Contrary to insinuations in some quarters, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El Rufai has disclosed that Femi Gbajabiamila is President Muhammadu Buhari’s choice for the Speakership position of the 9th House of Representatives.
El-Rufai, while receiving 121 members-elect, who were on consultation tour of Northwest on Friday at the Government House chamber in Kaduna said the President also convinced the Idris Wase to drop his Speakership ambition for Gbajabiamila.
He said people might not know but Gbajabiamila was not the Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu’s projects but President Bihari’s.
He said he would give his last effort to ensure that the project came to fruition with no contest on 11th June by convincing fellow governors, members of the National Assembly as well as Umaru Bago who is also contesting for the same position.
El Rufai said: “It’s a misconception that Gbajabiamila is Asiwaju’s project, no because it was President Buhari himself that has always observed Femi in the House.
“Even before he became President, he read newspapers and watch television and he followed Gbajabiamila, his dedication and contributions on the floor and he said this time around I want Femi.
“I’m sure Asiwaju is happy but this is not his project, he is not the one that zeroed in on him.
“The President told me himself and when I asked him that I heard this story about Gbajabiamila and he told me his reasons.
“At Governor’s Forum, people raised voices but I told them that as governors, we sometimes impose, I am not a hypocrite.
“So I say to them, don’t let us condemn the President for picking people he feels comfortable working with.
“I don’t care who the President wants to work with but in my State, I am very interested
“So, I told the President he has to be involved in this project and I said if he allows, me I’ll talk to people and get involved and I demand to get you involved too”.
He said having made up his mind to support the President’s wish, he discovered his first barrier to the Idris Wase, who was also contesting for the same position
“The first obstacle I have to face was that Wase is the biggest threat, so I reached out to him and took him to the President.
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“The President told him he has already decided on Femi and he gave his reasons.
“Wase replied though he was sure he has a big chance of winning but as his elder and President, the President’s request is done.
“I reached out to my fellow Governors and I’m talking to Bago as well and by the grace of God by 11th there won’t be any contest. We will do our best.
“I have also told my elected colleagues in Kaduna state that this is Buhari’s State, and we will do 100 per cent what he wants.
“We supported Femi In 2015, only one did not vote for Femi and my members suffered for their party loyalty in 2015 by not getting anything tangible in the House despite some of them being very ranking.
“I assure you that not only I and other governors will work on this project to the end.
He, however, urged Gbajabiamila and Wase not to be drawn into ethno-religeous controversy, saying, “Please do not allow people to draw you into religion or ethnic controversy”.
Earlier, Gbajabiamila, who said the appreciation visit was strategic because of the governor has been doing for the project added that the team is rainbow coalition of several parties because of the vision of nation building being a joint task.
He said it might be difficult for some people to understand that he and El Rufai came a long way, which was why some statements credited to him were twisted.
“His Excellency has to fly to Lagos to launch a book for me during my 50th birthday.”
“When governor Fashola was leaving, he also made a case for me to the powers that be for me to be the governor after Fashola.
“It is our intention to take the legislature to the next level.,” he told the governor.
On his part, the Director General (DG) of Gbajabiamila/Wase Campaign organisation, Abdulmumin Jibrin told the governor that the team was capable of bringing the needed reform the National Assembly, while reiterating that they were open to negotiation from other contestants, “Please use your clout to convince Bago,” he pleaded.