Major challengers backs out of race for House of Representatives Speaker
Fortunes have smiled on the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, as one of those contending with him for the speakership position in the 9th National Assembly has stepped down for him.
According to PUNCH, Idris Wase, who is also the deputy majority leader has discontinued his ambition to vie for the speakership position.
Wase has now entered the ring to become Gbajabiamila’s deputy, as the deputy speaker.
PUNCH had gathered that President Muhammadu Buhari has made it clear to Wase that Gbajabiamila was the choice of the party for the speakership position when some governors took the representative from Plateau to the him.
Wase was said to have protested when Buhari hosted members-elect to a dinner at the Presidential Villa, that the speakership was zoned to the South-West and Gbajabiamila announced as the candidate but the Deputy Speaker was only zoned to the North-Central without being named as candidate.
Speaking with SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday night, a reliable source said Wase was billed to announce the latest move at a press conference this week “that they have collapsed their structure.”
The source added, “They intend holding a press conference between Monday and Tuesday. He had stepped down but there were some issues which occurred between him and Mr President at the dinner. They had to beg Mr President and reconcile with him. Now the issues have been resolved.”
When asked if the APC had adopted Wase as deputy speakership candidate, the source said, “The party may not announce the candidate for the Deputy Speaker, even in the Senate they only announced the zone to produce Deputy Senate President. It is the candidates who would look at the zones chosen to shop for their deputies.”
When contacted, the Senior Legislative Aide to Gbajabiamila, Mr Wasiu Olanrewaju-Smart, said, “I can only confirm that he has stepped down for Gbajabiamila.”
Efforts to get Wase to confirm the development proved futile on Saturday. Several calls made to his telephone line were not picked and he had yet to reply a text message sent to him as of 9:15pm on Saturday.
Wase, from Plateau State, is the third speakership aspirant from the North-Central, apart from Mohammed Bago (Niger) and John Dyegh (Benue) who have insisted on speakership and have now formed an alliance against Gbajabiamila