The lawmaker representing Ogo Oluwa/Surulere federal constituency of Oyo State, Hon. Olusegun Odebunmi, is yet to officially de Akee his intention to run for the speakership of the House of Representatives.
Being a ranking lawmaker, Bunvic as Odebunmi is fondly called, would be serving his third term in the 9th Assembly.
Though, Bunvic was said to have informally declared his bid to be Speaker of the House, making him the first APC member to become Gbajabiamila’s opponent in the South-West.
According to SUNDAY PUNCH, no fewer than 14 other members of the House of Representatives are currently in a hot race to replace Mr. Yakubu Dogara as the Speaker of the House when the 9th National Assembly is inaugurated in June, 2019,
While some of them have openly declared their intention to occupy the number one seat in the lower chamber of the National Assembly, others are said to have been lobbying their colleagues underground.
Some of the aspirants, who spoke during the week, said they were delaying the declaration of their ambitions pending the time the ruling All Progressives Congress, which has retained the majority in the House, zoned the leadership positions.
The aspirants include the Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila; the immediate past Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Reps) Abdulrahman Sumaila (APC, Kano); and the Deputy Majority Leader, Ahmed Wase (APC, Plateau).
Another contender is the leader of the North-East caucus in the House, Mohammed Monguno (APC, Borno), a ranking member who has just been re-elected for the fifth term just as Gbajabiamila. In 2015, the APC had presented the duo of Gbajabiamila and Monguno as Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively.
The Chairman, Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas (APC, Adamawa), who has just been re-elected for his second term, has already indicated interest in vying for the speakership position if the party zones the seat to the North-East.
There is also the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Khajidat Bukar-Ibrahim (APC, Yobe), who had earlier served three terms in the House before she was appointed a minister and has been reelected for a fourth term, while her husband, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, a former governor of Yobe State, is an outgoing three-term Senate member.
Also on the list of contenders is Yakub Buba (APC, Adamawa) who is said to be the only Christian member from North-East. In 2015, Buba had backed Gbajabiamila and has since been in the camp of the Majority Leader.
Others are the Chief Whip, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa (APC, Kano); Chairman, Committee on NIMASA, Umar Bago (APC, Niger); Chairman, Committee on Finance, Babangida Ibrahim-Mahuta (APC, Katsina); Chairman, Committee on Aviation, Nkiruka Onyejeocha (APC, Abia); Chairman, Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, Mr Suleiman Aminu (APC, Kano); Abubakar Lado (APC, Niger); and Muhammed Kazaure (APC, Jigawa).
Already, there are strong indications that the APC might retain the 2015 zoning formula intended to produce the Senate president and speaker of the House. The ruling party had zoned the former to the North-East and the latter to the South-West.
The party had gone further to present Senator Ahmad Lawan, who is now the Senate Majority Leader, for the Senate presidency; and the current House Majority Leader, Gbajabiamila, for speakership.