NASS leadership: Three zones intensify battle for Speakership

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Nigerian Senate

The battle to head the incoming House of Representatives has commenced in full force as lawmakers are now meeting to navigate the thorny journey.

Lawmakers from different geopolitical zones have been meeting to mobilize both the old and the new members to give them momentum.

The race appears to be favouring the Northcentral, Northwest and Southeast because the president-elect, Bola Tinubu and his Vice, Kashim Shettima are from the Southwest and Northeast, respectively.

Also, religion will have an impact on this election because both Tinubu and Shettima are Muslims, hence, there will be a need for balance. The religious balance could happen in the Senate or the House of Representatives.

Also, unlike the incumbent president that has been very aloof in leadership tussle in his party, many believe that the president-elect is a different breed of politician. Several politicians have been trying to show that they have the nod of Tinubu.

However, with the history of rebellion in the House, the ruling party is in a tight spot. APC currently has 162 members, while the PDP has 102 members.

It would be recalled that rebellion in the House produced the leadership in 2011 and 2015. Without a clear majority, the APC may face another round of rebellion.

Here are some of the lawmakers in the battle for Gbajabiamila’s job.

Deputy Speaker Idris Wase (Plateau, Northcentral)

Deputy Speaker Wase is expected to announce his bid for the seat in a few days as he is waiting for an announcement by the ruling party.

Wase has been with Gbajabiamila for a long time since he was appointed as deputy Majority Leader to Gbajabiamila in 2018. They did a joint ticket in 2019. In addition, he has been with the ACN since 2007.

However, Wase’s temperament is a major factor. As the deputy speaker, he has had open confrontations with several lawmakers.

He will have to battle another Plateau lawmaker in this race.

Yusuf Gagdi (Plateau Northcentral)

The former Plateau State House of Assembly member is also a strong contender in the race.

He is yet to officially declare, but DAILY POST learnt he has been meeting with journalists and others ahead of any decision by the party.

Gagdi’s relationship with Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau, who served as the Director General of the Tinubu Campaign Organization may count for him.

Also, Gagdi is equally close to the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.

He is also dogged by temperament issues, as he has had one or two face-off with other members in the current assembly.

Alhassan Doguwa

Doguwa, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives has never hidden his desire to become the Speaker.

However, Doguwa is currently in a trouble that is bigger than chasing the speakership. He is facing trial over the alleged killing of some persons during a confrontation between APC and NNPP supporters in the February presidential and National Assembly elections.

Even his election has been declared inconclusive. Ordinarily, Doguwa would have gotten the backing of 23 other lawmakers from Kano, however, 17 of them are members of the NNPP.

Ben Kalu

In the event that the Senate Presidency is moved away from the south, Kalu, one of the few lawmakers from the Southeast, will be in a good position.

Although, his leader, Orji Kalu is running to be Senate President, however, with strong contenders from Northwest, the Speakership may become some sort of compensation to Kalu.

Muktar Betara

The Chairman House Committee on Appropriation is another contender. The media shy Betara is believed to be involved in serious deliberation.

However, he is from Borno State, the same state as Shettima, the Vice President-elect.

Although, in 2019, Gbajabiamila emerged as Speaker despite being from the same region as Yemi Osinbajo.

In a few weeks, the picture will become clearer, especially when the APC releases its zoning arrangement.

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