House Speaker, Deputy: Presidency, PDP Renew Interest In Mulikat, Dogara
SAN FRANCISCO, May 22, (THEWILL) – As the race to elect a new Speaker and Deputy Speaker for the House of Representatives heats up, the candidacy of the pair of ranking representatives Hon. Mulikat Adeola-Akande and Hon. Yakubu Dogara are being seriously considered for the position of Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), following the furor generated in the House by the candidacy of Hon. Muraina Ajibola, a protégé of former President Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo.
Recall that representatives elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and main opposition party in the House, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) had vehemently opposed moves to enthrone Muraina or Mulikat as House Speaker due to their strong ties to Obasanjo and incumbent Oyo State Governor Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala respectively. Muraina’s candidacy was even a no-no for most representatives even though his candidacy had the backing of the leadership of the party.
However, a single source familiar with developments on the matter told THEWILL over the weekend that the Presidency and the leadership of the PDP may have switched their earlier support for Muraina in favour of Mulikat, a 1982 female Law graduate of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, who is representing Ogbomosho North/Ogbomosho South/Orire Federal Constituency in Oyo State.
“President Jonathan in fulfilment of his promise to women, who he promised to include in the top five spots of power in terms of hierachy is seriously giving the candidacy of Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola a strong consideration due to the overwhelming opposition against Hon. Muraina Ajibola, who we all know to be former President Obasanjo’s boy,” the source told THEWILL on Saturday.
Continuing, the source said, “the President also likes Hon. Dogara, who is also a lawyer like Hon. Akande-Adeola and is said to be comfortable working with the pair as House leaders. He even invited Hon. Dogara to the villa two days ago for talks. Dogara has been advised to join forces with Akande-Adeola in the House too garner more support.”
Not long ago, the PDP made public its political office sharing arrangement where it zoned the Speakership of the House to the South West amidst opposition from representatives of the South East, while the North East zone got the approval to occupy the Deputy Speaker slot.
Initial feelers from the hierarchy of the party after the announcement had showed that Hon. Muraina, an ally of Obasanjo, had been positioned by the former President, who is also Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BOT), to emerge Speaker.
But the often radical House, whose members continue to show their independence in the way they choose their leaders have risen almost unanimously against the choice of Muraina arguing that being a lackey of Obasanjo, his leadership would be influenced by the former President who is disliked by many.
Members of the House have reiterated their resolve to elect a Speaker with character and capacity to lead the often charged House, and many are of the opinion that Muraina is definitely not equipped to for the job due to his ties with Obasanjo.
Muraina’s biggest minus was the Minority report on the power sector he authored, where he exonerated the indicted former President of any wrong doing in the manner funds for the sector were spent.
The candidacy of Hon. Mulikat has however received the backing of some key representatives elected on the platform of the ACN though House Minority leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila is yet to show support as the ACN had earlier distanced itself from her candidacy during a meeting last Tuesday. There are also feelers that ANPP and CPC representatives are comfortable with a Mulikat Speakership.
As for Hon. Dogara, who is representing Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa Federal Constituency in Bauchi State, THEWILL gathered that he currently enjoys the support of a large number of representatives, though there are a few PDP House members who are against his candidacy.
He is Chairman, House Committee on Customs & Excise, and member House Committees on Capital Market & Institutions, Judiciary, Power and Rural Development, while Mulikat is Vice Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee as well as member of the Foreign Affairs, Science and technology, and Women Affairs Committees.
The leadership of the PDP and the President are expected to meet again any moment from now on the leadership issue of the House.
The National Assembly is scheduled to be inaugurated in the first week of June after the swearing in of President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo.