeria, and is representing Jada/Ganye/Mayo Belwa/Toungo Federal Constituency. He was the House spokesperson in the 8th House of Representatives.
He declared his intention to contest for the post of speaker on Tuesday, saying he believed that he had all that it takes to lead the House to a greater height.
“I have the legislative experience having been the spokesman for the house in the last four years; I have what it takes to lead the house as the speaker,” Namdas said.
But again, the number of years he has spent as a legislator could count against him.
Barring any major rearrangement, the kind that was pulled off in 2015 by Yakubu Dogara, the current speaker, Gbajabiamila is set to emerge the speaker of the ninth National Assembly.
A successful legal practitioner, Gbajabiamila is a core loyalist of Bola Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos State and acclaimed national leader of the APC.
He was the preferred candidate for the revered position in 2015 but lost due to the machinations of the Dogara and the PDP. This time around, the APC has learnt its lessons and may not allow a repeat of what happened in 2015.
This was made clear by the APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, when he met with the newly-elected members of the House of Reps at the Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre, on Tuesday.
“We would not do the kind of thing that happened the last time in which some APC members became distance spectators in the management of committees, when the PDP had majority of the strategic committees in the House; that will not happen in the next Assembly.
“I think the only position that we are not interested in is the Minority Leader. Let it remain minor in the hands of the minors in the opposition. We will not share power in the House of the Representatives and the leadership must ensure that critical committees that drive government are chaired only by the APC members,” Oshiomhole said at the meeting.