The long-awaited 2015 general elections have come and gone with the All Progressives Congress, APC sweeping the polls. The party swept all the northern states except in Gombe state where the governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo was returned elected, though elections in Taraba state still remain inconclusive.
Nigerians and indeed the rest of the world are now waiting for May 29 when the new government of General Muhammadu Buhari will be inaugurated. Already, the current administration has started planning for a smooth transition that will usher in a new government.
Shortly after the May 29 inauguration, all eyes will turn to the National Assembly for the inauguration of the 8th Assembly on June 6, 2015. The inauguration of the National Assembly has been an interesting, exciting and perhaps dramatic event to watch.
Ahead of the June 6 inauguration, there has been permutation, speculation and even confirmation from some quarters on who the next Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives will be now that APC is in clear majority in both chambers.
The emergence of the Speaker of the 8th House of Representatives could be dramatic unlike in the Senate where maturity and, to a large extent, decorum is expected to take precedence.
So far, six House of Representatives members are currently in the race for the speakership position. They are: Honourables Jibrin Abdulmumuni (APC, Kano); Yakubu Dogara (APC, Bauchi); Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos); Leo Ogor (PDP, Delta); Tahir Monguno (APC, Borno) and Pally Iriase (APC, Edo).
Apart from Abdulmumuni and Iriase who are doing their first and second term respectively in the Green Chamber, other candidates are three-time returnees. Gbajabiamila appears to be the oldest lawmakersin the race going for his fourth term.
Currently, Dogara is the Chairman, House Committee on House Services; Ogor is the Deputy Majority Leader; Gbajabiamila occupies the position of the House Minority Leader while Monguno is the Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture.
Political pundits have argued that the position of the Speaker will likely go to either Jubrin, Gbajabiamila or Dogara because of their antecedents and track records in the House. They argued that the odds favour the trio considering that they have been loyal party members with requisite experience to steer the House leadership in the right direction.
Jibrin Abdulmumuni
He is a young vibrant lawmaker who currently heads the House Committee on Finance. It was even said that for the Speaker to have given him such a very sensitive committee being a first timer shows the level of trust and confidence in his ability to deliver.
No doubt, his proposed philosophy on how he wants the House to be run if elected has endeared him to many. Though, he is the only candidate who has come out openly to solicit for support for the Speakership position, others are still lobbying and consulting behind the scene. He has promised that if elected Speaker, the House under him will cut the cost of governance, including the allowances of members. The lawmaker explained that the House will cue into the agenda of the president-elect to cut the cost of governance by speedily supporting any proposal to slash spending on governance across board.
Femi Gbajabiamila
A four-time returnee lawmaker, Gbajabiamila was the Deputy House Minority Leader till the end of the 2007-2011 term and emerged as Minority Leader in 2011. His background as a lawyer has also put him in good stead.
Originally, Gbajabiamila was tipped to step into the position of the majority leader with APC now assuming the majority party in the House. It is understood rumoured that some big shots in APC has gone beyond majority leader positions for him to readying him to succeed Tambuwal since the North West has produced the President and the North Central or North East likely to produce the next Senate President.
Moreover, his erudite approach to debates in the House gave the opposition loud presence in the 7th Assembly. Perhaps, this will surely give him an edge over others in days and weeks to come.
Yakubu Dogara
He is reputed to be instrumental in the successful conclusion of many House committees major assignments referred to them since 2007. Most of his colleagues see him as a reliable fellow and a person who can deliver, especially in difficult times.
Leo Ogor
Some have argued that it would be practically impossible for Leo Ogor to emerge as the next Speaker of the House. Ogor, a high ranking PDP member in the House, is said to have his eye on the position of the Speaker, but for the fact that his party is in the minority, he may as well kiss the position goodbye. He is one of the best materials eminently qualified to occupy the position, but the odds are certainly not in his favour.
Tahir Monguno
He is known to be a grassroots politician and great mobiliser of human and material resources. He was said to have contributed to the transformation of the agricultural sector under Dr. Akinwumi Adesina. Perhaps, this has necessitated some lawmakers from the North East to secretly campaign for him to become the next Speaker being the most experienced from the zone.
Pally Iriase
Some believe that what may count for him will be his good relationship with the APC national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun. The calculation in some quarters is that he may climb to the speakership position through the influence of Oyegun who happens to come from the same Edo state with him.
While the six contestants have all initiated contacts with many members and other stakeholders to actualise their ambition, it is not clear whether the House will stick to its tradition of zoning the position to a particular zone or throw it open to the best candidate.
In 2011, when the PDP zoned the position to the South West in favour of Hon. Mulikat Akonde-Adeola (PDP, Oyo), the 360 members jettisoned that zoning arrangement and went for Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, from the North West zone.
Some have argued that if it is on zoning, Dogara and Tahir, both from the North East zone stand a better chance of clinching the position. While others say if it is on merit, then Gbajabiamila and Jibrin will definitely have an edge over others because of their proven and tasted legislative acumen.

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