BY: RALPH EJIMKONYE
The race for the Speakership of the House of Representaives has continued to gather more momentum as the battle seems to be clear one between Hon.Emeka Nwajiuba, (APC, Okigwe South, Imo) and Hon.Femi Gbajabiamila, House leader of the 8th House ( APC, Surulere, Lagos)
Nwajiuba is returning to the House a second time after his first stint between 1999-2003.
An Abuja Federal High Court had quashed the victory of Hon.Chike Okafor and re issued a Certificate of Return to Hon.Nwajiuba.
Nwajiuba is originally of the All Progressive Congress, APC but joined Accord party after Okafor was nominated the party’s candidate for the Reps Seat for Okigwe South, a nomination quashed by the courts which declared Okafor’s nomination by the APC as defective.
That set the stage for Nwajiuba to join the race for the Speakership of the 9th House of Representatives against Hon.Femi Gbajabiamila.
Gbajabiamila is the anointed choice of the All Progressive Congress, APC led by Adams Oshiomhole who had endorsed Gbaja as the party’s choice for the Speaker of the 9th House of Representaives.
He also is the political godson of APC National leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Nwajiuba is widely reported to be a close ally of President Muhammadu Buhari.
How these endorsements translate to victory makes the contest very interesting though it’s outcome will be determined not just by the votes of House members but by several seen and unseen political variables which will certainly come into play when the scramble of Speakership gets underway on June 11
Nwajiuba carries the hopes of the South East who have been marginalized by the ruling APC since it came to power at the centre in 2015.
The South East does not hold any key position both at the Executive and legislative levels, a huge defect which Nwajiuba’s ascension as Speaker of the House of Representatives will readily douse.
A group, South East Equity Alliance in a letter to members of the House of Representatives appealed for a Nwajiuba led House of Reps on the basis of equity.
In a statement signed by Kingsley Onunuju, co ordinator of the group, he wrote ” I appeal to you in the most dignified manner, to remember that the stability of our dear country’s democracy rests squarely on you, as the true representatives of the people of Nigeria.
He said allowing the South West to produce the Speaker having already produced the Vice President “is to accent to a division”
” Be firm on the side of fairness and inclusivity. Stand to be counted as one of those that made it happen this time. It is incumbent on you.
“Therefore, choose and vote for Hon.Emeka Nwajiuba for that strong and United National Assembly where fairness and justice will reign in furtherance of Nigeria’s nascent democracy” Onunuju stated.