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House leader, Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos) was yesterday endorsed for the position of speaker, House of Representatives in the ninth assembly. The decision was taken at the Presidential Villa at a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari’s APC Reps-elect and the party executives.

President Buhari hosted the Reps-elect to a dinner at the State House, Abuja. The closed door session that followed lasted for about an hour.

Rep Abdulmumin Jibrin (APC, Kano) told newsmen after the meeting that Gbajabiamila has been endorsed for Speaker. He said the position of the deputy Speaker has been zoned to the North Central geopolitical zone.

He said the four other principal officer positions, House leader, Deputy Leader, Chief Whip and Deputy Chief whip would be shared between North east, South east, North west and South-South geopolitical zones.

Earlier the National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, insisted that members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will not be allowed to chair strategic committees in the ninth assembly, saying we will not dine with the devils.

Oshiomhole spoke during the opening session of the dinner. The meeting was attended by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, the Chief of Staff Abba Kyari and members of the APC National Working Committee (NWC).

He said only APC members would chair strategic committees, adding that both returning and new members would chair committees.

“Most of those who decamped were rejected and even those who led it were uprooted. We cannot as a party which has a comfortable majority, entrust critical committees in the hands of the PDP or opposition.

“If Nigerians wanted them, they could have voted them. In the days of PDP, every committee were chaired by PDP members,” he said.

Oshiomhole while stressing that they won’t allow a repeat of 2015 episode, said the Reps-elect are committed to the ideals of the APC.

“In life mistakes are permitted but it becomes a problem if the mistake is repeated twice. We are determined not to repeat the mistakes of 2015 in 2019, we have learnt our lesson.

“Out of 223 APC elected members, about 67 were re-elected, the rest are new members.

“In other climes, you don’t go into coalition when you are in the majority, you do so when you don’t have the numbers. We have the numbers, out of 306, Nigerians elected 223 APC members. Nigerians voted for our party because they don’t want Mr. President to face the trauma of 2015,” he said.

Describing the present leadership of the National Assembly as hostile, he said, “they created tension in the system, delayed budget needlessly, and created all obstacles to frustrate the government. We do not need to do business with the devil for us to survive in the ninth Assembly.”

He said the closed door session would enable them to come up with the formula for the leadership of the next House of Representatives.

“Neither Mr. President nor the party expects the National Assembly to be rubber stamps, we don’t have rubbers…But we will not fight in Wuse market,” he said.

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