The decision of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to back the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, for the 9th National Assembly speakership has been met with mixed reactions by governors, lawmakers and APC state chairmen in the North-Central, Saturday PUNCH reports.
While the governors and state APC chairmen in the zone on Friday declared their support for Gbajabiamila, some of the lawmakers eyeing the position have reportedly condemned the development.
North-Central leaders are also backing Senator Ahmed Lawan for the Senate presidency.
According to the newspaper, Idris Wase (Plateau State), Mohammed Bago (Niger State) and John Dyegh (Benue) are said to be among the APC lawmakers in the House of Representatives from the North-Central said to be opposed to the party’s adoption of Gbajabiamila.
At a closed-door meeting between APC governors and state chairmen of the party from the North-Central on Thursday night at the Plateau State Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja, Gbajabiamila’s adoption by the party received a boost.
Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong said, “A meeting of governors and the party chairmen from North-Central today resolved to go along with the party’s endorsement of Senator Ahmed Lawan as Senate President and Femi Gbajabiamila as the Speaker of the House of Representatives for the 9th National Assembly.
“Since it is a party affair, our decision is in line with the wish of the party and that is why we the governors and state chairmen of our party from the zone are in support of the decision of the party.”
On the benefits the zone would derive from APC’s sharing formula, he said, “We are still deliberating. We have not exhausted the positions regarding zoning. Our decision and position are only on two issues, while the rest deliberations are ongoing.” Also at the meeting, according to a statement on Friday by the Senior Special Assistant to Plateau State Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr Mark Longyen, were governors Abubakar Bello (Niger), Umaru al-Makura (Nasarawa) and the APC’s candidate for the March 9 Benue State governorship election, Emmanuel Jime.
The state APC chairmen in attendance were Jibrin Imam (Niger), Abdullahi Bello (Kogi), Philips Shekwo (Nasarawa), Letep Dabang (Plateau), Abba Yaro (Benue) and Abdullahi Usman (the FCT).
Dyegh on Wednesday declared his ambition after the party announced Gbajabiamila as its candidate on Tuesday when President Muhammadu Buhari hosted members-elect to a dinner at the Presidential Villa.
He urged the national leadership of the APC to review the zoning formula while faulting the adoption of Gbajabiamila.
Bago also on Wednesday said he would not step down for Gbajabiamila in a statement by the spokesman for the Mohammed Bago Campaign Organisation, Mr Victor Ogene.
The statement said, “Following the purported zoning and micro-zoning of the office of the Speaker of the incoming 9th House of Representatives by the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, there has been varied reactions by a cross-section of Nigerians, including members-elect, party stalwarts, political commentators and journalists.
“For us in the Mohammed Umaru Bago Campaign Organisation, we view the development as a poorly choreographed political orchestra aimed at using the hallowed precincts of the Presidential Villa to anoint a candidate from the South-West.
“For us, therefore, there is no retreat no surrender in our demand.”
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