By Gideon Njoku
Femi Gbajabiamila, immediate past Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, beat all odds to emerge the Speaker of the House, an office he also ran for in 2015, but lost to the immediate past Speaker, Yakubu Dogara.
He is to be assisted by Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase, who was elected unopposed, as the Deputy Speaker. Both men are from Lagos and Plateau states respectively.
Even though both men were their party’s endorsed and officially backed candidate, it did not stop Hon Mohammed Bagu from challenging him to the Speakership office.
Even though Gbajabiamila won with a landslide, securing 282 votes out of the 358 votes cast, the road to that victory was rough.
To win, Gbaja, as he is fondly called, fought off serious allegations of perjury, misconduct and of, having been convicted in Georgia, USA.
The opposition PDP had, on the eve of the election, backed Gbaja’s opponent, Bagu, directing all its elected members to give him a block vote. But not only did the directive come very late, it was was roundly ignored, given the margin of votes with which the new Speaker defeated his opponent.
The election of the Deputy Speaker was a no -event, as Wase, the APC endorsed candidate was shooed in unopposed. That was, however, thanks to Dogara who appealed to his colleagues not to nominate another person after Wase’s nomination, a move the new Speaker acknowledged and appreciated when he made his acceptance speech.
Perhaps, Dogara, seeing Gbaja’s overwhelming victory knew it was going to be a waste of time, and an exercise in futility.
With this victory, it was a clean sweep for the APC, as it not only won all the offices, but got all its endorsed candidates elected both at Senate and the House of Representatives.
This was the opposite of 2015 when all its endorsed candidates lost, and acceded the position of the Deputy Senate President to the opposition PDP.