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Speakership race: Let Ajibola be

MY friend drew my attention to the rumour making the round in some quarters to the effect that Muraina Ajibola, the member representing Ibarapa Central / North Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives was not in his constituency to vote during the presidential election. To say the least, it is a naked lie.

The sponsors of this sham concocted it to portray him as a disloyal party man with the view to throwing spanner into his cordial relationship with President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, hierarchy that had endorsed him for the position of Speaker. Secondly they had thought their tale would scuttle Ajibola’s Speakership bid, having seen that he is clearly the man to beat. Thank God, perceptive lawmakers did not take the peddlers of this rumour seriously.

However, there is urgent need to put the record straight. Ajibola was at home for the election and voted for President Jonathan. This man that I know too well couldn’t have made the costly mistake of not being at his constituency for the election because doing that would have been a disservice to his people and his party, having contributed immensely to the fortunes of the party in the South West, particularly at the 2007 general elections. This was partly why the PDP South West had no problems adopting Ajibola as the consensus candidate for Speakership of the House of Representatives.

The people of Ibadan, particularly those of Ibarapa Central and North Constituency love Ajibola and that was why he was overwhelmingly voted to represent them at the Green Chamber in 2007 and 2011.

In return, Ajibola has effectively sponsored and supported bills, carried out his oversight functions and most importantly represented his people effectively.

His closeness to the people is glaring. He has an interventionist scheme which helps the needy and the vulnerable, and empowers youth and women in society. Only recently, he donated three transformers to his constituency through the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.

He also made the nation proud with his Power Probe Minority Report that saved our nation from incalculable embarrassment that the Majority Report would have brought to us as a people.

It will be recalled that a 23- man committee headed by Ndidi Elumelu was set up by the leadership of the House of Representatives to, amongst other things, investigate the investment in the power sector between 1999 and 2007.

The majority report sensationally indicted Nigerian past leaders, some governors and even suggested the sack of some PHCN staff but was silent on the salient institutional and procedural factors that crippled power supply in Nigeria, thus creating insinuations that the committee was on a political mission.

Rather than personalise the paralysis in the power sector, Ajibola in his report dwelled on issues in the sector and suggested ways of reviving the epileptic sector. The deepness of Ajibola’s minority report made the entire House to adopt Ajibola’s at plenary, while Elumelu’s majority report was unanimously rejected.

Today and unfortunately too, mischief makers are working very hard to rewrite history. Ajibola’s opponents in the House are inciting fresh lawmakers not to vote for Ajibola for the position of Speaker on account of his perceived closeness to former President Olusegun Obasanjo using the minority report as justification. If an outsider thinks this way, it is understandable but not a member of the House.

If Ajibola is branded an Obasanjo man on account of the Minority Report, then the entire house should first and foremost be tagged Obasanjo’s House because the lower chamber unanimously adopted the report at plenary without the prompting of anybody. In fact, during plenary, the first set of lawmakers to support the adoption of Ajibola’s report were the so-called haters or better put, critics of Obasanjo. Ajibola is simply humble, experienced, cerebral and politically sagacious. He knows that for his party, PDP, to back him for the juicy position, he must properly consult all power brokers in PDP and Obasanjo couldn’t have been an exception.

This he did. Senator David Mark did before he became Senate President, President Jonathan was not an exception. The duo of Jonathan and Mark are very close to Baba. They have gained so much; they rose to political stardom for leaning on Obasanjo.

Mark was anointed Senate President in 2007 by Obasanjo. Jonathan was appointed running mate to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua the same year, yet nobody moved against them on account of their manifest closeness to Obasanjo and rightly too because they are eminently qualified for the positions they are occupying. Ajibola is also qualified to be number four citizen of our great nation and I believe no mischief of his tenuous closeness to the Ota chicken farmer should be a hindrance

Mr. FRANK AGBO, a commentator  on national issues,  wrote from Abuja.


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