Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja
Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives have been promised 60 chairmanship and vice chairmanship slots if they vote for Hon Femi Gbajabiamila in Tuesday’s speakership contest.
But Gbajabiamila’s main rival, Hon Mohammed Bago said that a vote for the Majority Leader would promote inequity and injustice.
Both camps claimed to be cruising to victory as they insisted that they have enough members who are rooting for them.
The camps of the two aspirants spoke yesterday.
Explaining that 60 PDP Reps members are firmly with Gbajabiamila, the Director General of Femi/Wase campaign organisation, Hon Abdulmumuni Jibrin said the 60 slots for chairmanship and Vice chairmanship have been reserved for them.
He said “We are certain we will win the election. Every APC member is with us. We also have over 60 PDP members who are with us. With that one alone we are sure of victory.
“But we are not leaving anything to chance. We are still talking with the other faction of PDP as a safety net.
“We have an offer for the opposition parties, specifically PDP members . They will have 60 slots.
“Jibrin dismissed claims that the candidature of Gbajabiamila is against the spirit of equity and fairness. According to him, it is not the first time that both Speaker and the Vice President will come from the same zone. He recalled that former speaker and incumbent Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal and the former Vice President, Nemadi Sambo came from North West and nobody raised an eyebrow over it.
He argued that voting for Bago would result to North producing the President and the speaker, a situation he argued might not be at home with many people in the Southern part of the country.
He said that no section of the country would not be accommodated, stressing that there are six principal positions in the chamber. “All the zones will share the remaining positions”, he assured.
Insisting that that it will be against the spirit of equity and fairness to vote for Gbajabiamila, spokesman of the Bago campaign organisation, Hon Afam Ogene said “ In fact, under the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, as captured in Chapter 2, section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended,” the composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.” In fact, this provision of the constitution aptly sums up the entire disputation as far as the contest for leadership of the 9th National Assembly is concerned.
He said that Bago’s edge over Gbajabiamila is that he will not be a puppet to external forces even as he described as a focused and a great leader.
He said that Bago is confident of winning on Tuesday stressing “Only one week ago, no fewer than 195 members-elect, across party lines, had signed on to vote for us. As we speak, we have grossed over 200 and counting, and with their desire to foist a strange open voting pattern having crumbled, many more APC members are expected to come on board, paving the way for not only a landslide victory but the continuing guarantee of the independence of the House of Representatives.”