Gbajabiamila emerges House of Representative leader


280715F-Femi-GbajabiamilaOmololu Ogunmade, Senator Iroegbu and Damilola Oyedele having lost out in their bid to emerge Speaker of the House of Representatives last month, and after weeks of insistence that the South-west zone could not occupy two principal positions in the lower legislative chamber, Speaker Yakubu Dogara yesterday finally announced Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as the House Majority Leader.
The truce leading to Gbajabiamila’s emergence was brokered following a meeting by the two warring factions in the House with President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday. At the meeting, the president had directed them to resolve the matter before the resumption of plenary yesterday.
Other positions announced by the Speaker yesterday were: Deputy Leader – Hon. Buba Jibrin (North-central); Chief Whip — Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa (North-west); and Deputy Chief Whip — Hon. Pally Iriase (South-south).
Dogara also announced Hon. Leo Ogor as Minority leader, Hon. Chukwuma Onyema as Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Yakubu Barde as Minority Whip, and Hon. Binta Bello as Deputy Minority Whip.
The speaker made the announcement after returning to the floor of the House following a brief departure for an undisclosed reason, which also saw Gbajabiamila, Doguwa, and Hon. Jibrin Abdulmumim briefly depart the session.
The distribution complied with the zoning arrangement of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which at the resolution meeting in the early hours of yesterday kept to its zoning arrangement, but removed the names of nominees for the positions.
The party decided that its zonal caucuses should elect those who should occupy the positions.
Speaking with newsmen briefly after he emerged majority leader, Gbajabiamila said the events of the last 48 days were reflective of democracy in action.
“That’s what politics is all about – everyone trying to outwit one another for the greater good of the country. And I am glad that everything has panned out the way it has panned out.
“You will now see the House you knew in the last four years back in action, working for the people, working for the nation. I’m sure we’ll have a lot more to say tomorrow,” he said.
The Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee on Media and Publicity, Hon. Sani Zorro, briefing newsmen after the session also said the wrangling that plagued the lower chamber in the last few weeks was normal in a democracy.
“We made it clear to you that our problems were transitional. What transpired today was the triumph of internal democracy in the House of Representatives. This has always been the case when the House comes in afresh,” he said.
Zorro added that the speaker adopted a formula that catered to the interest of all contending groups, “even non-APC members”.
“What President Buhari did at the crucial 20-minute meeting was a fatherly engagement. It has clearly shown that he is not a dictator as our opponents tried to paint him. He didn’t interfere and that also made the party cautious. The president is a game changer,” he said. – Thisday


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