The camp of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, is in a dilemma over who to field against the Majority Leader and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Femi Gbajabiamila.
Also, it was learnt that five aspirants for the House of Reps speakership met with Dogara and his group to boost their chances.
Lawmakers in the camp were said to have been further confused by the fact that Dogara, now a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, has neither declared interest in the speakership race nor announced his preferred successor among the aspirants.
A source in the camp, who was at the group’s last meeting on Wednesday night where some APC aspirants and members were in attendance, said though five aspirants were linked to Dogara, the list had been narrowed to two.
The source spoke on condition of anonymity as details of the meetings were not expected to be leaked to the press.
The lawmaker said, “We are in a dilemma now. Five of the aspirants may be seen to be close to Dogara but two of them are now being considered because they have been actively campaigning despite the unilateral announcement by the National Chairman of the APC (Adams Oshiomhole) that Gbajabiamila is the party’s candidate.
“We have options to choose from: the Deputy Majority Leader, Idris Wase (Plateau State); John Dyegh (Benue State), Mohammed Bago (Niger State) and Abdulrazak Namdas (Adamawa State) and Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (Abia State).
“But we have also observed that in all our meetings, Dogara has never mentioned having interest to return to the office and he has also not endorsed any of the aspirants.”
Dogara had earlier in March said he was not concerned about the ongoing struggle for the leadership of the next National Assembly.
He had said the House still had three months to focus on urgent legislative tasks like the 2019 Appropriation Bill, among others.
The source in Dogara’s camp said barring a declaration by the Speaker, his loyalists were considering two aspirants.
He said, “We have shortlisted Bago and Namdas. They have been campaigning and speaking louder after Gbajabiamila’s so-called endorsement. We are considering some critical factors in determining who we’ll field.”
When contacted on Friday to confirm being one of those shortlisted, Namdas declined to speak.
“No comment,” he simply said.
Speaking to Punch on Friday, Bago pointed out that he was not against Buhari and the APC.
He, however, stated that Oshiomhole’s announcement of Gbajabiamila as the party’s candidate was unpopular, alleging that leaders of the party did not reach a consensus on speakership candidacy.
The speakership aspirant said the APC was committing the same mistakes it committed on the party’s primaries in 2018.
Bago said, “I don’t think it is in any way okay for someone to say that we are not loyal to the party. The position that is acclaimed to be that of the Presidency or the President, as far as we are concerned, is just not it.
“The President has not anointed anybody. The National Working Committee of the party has not, at any sitting, resolved this matter at stake; we only heard the party’s chairman at the dinner with the President saying that he was anointing Femi Gbajabiamila. But we are saying that, even if you want to anoint him, what happens to the rest (zones)?”