BY SEGUN ADEBAYO, ABUJA – Following the formal declaration by Hon Femi Gbajabiamila for the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives, there seems to be mounting opposition that may give way to the emergence of a dark horse. Already, there are subterranean moves aimed at frustrating the ambition of the former lawmaker who contested against Hon Yakubu Dogara and lost in June 2015.
According to a source, ahead of the inauguration of Principal Officers for both chambers of the National Assembly, some members have concluded efforts At what they called a plan ‘B’, which is likely to produce a dark horse as speaker.
Though findings reveal that while last week’s endorsement of Femi Gbajabiamila by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) did not go down well with most members elected on the platform of the APC, others who have shown interest on the job have refused to back down, ostensibly in readiness to test the independence of choice by members, when the house is eventually inaugurated.
According to a source who attended the meeting plotting to install a dark horse as the next speaker, “It was resolved that there has to be a plan ‘B’, in the event that the ruling party fails to have its way with members. Some members elect as well as those serving who attended Gbajabiamila’s declaration form part of the shadow group scheming to assert the independence of the legislature.”
Members who attended the meeting of like minds on providing an alternative to Gbajabiamila, according to another source, believing that the current zoning formula may shall remain unchanged, are going ahead with permutations that Lagos state cannot produce the vice presidential slot and at the same time fill the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“No name has yet been mentioned amongst possible contenders for the position. However, a ranking member of the lower chamber of the National Assembly who has held very sensitive committees and has been a player in NASS leadership position since 2011 is being considered,” disclosed the source.
“Some of the people, apart from Gbajabiamila, during his declaration were merely acting to satisfy their state governors who cajoled them to tow the party line.
They were cajoled to be part of the declaration, but their spirits are somewhere else, hence their attendance at the like minds meeting at another end of Abuja, shortly after Gbajabiamila’s declaration.
“Their position is being taken in the face of the directives by the APC leadership against the need to save the National Assembly being mortgaged on the whims and caprices of a tiny group that plans to hijack government and foist their selfish wishes in place of popular policies.
“I can confirm to you that, while we have not openly appeared in the media to state our position, we are agreed that we shall prop up a dark horse, who will eventually carry the day when we elect the next speaker. The directive to elect a leader under duress did not go down well with us, and very soon, we shall name the person we want to be the speaker,” the source maintained.