…more are expected to join
… APC in dilemma
…as Reps endlessly wait for APC to zone positions
… subtle threat of opposition parties to turn the tide
Expectedly, the speakership race at the House of Representatives has thrown up ten gladiators gunning for the outgoing speaker Femi Gbajabiamila’s coveted office as religion may play a pivotal role on who emerges speaker.
Religion may finally play an overriding role in who emerges as speaker as both number one and number two citizens are already rested in the presidency wearing the coats of Muslims.
As for the high number of aspirants, this is not coming as a surprise because in the House it is more aspirants the merrier as the spirit ruling the parliament in Nigeria is simply ‘permanent interest ‘.
TheNewsGuru.com, (TNG) in this analysis will take a look at 2019 speakership race in retrospect and how zoning, religion and massive war chest will play an overriding role in the 2023 speakership race.
If finally the 10 contestants get to the final battle line then 10th House has recorded a fresh mileage. In 2011 the anointed candidate of the Goodluck Jonathan administration was Mulikat Akande-Adeola in the final race with Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal who eventually clinched the position rubbishing his party’s zoning formula.
As at April 2019, 17 lawmakers had registered their intentions to take Yakubu Dogara’s job.
The list then was Femi Gbajabiamila (Lagos) Sulaiman Kawu (Kano), Sulaiman Aminu (Kano), Tahir Monguno (Borno), Abdulrazaq Namdas (Adamawa), Yusuf Buba Yakub (Adamawa), Mohammed Bago (Niger), John Dyegh (Benue), Idris Wase (Plateau), Abubakar Lado (Niger), Nkiruka Onyejeocha (Abia), Chike Okafor (Imo), Olusegun Odebunmi, (Oyo), Jide Olatunbosun, (Oyo) Babangida Ibrahim, (Katsina) and incumbent Speaker and only aspirant from the PDP, Yakubu Dogara (Bauchi) were in the race.
In the entire list of contestants, only South South geo-political zone had no aspirant as the zone remained a stronghold of the major opposition party in Nigeria.
Going by the fresh list of contestants in the 2023 speakership race, South South is also visibly missing.
By first week of May in 2019 the figure dropped to just seven contestants as negotiation as to who gets what had been concluded.
Hon Abdulrazaq Namdas got the committee on Army to step down, Tahir Monguno became the Chief Whip, Nkiruka Onyejeocha, the only female contestant then became Monguno’s deputy. Wase settled for Deputy Speaker.
This same scenario is expected to resurface in 2023 as the ten contestants though vastly experienced in legislative business may negotiate with the strongest contender if the ruling party musters enough fireballs to zone the position of speaker to any of the six geo-political zones.
The strongest contestants for now are: Hon Idris Wase, from North Central zone who is also the outgoing Deputy Speaker, Tajudeen Abass, the legislator with the highest number of sponsored bills, Soli Sada, is from North West, specifically from President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state, Katsina, Benjamin Kalu, South East, Miriam Onuoha, Abdulrahim Olawuyi, Aliyu Betara others are just onlookers.
HOW RELIGION WILL PLAY A KEY ROLE ON WHO EMERGES SPEAKER:
In 2019, the ruling APC tested the waters fielding Gbajabiamila and Wase both Muslims and with the aid of a massive war chest succeeded in ensuring both men emerged.
In 2023, any attempt for the party to try to repeat its 2019 experiment will be resisted and the party may finally wear the toga of an Islamic party.
The party as presently constituted has a national chairman that’s a Muslim, major occupants of Aso Rock after May 29 are both Muslims.
In simple terms, number one, two and fourth citizens of the Republic will be Muslims. This may not go down well with Christians and this must be considered if APC must zone the position.
As it stands majority of those eyeing Gbajabiamila’s job are Muslims particularly those from the Northern axis of the country.
This definitely is an acid test for the ruling party that’s known not to be respecter of laid down procedures.
THE SUBTLE THREAT OF OPPOSITION PARTIES:
Yes! it could be a subtle threat that majority parties if they can stand united can turn the table in their favour though this is going to be an alien development in this clime as permanent interest plays a vital role in the Nigerian parliament. They have a majority that can only wear the shape of a toothless bull dog.
The new members-elect are predominantly green horns who do not understand the dynamics of how the parliament operates.
Once the masters of the game start throwing bread and butter on their paths most of them may not even remember their constituents who worked tirelessly for them.
Already the grapevine has it that there’s dollar rain and juicy offers being offered to them to sell their conscience for the next four years and sacrifice 2027 for good.
Let the new members-elect ask their outgoing members what happened in 2019 and how they’re now fairing in 2023. The truth is that most of them are licking their wounds for not doing the right thing in 2019.
The new breed opposition parties can never speak in one voice as bread and butter politics will always divide them for good.
THE ENDLESS WAITING GAME FOR APC TO ZONE:
The APC is in a dilemma over where to zone the speakership position. North West is claiming exclusive right to the position for delivering over 2.9m votes for the party. Nobody can blame them for that because the zone gave the party an edge.
The north central too is insisting that the House had never produced a speaker while North West had produced three.
These two zones have a good case but other zones too are laying claims to it giving various reasons. In the list of those who had championed leadership in the House, the north west and south west lead the pack. By default the South West has produced three speakers.
The south south and the south east are permanently relegated to the position of a deputy speaker.
If APC decides to zone the position the outcome definitely will not be palatable as north west, north east and north central may get to the finishing line and any of these three zones can conveniently produce the speaker with zoning or no zoning.
Religion as usual will play a formidable role as the three zones may settle for Christians as their deputies. If APC wants to rock the bottle-Muslim-Muslim ticket can be experimented in 2023.