There are indications that the All Progressives Congress (APC) may face a repeat of the 2015 scenario where some of its members joined forces with members of the opposition party in the National Assembly to emerge as leaders.
Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara, both of whom rode on the back of their former party, the APC, emerged on June 9, 2015, against the adopted candidates of the party for the positions, namely Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila.
Just like in 2015, the APC, which produced a majority of members in both chambers, has again nominated Lawan, who is Senate Leader, for the Senate President’s seat, and Gbajabiamila, House Leader, for the speaker’s seat.
Though the party has come out through its national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, to adopt Lawan during a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari about a fortnight ago, it is yet to make that of Gbajabiamila public.
But party sources said the Gbajabiamila’s endorsement and adoption were a done deal just like that of Lawan.
Despite the adoption of the duo, it was learnt that they were not leaving any stone unturned in wooing and lobbying their colleagues to curry their support to emerge as leaders of the 9th National Assembly.
However, the decision of the party did not go down well with a number of its lawmakers-elect for the 9th Assembly, who are in talks with major elements in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to thwart the APC’s decision.
Already, some senators-elect and members-elect have expressed fears that if care is not taken, the 2015 scenario would be repeated with the way the APC was going about the endorsement.
Some of the lawmakers-elect told Daily Trust on Sunday that the party did not consult with them before coming up with the position.
The case in the Green Chamber
In the House of Reps, where over a dozen contenders have emerged for the speaker’s seat, the situation seems dicey.
Apart from APC’s adopted candidate, Gbajabiamila, returning members such as Ahmed Idris Wase (APC, Plateau), Umar Mohammed Bago (APC, Niger), Abdulrazak Namdas (APC, Adamawa), Babangida Ibrahim (APC, Katsina), Muktar Aliyu Betara (APC, Borno) and John Dyegh (APC, Benue) are in the contest.
Wase and Bago come from the North-Central, which has never produced either a speaker or deputy speaker since the return of democracy in 1999.
Dogara’s henchmen regrouping
It was gathered that those that worked for Dogara to emerge speaker in 2015 from both the APC and PDP were regrouping to have one of them succeed their mentor.
Among the contenders for the speaker’s seat, Bago, Babangida, Namdas and Betara are believed to be close to Dogara, but it was learnt that since their declaration to join the contest, they have maintained a distance from the Number 4 Citizen.
But sources disclosed that members of the Dogara group were working underground to spring surprises the way they did in 2015.
They are said to be enjoying the full support of the Speaker, who is said not to be comfortable with Gbajabiamila as his successor.