The member representing Chanchanga federal constituency of Niger State in the House of Representatives and a contender for the position of Speaker , Mohammed Bago has warned against electing his main rival, Femi Gbajabiamila to lead the lower legislative house.
Bago, who spoke through the spokesman of the Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago Campaign Organisation, Mr. Afam Ogene yesterday in Abuja at a media briefing said Gbajabiamila was convicted of fraud by the Georgia Supreme Court in the United States and lacks the character and integrity to become speaker
He said Nigeria should avoid the past mistakes of a former senate president, Evans Enwerem and a former Speaker of the House,Salisu Buhari both of whom were impeached for fraud and elect him as the speaker instead citing his clean records.
See full except from briefing
On behalf of the Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago Campaign Organization, we welcome you to this special media session which marks an official end to our two-month long campaign for the speakership position of the House of Representatives, 9th National Assembly.
Today’s gathering, essentially, is to thank profusely, all those who assisted in many ways than one to propagate our messages and viewpoints. As a result of your individual and collective efforts, our message was able to not only resonate among respected members-elect of the House of Representatives, but also reverberate across the country, Nigeria, and beyond.
It is in this regard that we express our gratitude to journalists, particularly the House of Representatives Press Corps, online media practitioners, civil society organizations, public affairs analysts and the Nigerian people, who quite easily understood our message and helped disseminate same.
Throughout the duration of these campaigns, we have endeavoured to play by the rules, by promoting an issue-based discourse in search for the right leadership of the 9th House of Representatives.
Anchored on a just demand for equity, justice and fairness, we queried the rationale behind zoning the Speakership position – the nation’s number four seat – to the South West geopolitical zone which already has the number two, in the person of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbanjo.
When measured against the South West’s overall contribution to the presidential election victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC), against that of our candidate Hon. Mohammed Bago’s North Central, the injustice of seeking to reward a less performing zone becomes even more manifest.
For instance, while the total margin of votes with which the APC triumphed over the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the South West during the presidential poll stood at 259,780, the margin between both parties in Bago’s Niger State alone was 394,319 votes, dusting the entire six states with a gap of 134,539 votes.
Similar questions were asked regarding micro-zoning of the Speakership position to an individual, quite against the grain of seeking to domicile political positions in geopolitical zones.
While these posers lingered, the official position remained a deafening silence, thus provoking critical voices in the polity to join in seeking answers thereto.
Not even the violence which their stance did to the clear wordings embedded in Chapter II Section 14 (3) of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999, as amended, would deter them. They were, instead, ready to ride roughshod over the constitution, the nation’s grundnorm and the APC working document, which canvasses the same position.
“The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the Federal Character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies”, section 14(3) clearly stated.
But while the nation waited eagerly to get answers regarding how to legally confront this dangling noose, the “anointed” aspirant rather proceeded on a frolic of endorsement seeking and forum shopping, as if the stated constitutional provisions were mere pieces of frozen words. Yet, the position being sought is the speakership of the Nigerian Federation.
Thus before long, public interest lawyers and concerned Nigerians jumped into the fray, unearthing in the process a multiplicity of sordid allegations against the aspirant. These included the lingering issue of the conviction and disbarment, for 36 months, of a certain Femi Gbaja by the Supreme Court of Georgia, alleged use of the social security number of a deceased American, multiple dates of birth, allegation of perjury in the filing of an Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) form CF001, and several other fiduciary challenges.
Since many of these issues are subject of litigation, we elected not to comment on any of them. Nonetheless, because the resolve around the character profile of someone seeking to lead one arm of Nigeria’s legislative branch, coupled with the grave reputational crisis which it would engender, we earnestly expected to hear from the proverbial horse’s mouth.
But typically, especially since the current campaign began, mum has remained the word.
It would be appropriate to point out at this juncture that anyone aspiring for public office must not only be fit, but also be required to be proper, hence the coinage “fit and proper”.
Perhaps, to underscore the essence of the above phrase, citadels of learning all over the globe before handling out academic certificate to graduates profoundly proclaim: “Having been found worthy in character and learning…”
“Character”, an old English adage contends, “maketh a man”. For Nigeria and Nigerians to seek to reinvent the wheels because of one man’s aspiration would be tantamount to cutting off one’s nose in order to spite his face.
Instructively, we as a people have traveled this same route in the not-too-distant past.
At the beginning of the nation’s current democratic experience in 1999, its first Senate President, the late Evan Enwerem was shoved off his exalted stool because of disputation over whether his name was Evan or Evans.
In the House of Representatives at about the same time, debonair Speaker, Salisu Buhari was disgraced out of office because he had claimed an academic certificate which he did not possess from the University of Toronto.
Today, 20 years afterwards we appear to have turned full cycle. While Salisu Buhari was hounded because of Toronto, similar claims relating to Chicago State University by a leading personality was glossed over. While Enwerem fell because of the mere letter ‘s’ someone with multiple identity challenges is been programmed to lead a gathering of honest individuals.
Perhaps, a good way for the country to begin would be by apologizing to both men, Enwerem and Buhari. They represented federal and senatorial constituencies, states, geo-political zones and the Nigerian nation. Since government is a continuum and there are honorable members representing the areas whose sons were at the receiving end of such mindless injustice, they ought to take the lead in ensuring that not again will Nigeria and Nigerians be subjected to two different set of rules.
For now, the people watch as events unfold, trusting that in the final analysis, God Almighty who orders the affairs of men and humanity would guide and guard our honourable members-elect aright as they choose a Speaker all Nigerians will be proud of.
For us in the campaign organization, we insist that Speakership hopeful, Hon. Bago has no baggage.
Hon. Victor Afam Ogene
Spokesman, Hon. Bago Campaign Organization