By Eric Elezuo
Forgiveness is hardly an option for officers in the war front. They always remember how the enemy buffeted them, and as a result, whenever the opportunity comes knocking, they don’t fail to use it to the fullest. Ask the Americans how they responded after the Japanese mesmerized their soldiers at Pearl Harbour. Of course, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are there to tell the story. The concept of revenge is rooted in the fact that when you bit me on the head without a care for my hairs, I will not be mindful of your feces when I bit you on the buttocks. This is the situation as Femi Gbajabiamila remembers the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
On June 11, 2019, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, representing Surulere Federal constituency, Lagos State, became the Speaker of the House of Representatives, winning with a landslide vote count. That notwithstanding, the honorable member, who tried unsuccessfully to be Speaker in 2015, sweated through his pants and brows to finally grab the position.
As the June 11 date slowly approached, members took up strategic support position for the two members contesting the position; Gbajabiamila and Mohammed Bago from Niger State.
Much as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had rubber stamped Gbajabiamila as its preferred candidate, there was still the PDP angle, which has the second largest number of voters. Gbajabiamila was sure that a silent coup from the opposition PDP could spell doom for him, and re-enact the scene of 2015 when against all odds, Hon Yakubu Dogara from Bauchi State emerged winner, winning with as few as four votes. However, the hope of wooing the PDP was thwarted as the party openly took a stand against Gbajabiamila, and supported his opponent, Bago. Obviously, Gbajabiamila must have had sleepless nights to the extent of promising as much as 60 committee leadership positions for the PDP, cutting across chairmanship and deputy. But the PDP remained adamant, and asked its members to ignore him. He was only left with one on one campaigning to win the members over.
All said and done, Gbajabiamila won with a landslide, and waited for his turn for a payback. That opportunity came sooner than expected. The PDP national office had sent a list of would-be appointees, but the Speaker disregarded the list, and announced another from the House. While the PDP had preferred Kingsley Chinda from Rivers State as Minority leader, Gbajabiamila choose Ndudi Elumelu. While the Speaker may have hidden under the House rules for his action, stakeholders believe that like the Lanisters (apologies to Game of Thrones), the Speaker was sure to pay his debts.
The disregard of PDP’s list is obviously the first payback cheque from the Speaker to the party he felt did not support his ambition. Who knows, more payback cheques may follow in the days ahead.
Well, is that the way to go? Time will tell!