“We are only doing that as a safety net. We do not need the whole of the PDP members to win the election. In fact, we may not even need a vote from the PDP because we are guiding our 223 votes religiously.”
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus in Nigeria’s House of Representatives has offered the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers the chairmanship and deputy chairmanship of 60 committees in order to boost the chances of Femi Gbajabiamila emerging the next speaker.
Abdulmumin Jibrin, director-general of the Femi Gbajabiamila /Ahmed Wase Campaign Organisation, disclosed this in an interview with journalists in Abuja on Saturday.
Jibrin said the PDP members had accepted the offer and have started working to ensure the emergence of Gbajabiamila, preferred candidate of the ruling party.
Jibrin said the PDP caucus in the house is divided into two factions but that the APC had sealed a deal with one of the groups.
“Before Femi’s endorsement by the party, the president, the governors and others, majority of us the lawmakers have agreed that he is the speaker that we want. It was after that decision that other endorsements came,” he said.
“As it is today, he has massive supports across party lines. In 2015, the APC was just only guiding its votes because we believed then that we had the number to win the election. We didn’t bother about anything, but the PDP was concentrating on how to poach the APC members and that was how the election was won.
“But this time round, the APC is more comfortable because we have more numbers with our 223. But even at that, our campaign is more aggressive towards poaching the PDP members than the aggression of the PDP members trying to poach our members.
“As it is today, the reality of the matter is that the PDP has been split into two factions. We have been open in negotiating with both factions. We have sealed a deal with one of the factions and we are still talking with the other faction.
“We are only doing that as a safety net. We do not need the whole of the PDP members to win the election. In fact, we may not even need a vote from the PDP because we are guiding our 223 votes religiously.
“But as a safety net, we have already over 60 members of the PDP working with us. There is nothing you can do to change the minds of these PDP members because their support is based on their conviction that Gbajabiamila and Wase are the best to occupy those positions at this time.
“On the aspect of responsibility in the parliament, we are always reluctantly mentioning this but it is the reality, sharing of committees and the rest. We have offered 60 positions.
“If not that the party has been broken into two factions, it is what we would have offered to all of them, but since we have concluded with one faction, we have given them that offer and they have accepted it.
“We have 60 of them and they are going to have 60 offices. It means that every one of them will have a particular position to hold in the next house.”