POLITICS

Wase, Betara, Jaji, Soli On Warpath With APC As Faleke Clash With Gbajabiamila

Following reports of the endorsement of Tajudeen Abbas for the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives, four leading contenders allegedly met at the weekend to engage in alliance talks.

this appears to have deepened the crisis over the race for the Senate presidency and speakership of the House of Representatives of the 10th National Assembly.

Recall that president-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu and governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had on Friday allegedly endorsed Senator Godswill Akpabio and Hon Tajudeen Abbas as Senate president and Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively.

However, stiff opposition was gradually mounting against the consensus candidates of the party, with federal lawmakers in the race for the leadership of the National Assembly not willing to give up their ambitions.

According to Leadership, front runners for the position of Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase, Aliyu Murktar Betara (chairman, House Committee on Appropriation), Sada Soli, and Sani Jaji met on Saturday night.

At the meeting held at the private residence of one of them in Maitama District, Abuja, it was learnt that the aspirants agreed to work together and present a common front.

As a prerequisite, the four lawmakers have directed their supporters to attend the declaration of each of them.

However, it was unclear who among them was likely to be backed for the speakership contest.

A source close to the meeting of the four aspirants hinted that the lawmakers have agreed to present a “formidable common front.”

The source revealed that a joint committee involving their confidants had been set up to harmonize positions and present a workable template within seventy-two hours.

Lagos Reps Caucus Meeting

This came hours after Abbas from Kaduna State had been adopted as the preferred choice of what a source described as the ‘Lagos cabal’ led by the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

It was gathered that the purported adoption and endorsement of Abbas as the preferred choice of Tinubu was rejected by the secretary of the now-dissolved presidential campaign council, James Faleke.

The source, who did not want his name in print, said, “From the onset, we knew what the outgoing Speaker was up to, but we merely waited for him to unveil his agenda, which he has done now. Interestingly, those of us on this divide do not want to believe Mr. President-elect is part of this charade.

“We know he cannot because he knows too well the implications of such action. It is either he has resolved to use Gbajabiamila to subjugate the north, or Gbajabiamila is acting a script without the knowledge of the incoming president.

“In all these we are doing, we respect the president-elect even though some persons are dropping his name. We are even more convinced that he knows nothing about what Gbajabiamila is doing because James Faleke is as close as anyone to the president-elect.

“If Faleke could openly confront Gbajabiamila in their Lagos Reps caucus meeting that the purported endorsement of Abbas by Tinubu is not correct, then something is wrong somewhere.”

It was gathered that at the Lagos caucus meeting, Faleke disclosed at the meeting hosted by the Speaker that Tinubu’s actual choice for the position of Speaker remained Jaji from Zamfara.

He reportedly accused Gbajabiamila of deliberate misinformation to the public on the speakership issue, saying the Abbas adoption was his (speaker’s) personal agenda and not a decision of the party nor Tinubu’s.

Gbajabiamila Meets Betara, Wase

Following the development, Gbajabiamila on Sunday held secret meetings with the Deputy Speaker of the House, Idris Ahmed Wase, and the chairman House Committee on Appropriation, Aliyu Mukhtar Betara.

Although details of the meeting were not revealed to our correspondent, a source familiar with the development hinted that Gbajabiamila is jittery about the outcome of an alliance between Wase and Betara against Hon Abbas, the candidate reportedly endorsed by the APC and president-elect.

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