Dogara didn’t give me any chairmanship slot –Gbajabiamila
…promises chairmen for PDP
…promises chairmen for PDP
…every politician has godfather
The anointed candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), for the position of speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has disclosed that the leadership of the House under Speaker Yakubu Dogara did not accord him the privilege of nominating any of his loyalists as chairman of the 98 standing committees of the House. Addressing the minority caucus led by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House deputy minority leader, Hon. Chukwuka Onyema at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja yesterday, Gbajabiamila said: “I am the leader of the House, with no single committee chairman slot of almost 200 committees.
I heard about the appointment of committee chairmen on the floor of the House like any other person but I took it in my stride” The House leader, who was interrogated by the caucus, made up of opposition returning and fresh members-elect in a closed door had requested that journalists leave the Kano Hall venue of the interaction to enable him open up to his colleagues. A member, who was part of the meeting, however told New Telegraph in confidence that Gbajabiamila disowned the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, on his declaration that the PDP would not be given any committee to head.
“He promised to give us (PDP) committee chairmen and told us that his party chairman (Oshiomhole) doesn’t understand how the House works.” According to the lawmaker, Gbajabiamila also promised to set up a committee that would determine how committee leadership would be shared. On the concern that the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, was behind his aspiration and was likely to dictate for him, the lawmaker said: “Gbajabiamila told us that every politician has a godfather but someone in Lagos will not determine committee chairmen for him or how he will run the House, if he is elected speaker.
“We put him to task and he opened up even though some of us were not comfortable with the idea of interrogating him in secret because we had a similar interview with five other speakership contestants on Wednesday evening and the media was allowed to be part of it. “So, it was quite unfortunate that the media was asked to vacate the room. But the request came from him.
So, we respected his preference.” Speaking further on what prevailed in the closed door meeting, the lawmaker revealed that Gbajabiamila was frank and opened up. “He was actually frank because he told us that as House leader, his budget is N2.5 billion annually. He also told us how he fought with former speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, over sharing of committees because he (Tambuwal) was giving committees to our enemies” In his introductory remarks, Gbajabiamila said he was a different person from what many people painted him, saying he has been accused of partisanship. “I have been accused of being partisan but I am a politician and there is nobody here that is not partisan”, he stated.
Continuing, he said: “I am somebody who when I lost election in 2015, I quickly raised the hand of the speaker; I am somebody who never opposed the speaker; I am somebody who is often quiet but jovial. I am somebody whom those that oppose me in 2015 are now some of my best friends in the House.” The House leader revealed that he knew no other business in the past 20 years apart from lawmaking. Onyema told the media after the interview session that the minority caucus would analyse and review the presentations from the six speakership contestants and “take a position” He said the PDP has not endorsed any candidate “but we will soon come up with a position, not necessarily endorsement.
We have listened to the candidates and it is a successful exercise but we need to sit down and look at what they have presented to us.” On why the caucus decided to take Gbajabiamila behind closed doors, he explained that it was the House Leader’s desire and they had to respect his views. It would be recalled that the caucus had on Wednesday interviewed Hon. John Dyegh (APC, Benue); Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (APC, Abia); Hon. Mohammed Bago (APC, Niger), Hon. Olajide Olatunbosun (APC, Oyo) and Hon. Emeka Nwajuiba (Accord Party, Imo).