One of those aspiring to emerge as the Speaker of the House of Representatives for the ninth National Assembly, Hon. Mohammed Bago, has said the support of the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for the candidacy of Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila for the speaker’s seat was borne more out of his 2023 presidential ambition than any other reason.
Bago, who is from Niger State, said this in a statement by the Hon. Mohammed Bago Campaign Organization.
He said rather than pushing reasons that are not tenable, Tinubu should allow Gbajabiamila run on his own record and reputation.
The statement, signed by Hon. Victor Afam Ogene, reads: “We have perused the statement released by the National Leader of our Party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, especially as it concerns the leadership of the House of Representatives, and wish to respectfully disagree with him on some of the conclusions therein.
“For starters, even though he took extra care not to mention his choice candidate by name, the laborious attempt to pass off same desire as the onerous craving of President Muhammadu Buhari clearly leaves his real intentions exposed.
“Not too long ago, in 2015, when Tinubu tried to foist the same mentee of his as Speaker, in spite of the rational voices of caution by many stakeholders, many had been left wondering if the enforcement effort was at the instance of President Buhari and the Party.
“Although, a greater portion of the statement centred on his probable scheming for the 2023 Presidential election, real or imagined, our concern revolves around the oblique reference to loyalty as basis for his decision to stand by his adopted as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“It is on this score, and several other incontrovertible facts that we disagree with the position of our national leader.
“It is our contention that nobody has the monopoly of loyalty. Put succinctly, it is not anyone’s exclusive preserve and no one is a custodian of it.
“In deed, the pursuit of equity and fairness in an enterprise where we are all stakeholders cannot vitiate our candidate’s long standing, earned reputation as a loyalist of President Buhari, our party, the All Progressives Congress, and above all, the people of his constituency, his state, Niger, and the North central zone who have invested their trust in him to represent them.
“Instead of seeking to pitch party faithful who seek their just due against the President, we rather expect Asiwaju Tinubu, as a father to all, to critically consider the legitimate aspiration of the North central zone and ensure that justice is done.
“For example, while the entire six states of the South west gave our party a total of 259,780 margin of victory over the rival Peoples Democratic Party in the presidential election, only Niger state – from where Hon. Mohammed Bago hails – secured for the APC a margin of win of 394,319, thereby thumping the South west votes by 134,539 votes.
“Wherein then lies the rationale for seeking to arrogate the Speakership position to the South west, which by the way already has the country’s Vice Presidency in the kitty?
“As joint workers in the APC vineyard, the least that is expected is that every zone ought to be rewarded proportionately according to its work rate or contribution.
“We are, therefore, at a loss as to why a zone would be doubly rewarded, while the others watch helplessly like orphans.
“These are the germane issues we expect our respected national leader, Asiwaju Tinubu to seek resolution to.
“Until, and unless answers are provided to these nagging questions, anyone seeking to lead the House ought be allowed to do so on his own merit.
“At the risk of sounding repetitive, we restate that no one currently jostling for the Speaker’s position is more loyal to President Buhari than Hon. Bago.
“From 2003 when he became a member of The Buhari Organization (TBO), to 2011 when he contested and won election to the House of Representatives on the platform of the defunct CPC, to 2015 and 2019 when he won re-election on the banner of the APC, Hon. Bago has remained a core Buharist, and any attempt to tar him with any brush of disloyalty cannot stick.”