Femi Gbajabiamila, the majority leader of the House of Representatives, has replied to the Sokoto state governor and the last speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal, over his statement that he worked for the election of Yakubu Dogara as speaker against Gbajabiamila’s bid.
Gbajabiamila, who had the backing of the leaders of the All Progressives Congress, and the party’s major power brokers, lost the June 9 speakership election to Dogara in a keenly contested poll.
Tambuwal on Sunday, August 9, was quoted to have said that though Gbajabiamila is closer to him than Dogara, he and seven other principal officers of the 7th House supported the aspiration of the latter.
Premium Times reported that the House majority leader in his reply to Tambuwal’s revelation said the governor has finally spoken his mind and for him, he has left all those memories behind.
He said: “For me I have moved on and I can only wish him the best in his future undertakings. I guess Alhaji Tambuwal has finally spoken.”
Before this revelation by Tambuwal, many close watchers of politics in the House had thought that the former speaker would be supportive of the ambition of Gbajabiamila. This feeling could be attributed to the role Gbajabiamila played in Tambuwal’s emergence as speaker even when Dogara, who was then a member of the PDP, did not support him.
Tambuwal, who explained further the reason why him and others queued behind Dogara, said it was because he is competent and has great leadership skills.
He said: “the survival of the legislature as an important arm of government made it imperative that competent hands are headhunted to be its leaders. Eight out of ten members of the Body of Principal Officers in the last Assembly supported Dogara’s aspiration. Only Hon Femi (Gbajabiamila) and Hon Datti Ahmad supported Femi.
“I have strong affinity with Hon Femi. He was closer to me than Dogara. But when talking about leadership and collective decisions, sentiments have to be put aside. I’m not here to tell you that my support made Dogara the Speaker, no. Two things made Dogara to become the Speaker, one is God and two, Dogara’s competence.”
He continued: “The acknowledgement of Dogara’s competence did not start with me. It started from the time of Hon Patricia and Etteh and Hon Dimeji Bankole when they entrusted him with a sensitive position of the Chairman of House Services Committee.
“The committee is one of the most sensitive in the legislature. Apart from taking care of the welfare of members, the committee oversees all procurement processes. As the Speaker, I only did what my predecessors did by giving Dogara this sensitive position.”
A supporter of Gbajabiamila in the House, Aliyu Madaki said he was astonished that Tambuwal could oppose the House leader publicly.