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Supporters dump Gbajabiamila, back Dogara

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Gbajabiamila joins race for speaker

Some ex-loyalists of former Minority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila and members of the All Progressives Congress Loyalists Group, on Saturday declared support for the House of Representatives Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara.

The lawmakers claimed that they had realised it was better to place the interest of the country ahead of all other considerations to accept the positions of the principal officers of the House as proposed by Dogara.

Gbajabiamila who is believed to have the backing of the Loyalists Group, had for long insisted that the office of Majority Leader must be zoned to the South-West and be held by him.

Members of the group who attended a joint news briefing in Abuja with the Speaker’s group were Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa (Kano State); Mr. Mohammed Monguno (Borno State); and Mr. Pally Iriase (Edo State).

The APC leadership, in a June 23 letter to Dogara, had recommended to zone the majority leader to the South-West; deputy leader to North-West; chief whip to North-East and the deputy whip to South-South.

However, the Speaker opposed it, citing alleged violation of federal character principle, and instead, proposed to zone the majority leader to the North-West.

Dogara also zoned the deputy leader to the North-Central; chief whip to the South-South; and deputy whip to the South-East.

By the Speaker’s proposal, Ado-Doguwa will now become the majority leader, while a lawmaker from Kogi State, Mr. Buba Jibrin, will become the deputy leader.

Mr. Pally Iriase from Edo State, will become the chief whip, while the position of deputy whip which goes to the South-East will be occupied by Mr. Chike Okafor.

Ado-Doguwa, Monguno and Iriase were all Gbajabiamila’s men, but who had made U-turn to back Dogara.

They now subscribe to a new tune and group, “Equity Forum.”

Dogara is set to name the principal officers on Tuesday when the House would have reconvened from its current four-week break.

Speaking on behalf of the loyalists group, Iriase claimed that their change of mind was informed by the realisation that the members had to comply with Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution, which dealt with federal character.

Iriase added, “Let Nigerians know that the crisis in the House has been resolved.

“Based on the letter the speaker wrote to the APC, under Section 13 of the constitution, he is to ensure compliance with Section 14 (3) of the constitution.

“We have, therefore, accepted the Speaker’s proposal on the equitable distribution of the principal positions.

“The majority of APC members in the loyalists group have accepted these positions for the sake of promoting equity.”

According to Iriase, the loyalists group won a major victory over Dogara for being able to produce the majority leader, deputy leader and chief whip.

Ado-Doguwa also spoke at the session, saying he backed the position of the group as explained by Iriase.

He said he accepted to be the House leader because he realised the group must give up fighting for the sake of rescuing the country’s democracy from further crises.

“We reached a point that we just agreed that the interest of the whole nation supersedes any other.

“Where we are now is okay for us as a group and we must sheathe our swords and move on,” he added.

On his part, Monguno looked weighed down when he said that by agreeing to team up with the Speaker, he knew he had become one of the biggest losers.

Monguno had wanted to be the Seaker, but stepped down for Gbajabiamila. He also contested the post of deputy leader and lost to the current occupant, Mr. Yusuf Lasun.

The APC later proposed him to be the chief whip but he also agreed to swap the position with Iriase, who was initially nominated as deputy whip by the party.

His case worsened when Dogara’s proposal excluded his zone, North-East, from the four contested principal offices.

“Ordinary, I should have been the last person to be part of this meeting, considering the fact that, all along, I have been the one making the sacrifice.

“Ultimately, I have become the loser in all of this. But, for the interest of the nation and the House, I have accepted to work with this arrangement,” Monguno stated.

The spokesman of the House Dogara, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, had also confirmed that the new development signalled the end of the crisis.

Jibrin promised that the loyalists group, particularly Gbajabiamila and Monguno, would be adequately compensated in the distribution of key committees in the days ahead.

He said, “We have commenced collection of signatures which has reached advanced stage to affirm the Dogara formula.

“All other interests, including those excluded from the principal officers, specifically, Gbajabiamila and Mongunu, will be duly accommodated with commensurate responsibility to serve.

“Since the Speaker has about 200 positions to share out, many members will have the opportunity to serve the country.”

However, Gbajabiamila was not at the session.

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POLITICS

2023 Presidency: El-Rufai opens up on why Buhari loves Amaechi

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Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has disclosed why President Muhammadu Buhari loves Rotimi Amaechi, the outgone Minister of Transportation.

Rufai disclosed that Buhari loves Amaechi due to his decision to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, during the era of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

He disclosed this when Amaechi met with APC delegates from Kaduna ahead of the party’s national convention.

El-Rufai recalled wooing Amaechi and some other governors into the APC during the PDP administration.

“Let me tell you my history with Amaechi. When we started discussing with the G-7, the seven governors that wanted to defect to the APC, I was holding nocturnal meetings with Amaechi and Governor Nyako of Adamawa State until we got five of them to move to our party, and that was the game-changer.

“And for you to understand how difficult it is, imagine Amaechi of Rivers State from the same South-South with incumbent President Jonathan.

“He made the sacrifice to move to our party. It was a game-changer. This is part of the reason President Buhari loves Minister Amaechi till tomorrow,” El-Rufai said.

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2023: Amosun denies stepping down for Tinubu

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Amosun denies stepping down for Bola Tinubu

Former Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has denied stepping down from the 2023 presidential election for the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu.

Amosun stated that he is not in the presidential race to align with Tinubu or any other aspirant of the APC.

Amosun also denied obtaining the APC senatorial form, saying he did not attend the screening exercise organised for APC senatorial aspirants, as being peddled by some individuals.

There were rumours over the weekend that Amosun had agreed to step down for Tinubu, having been screened and cleared for the Ogun Central senatorial race.

But, in a swift reaction, Amosun debunked the rumour spreading on social media, saying the “two news stories are false.”

According to a statement signed by his media aide, Bola Adeyemi, he said that the Ogun Central Senator “procured only the forms for the presidential ticket of the APC and did not attend the screening exercise for Senatorial aspirants because he is not one.”

While urging Nigerians to dismiss the “false news”, Adeyemi maintained that “Amosun is in the race for the presidential ticket of the APC and has no plans to align with any politician in the race.”

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Women affairs Minister, Pauline Tallen withdraws from senatorial race

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Dame Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs, has dropped her senatorial ambition.

Tallen made this known in a statement she issued on Monday.

The minister had purchased the All Progressives Congress (APC) form to contest the Plateau South Senatorial election.

According to her, after consultations with her constituents, she has decided to withdraw from the race.

The statement read in part: “I remain resolute as I continue to relish the opportunity to serve Nigerian Women in my capacity as Minister of Women Affairs under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Consequently, I wish to inform you all that following broad-based consultations and interventions from critical stakeholders, I have decided to withdraw from running for the senatorial seat, mindful of our accomplishments and the notable progress we have recorded under my stewardship at the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs.”

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