I Regret Backing Tambuwal To Become Speaker – Gbajabiamila
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has expressed regret over his support for a forum that championed the emergence of Aminu Tambuwal as Speaker of the House in the 7th National Assembly.
Tambuwal is now an outgoing two-term Governor of Sokoto State.
“I regret it,” Gbajabiamila stated while recalling the previous attempts by speakership aspirants to oppose the chosen candidates of their respective parties.
The Speaker made these remarks in Abuja on Wednesday night during a meeting of the Joint Task – 10th Assembly, a coalition of members-elect from the All Progressives Congress and opposition parties for the upcoming 10th National Assembly.
“We don’t have independent candidacy in Nigeria. It’s not in our constitution or laws. Perhaps, one day, we will get to that point. But my core belief is that if you come here on the platform of a party, there is a saying all over the world that your party is always supreme.
“You will disagree with your party just, like people will disagree amongst family members, but at the end of the day, the party is an organised structure. Let no one kid you. I am here to offer advice. I have been the pioneer leader of what they call the House project, when we installed Tambuwal as speaker. I regret it.
“The incoming speaker will tell more of the travails and the problems we went through for four years, when we did that the first and the second time. And I want you to hold that and start comparison to what the last four years have been. Now, when you look at those two sessions and the last one that is just rounding off, you have the benefit of being able to compare and then, you take an informed decision.
“Not when somebody comes and tells you no, no, the independence of the legislature cannot be compromised, that’s hogwash. Nobody is compromising the Independence of the legislature. The least person that will do it is me. But the fact that your party says this is where we are going, it doesn’t mean you are compromising the independence of the legislature.
“Many of us are new here. People will talk to you. They will cajole you, say all sorts of things in flowery and romantic language but at the end of the day, we have to be mindful of one thing. The party we represent has its leaders. The governors from the states, whether we like it or not, are very powerful. You can do your own personal bidding today. I share these things just to advise from my own experience.
“In 2015, I ran for the speakership of the House of Representatives. The party nominated me. The whole world was sure that I was gonna win that race. We lost by about six votes. A few of our party members worked against me and combined with the PDP at the time. Four years later, I ran again and won that election with 284 votes, the highest in history of the Nigerian parliament.
“And what did I do? I think time has come for me to say one or two things I would not have ordinarily said. What did I do? I gave the chairmanship of, perhaps, the most powerful committee in any legislature in the world to one of the prime movers, who fought against me and worked against the party at the time.
“Not only did I give him that committee, I turned my face away and gave him a free hand, just like I gave to every committee chairman. If I don’t support you today, we all have to fear God; it’s for a reason. It’s not because I have a problem with you. It’s not because I don’t like you. It’s because as I stand here today, for those who know me, I just won my sixth term, perhaps the oldest legislator, except for one.
“It’s because I eat, drink and sleep and wake up with the legislature in my heart. That’s my constituency and I love that institution so much. So, I decided to support a person that’s least closest to me of everybody that is running, because I saw in him a man with tremendous capacity.”
Gbajabiamila urged the opposition members-elect to support Abass and Kalu to emerge as the presiding officers, stressing that they would be carried along.
During the meeting, the coalition adopted Tajudeen Abbas and Benjamin Kalu as the anointed candidates of the APC for the positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively, for the 10th House.
Before Gbajabiamila spoke, Senator Godswill Akpabio, the APC candidate for President of the Senate, accompanied the Speaker into the venue, delivered a brief remark, and then left.
As of the time of filing this report, our correspondent gathered that the meeting is currently ongoing at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja.
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