The quest by the member representing Chanchanga Federal Constituency of Niger State, Honourable Umaru Mohammed Bago, to emerge as the Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives has got a boost as over 156 members-elect are said to have declared support for him.
Bago, who is contesting against the choice of their party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, was said to have got the endorsement of the members-elect at a meeting held at a location in Gwarimpa, Abuja, early on Saturday, where they were said to have decided to vote for him during the election.
A House of Reps member-elect from the South West of the country, who preferred to be anonymous, told Sunday Tribune that “with what is on the ground now, I can confidently say that those who believed that they already have the Speaker position in their pocket should expect the shock of their life.”
The source, who was at the meeting, explained that Bago had been anonymous because “this is a contest involving only 360 members of the lower chamber of the National Assembly, so our focus is on those who would vote.”
He added, “Secondly, for security reasons, we are keeping those who are with us under wraps. You know voting will be by secret ballot, Nigerians will only get to know those supporting Hon Bago after he has emerged as Speaker.”
The Director of Media and Publicity of Bago’s Campaign, Hon. Afam Ogene, while reacting to the said endorsement, said: “Yes we have been meeting and we will continue to meet because ours is ideal to ensure equity and fairness among the six geopolitical zones of the country.”
According to him, “we believe that Hon Bago is more than qualified to be Speaker, and coming from the North Central that has never occupied the position, we are sure he will be elected.”
The contest for the next Speaker of the House of Representatives is believed to be a two-horse race between the incumbent Leader of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila (APC Lagos) and Umaru Bago.