Oshiomhole has become the pictorial representation of the word ‘nocturnal’ since the governing party commenced moves to impeach Senate President Bukola Saraki without success in 2018.
The Edo born politician actually considers sleep a luxury.
With the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly only a few weeks away, Oshiomhole has promised himself that the APC won’t repeat the mistake that threw up Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara as leaders of parliament in 2015, on his watch.
It’s this resolve that keeps Oshiomhole awake at night these days.
The riot act from Oshiomhole
Shortly after the general elections of 2019, with the APC ensuring something close to a clean sweep of parliamentary seats, Oshiomhole told a gathering of APC lawmakers-elect in Abuja that: “We have the number to produce the Speaker and we will produce the Speaker. We have the number to produce the Deputy Speaker and we will use the number to produce the Deputy Speaker. We have the number and we must use the number to elect a House Leader.
"We have the number and we will use the number to produce a Chief Whip and a Deputy Whip who must be members of the APC. I think the only position that we are not interested in is the Minority Leader. Let it remain minor in the hands of the minors in the opposition.
“If the Nigerian people wanted them to be chairmen of committees, they would have voted for them. So all the chairmen of committees, except one that is statutorily reserved for the opposition, which is Public Accounts, they can have that.
"So, we would not do the kind of thing that happened the last time in which some APC members, as members of the leading party, became distant spectators in the management of committees; when PDP had majority of the strategic committees in the House. That will not happen in the next Assembly.”
The dinner with Buhari
On the night of Tuesday, April 16, 2019, Oshiomhole shepherded National Working Committee (NWC) members of the APC, chieftains of the governing party and some lawmakers-elect to the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa for a dinner with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Oshiomhole was sweating, as he always does, even when enclosed in air-conditioned apartments and cars.
After the dinner, Oshiomhole and Buhari went into closed-door sessions with House of Representative members-elect.
Oshiomhole has successfully turned Buhari--unwilling to participate in how parliament elected its leaders in 2015 and set in his own ways--into a willing accomplice in 2019.
Hours later, APC spokesperson, Lanre Issa-Onilu, was asked to brief the press on what had transpired behind those marbled Aso Rock doors.
The deed had been done.
“The APC has adopted Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as its candidate for the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 9th Assembly,” Issa-Onilu announced, without breaking a sweat. After all, he was only reeling out an open secret.
“This position was reached after an intensive deliberation with the APC’s House of Representatives members-elect at a dinner with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Banquet Hall of Aso Villa.
“The Deputy Speaker position has been zoned to the North-Central”, Issa-Onilu added for emphasis.
Pulse has been told that all 211 House of Representative members-elect of the APC have been told to vote for Gbajabiamila when the House conducts its inauguration election sometime in June.
Eight other House of Reps members-elect are vying for the Speakership position as well, but the APC has told them all to back off for the anointed Gbajabiamila.
Behind the scenes, Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin has buried his head in strategy documents drawn to get out the votes for Gbajabiamila.
The APC has also adopted Ahmad Lawan as its choice candidate for the office of Senate President, even though the likes of Senators Ali Ndume, Danjuma Goje and Kabiru Gaya have refused to withdraw from the race, in clear defiance of their party’s directive.
Who is Gbajabiamila?
Gbajabiamila, 56, represents Surulere 1 Federal Constituency, Lagos, in the Green Chamber.
A Lawyer by training, Gbajabiamila is currently the Majority Leader of the lower House.
Gbajabiamila graduated from the Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos in 1973 and the King Williams College, Isle of Man, United Kingdom in 1980.
He was the APC’s candidate for the position of Speaker in the 8th National Assembly, but was schemed out by loyalists of current Speaker Hon Yakubu Dogara and PDP lawmakers.