Speaker House Representatives: Onyejeocha steps down for Gbajabiamila

*Gbajabiamila, Onyejeocha

As Omo-Agege, Alimikhena battle for post of deputy senate president

Ime Akpan

Ahead of June 11 inauguration of the 9th national assembly, a leading aspirant for the post of speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (Isuikwuato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency of Abia State) has stepped down for the preferred candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the coveted seat, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila.

The director general of Gbajabiamila/Idris Wase campaign, Mr. Abdulmumini Jibrin who disclosed this in Abuja also said three other aspirants, Messrs Buba Yakubu, Aliyu Betara, and Abdulrazak Namdas had stepped down for the Gbajabiamila.

Besides, Jibrin said the southeast caucus in the House led by Mr. Patrick Asadu had also endorsed the Gbajabiamila candidacy.

Meanwhile, despite APC’s choice of Mr. Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta Central) as the deputy senate president, Mr. Francis Alimikhena (APC Edo North) has said that he had not jettisoned his ambition occupy the position.

The decision to endorse Omo-Agege was said to have been reached at the emergency meeting of the national working committee (NWC) of the APC held on Saturday and Sunday.

The party, which also adopted Mr. Idris Wase as deputy speaker of the House of Representatives explained that the decision was sequel to wide consultations with President Muhammadu Buhari, party stakeholders, including members of the Progressive Governors’ Forum.

However, Alimikhena said in an interview with journalists denied stepping down as being insinuated in some quarters.

NAN quotes the lawmaker as calling on his supporters and colleagues in the senate to disregard claims he had stepped down, describing it as “unimaginable, unthinkable and machinations of some very overzealous and too ambitious persons who will go extra mile to bring down others.

Alimikhena who was the deputy chief whip of the 8th Senate, said his decision to vie for the position was with the blessing and permission of his constituents, adding that he would not dash their hope if elected.

Alimikhena, who said his ambition remained intact, expressed confidence that he would emerge victorious when his colleagues vote in the chamber on June 9.

“My attention has been drawn to speculations in some quarters claiming that I, Francis Alimikhena, has stepped down from the race for the position of deputy senate president.

“I am still in the race. I have not stepped down for anybody. How will I step down and for who?

“I am a ranking senator, a principal officer in the Eight Senate, an experienced personality who served in various ad-hoc committees in the just concluded senate.

“I urge my colleagues to support and vote for me as I promise to provide purposeful leadership.

“I have the humility, experience and temperament required for the office and I have been a very loyal party member. My relationship also cuts across party divide,” he said.