The candidacy of Yakubu Dogara (APC-Bauchi) for the coveted position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives was boosted on Wednesday as Abdulmumin Jibrin, one of the leading contenders, stepped down for him.
The election of the Speaker is set for Tuesday, 9th June 2015 and Dogara is locked in a two-horse race with Femi Gbajabiamila (APC-Lagos) with both men canvassing for votes across party lines.
Announcing his decision to step down for Dogara at a news conference held at the National Assembly complex, Jibrin noted that the body language of the leadership of All Progressive Congress (APC) does not align with zoning arrangement.
Flanked by Dogara and 17 other lawmakers, Jibrin noted that from what he had seen of President Muhammad Buhari so far, it was unlikely that zoning would be used for the sharing of offices.
Said Jibrin: “Of course everybody respects zoning, but just yesterday, the party came out and spoke to the country that the decision lies with the decision of the House of Representatives.
“Ultimately, the decision would be made on the floor. I am sure the party itself understands what is going on in the House, they understand that Dogara has the largest followership and I am sure wholeheartedly that the party will support the candidature of Yakubu Dogara.
“In an unlikely event that they don’t, it would be decided at the level of the House,” he said.
On his decision to back Femi Gbajabiamila (APC-Lagos), Jibrin said: “In life, in every stage you make decision based on the information available to you and probably I got that information that I never had previously and I have always maintained that those are crucial issues that one has to search his mind about.
“In the last few weeks I’ve consulted widely with my supporters and colleagues and in order to diffuse the political tension, unite the House and ensure a smooth takeoff of the Buhari administration.
“I hereby withdraw from the race for the Speakership of the 8th House of Representatives and consequently throw my weight behind the candidature of Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, one of our senior colleagues, a man of integrity, an astute legislator and an amiable gentle man.
“Consequently, I have also donated my fully operational secretariat and situation room, to Hon. Dogara. Wholeheartedly, my supporters and I now support his ambition to be the next Speaker.
“I think at this stage of our development, at this crucial state, what we are supposed to be talking about is what will be good for our country.
“As far as speakership of the 8th Assembly is concerned, the candidacy of Hon Yakubu Dogara is in the best interest of the House and the entire country,” Jibrin said.
Some of the lawmakers who are backing Dogara’s candidacy include: Victor Ogene, Zakari Mohammed, Nnenna Ukeje, Kamil Akinlabi, Biodun Akinkade, among others.