HON Femi Gbajabiamila has been elected as the speaker of the ninth Federal House of Representatives after securing victory in today’s election beating his only opponent Hon Umaru Bago by 281 votes to 76.
In highly transparent elections on the floor of the House, Hon Gbajabiamila, representing Surulere 1 Federal Constituency saw off a challenge from Hon Bago from Chanchanga Federal Constituency in Niger State. Hon Gbajabiamila was nominated by Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin from Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency in Kano State and the motion was seconded by Hon Lynda Ikpeazu from Onitsha North/South Federal Constituency in Anambra State.
Hon Bago for his part was nominated by Hon Abubakar Ahmed from Yamaltu-Deba Federal Constituency in Gombe State and the nomination seconded by Hon Mark Gbillah from Gwer East/West Federal Constituency in Benue State. Surprisingly, there was no nominee from the southeast geo-political zone despite the high profile campaigns of Hon Nkeiruka Onyejeocha representing the Isiukwuato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency in Abia State and Hon Emeka Nwajuba representing Ehimembano/Ihitte Uboma/Obowo Federal Constituency in Imo State.
After the candidates were nominated, members of the House of Representatives were asked to come forward one at a time and cast their votes by placing a nomination slip in a ballot box. Tellers were then called forward to count the votes in the presence of the entire senate, with the number of clips held up as they were counted.
Following the counting, clerk of the National Assembly Mohammed Sani-Omolori, read out the results for everyone to hear, in what was a very fair and transparent process. As soon as the winner was announced, Hon Gbajabiamila was sworn-in as the speaker of the ninth Federal House of Representatives.
Under Nigeria’s informal zoning arrangement, all the six geo-political zones get one of the top offices and with the president and vice president coming from the northwest and southwest respectively, the four other zones had been expected to clinch the National Assembly leadership. With the senate presidency going to Senator Ahmad Lawan of the northeast and the deputy senate presidency to Senator Ovie Omo-Agege of the south-south, the southeast had been in pole position for the speakership position.
Hon Onyejeocha,49, in particular, had been a very aggressive campaigner as the fact that she was also female stood her in good stead. A four-time member of the house and an ex-commissioner for manpower development in Abia State, she was the chairman of the House Committee on Aviation in the eighth National Assembly.
Hon Emeka Nwajiuba, who was elected as a member of the Accord Party after leaving the All Progressives Congress following a falling out with his state governor Rochas Okorocha, had also drummed up significant support. For instance, the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum had endorsed his candidacy as part of the zoning policy.
However, as it happened, none of the candidates from the southeast were nominated. It is most likely that they stood down after some horse-trading with the APC leadership that offered them other juicy positions.
Hon Idris Wase of Wase Federal Constituency in Plateau State was elected as the deputy speaker unopposed. In the eighth National Assembly he served as deputy leader while Hon Gbajabiamila served as House majority leader.