As the battle for the Speaker House of Representatives in the 9th assembly gathers momentum, the ambition of Umar Mohammed Bago representing Chanchaga federal constituency in Niger state to become the speaker of the house of representatives in the 9th national assembly have suffered a major set back following the endorsement of Femi Gbajabiamila by the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Hon. Umar Bago a third term and ranking federal lawmaker representing Chanchanga federal constituency of Niger state had initially endorsed by nine of his colleagues from the state for the speaker position but the state chapter of the party after it emergency meeting at the weekend unanimously threw its weight behind what they called “the party’s choice”.
State chairman of the party Alhaji Jibrim Imam who presided the meeting, dropped the “bombshell” in Minna on Monday evening while addressing enlarged stakeholders meeting at the party secretariat.
The Chairman told the party faithful that the party in the state was backing incumbent house leader Femi Gbajabiamila for the speakership of the house of representatives in the 9th national assembly.
Although the embattled member was not present at the meeting, his six of his colleague who had earlier endorsed him (Bago) were in attendance at the meeting while two other members sent their apologies and promised to abide by any decision arrived at by the party.
Alhaji Jibrin Imam also told the members that APC in Niger state is backing another “party’s choice” Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan for the position of the Senate president.
The APC chairman pointed out that the decision of the party was informed by the outcome of a meeting held last Thursday in Abuja where all Governors and party Chairmen from the North Central geo political zone of the country were in attendance.
He said the decision was also to pledge the loyalty of the party to its national leadership and ” to allow the 9th national assembly to take off smoothly”.
Jibrin Imam further stated that the endorsement was to avert the reoccurrence of the experience in the 8th Assembly which he described as “unpalatable”, adding that the experience has slowed down “our progress in for four years.”
“We are loyal party members and have resolved to toe the position of the party by endorsing Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan as the Senate President of the 9th Assembly and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as the Speaker of the 9th Assembly
“Our experience in the 8th Assembly is not palatable and it has slowed down our progress in the last 4 years and we don’t want a repeat of that”. He added.
The state party Chairman then appealed to those who are “aggrieved by the decision of the party” to let bygone be bygone and support the course so as to enable the 9th House of Representatives to have a smooth ride in the next 4 years.
A member-elect of the House of Representatives in the state Alhaji Abdullahi Mahmud, Representing Agaie/ Lapai Federal Constituency who spoke on behalf of his colleagues said: “all members-elect form the state as well as from the North Central region have resolved to support the two candidates endorsed by the party”.
The state Governor Alhaji Abubakar Sani-Bello, was present at the meeting.