Hitherto, political permutations were in favour of Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, representing Surulere 1 Federal Constituency, Lagos State to emerge as the Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives. Indeed not a few Nigerians held the view that Hon Gbajamiala’s Speakership ticket was sacrosanct. But at last Tuesday’s election of the principal officers of the new 8th House of Representatives, surprisingly Gbajabiamila’s political barometer was proved false, as the pendulum of leadership of the House swung to Hon. Yakubu Dogara from Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa-Balewa Fedral Constituency in Bauchi State.
Analysts had thought that as an old timer in the House, his wealth of legislative experience would have given him an edge over Dogara. Besides, he had enjoyed an unprecedented support from other elected House of Reps’ members especially from his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
However, one interesting thing about the loss of Gbajabiamila is that the backing of the APC caucus and leaders could not hold sway in this instance as events turned out in the opposite direction. Again like what happened with the senator-elect before the inauguration, about 80 % of the APC lawmakers, who invariably are the majority in the House, were alleged to have been in support of Gbajabiamila including the national leader of the party, Isiwaju Ahmed Tinubu. In a mock election on Saturday at the Party level, of course, hon. Gbajabiamila was adopted at the official candidate for the office of the Speaker as about 154 APC lawmakers voted for him. Mr. Dogara’s supporters were, however, reported to have boycotted the election.
Some analysts had argued that Gbajabiamila lost due to his closeness to Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu,a stalwart of APC. As such that would have implied putting the entire House under Tinubu’s control. Besides, there are comments from some quarters that since the APC had discarded the zoning arrangement in the party, it would be wrong for another of Tinubu’s protégé to be picked after Vice President Yemi Osinbajo from the same South-West.
Meanwhile, one of the things that worked against Gbajabiamila was the fact that the opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that has a significant number of lawmakers in the House had adopted Mr Dogara as their candidate. Nevertheless, the fact that Dogara won the Speakership seat reflects the beauty of democracy.
Hon Gbajabiamila is currently in the House for the fourth term having been elected in 2003 on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy. He had also held important positions in House, such as Minority Whip and Minority Leader.