Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has refuted reports that his quest to emerge Speaker of the 8th Assembly was propelled by the National leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The aspiring Speaker, who is among the leading contestants for the number four position in the protocol list, made this declaration in Abuja on Wednesday when he met with Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, members-elect in continuation of his campaign for the job.
Reacting categorically on his being Tinubu’s candidate, the lawmaker representing a Lagos constituency said he was often surprised when he heard or read about such insinuation.
According to him, having led the opposition for eight years in the House, it is a wonder how people came about the idea that he did not have the capacity to lead the House unless he relied on Tinubu to make a case for him.
Admitting that prominent Nigerians, including the Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, had pleaded with Tinubu to support him, he noted that the APC leader did not give them any answer until a few weeks back when he said “maybe this man (Gbajabiamila) has some appeal.”
“The way I stick my neck for the opposition, I seek to do same for Nigeria as speaker. I want this campaign to be about issues and hoped it would be that way, but I heard a lot of many negative stories. I tried to maintain dignified silence, but I want to set the record straight now.
“I intend to be speaker not for anbody. Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu has no hand in it. Lamido Sanusi left his palace in Kano and pleaded with him to support me. He didn’t get a clear answer.
“Shortly after that, Senator Lawan Shuaibu went to Tinubu on the same issue. He still did not respond until when few weeks ago, Nasiru El-Rufai went to meet him, then he said maybe this man has some appeal.
“In 2011, some members from the North went to him to suggest that I should be Tambuwal’s deputy, but he said no to that,” he revealed.
Expatiating on how some lawmakers were demanding to be chairmen of particular committees as a condition for supporting him, Gbajabiamila alleged that such members number among the same people going about town saying that he was Tinubu’s candidate.
He assured the PDP members that allocation of committees would be based on fairness, justice and quality.
In his reaction, Deputy Leader of the House, Mr. Leo Ogor, who led the delegation, disclosed that the PDP members would go back and study Gbajabiamila’s campaign promises to see how the caucus would key into his agenda