The supremacy battle between presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, and former governor of Rivers State, Nyensom Wike, over minority leadership of the 10th House of Representatives climaxed yesterday.
Wike’s anointed aspirant emerged minority leader of the House, displacing Atiku’s choice.
This Newspaper gathered that Wike’s favourite emerged through a consensus during a meeting of the PDP minority caucus at a prestigious hotel in Abuja yesterday.
This Newspaper learnt that Atiku’s choice, Hon. Oluwole Oke, was compelled by the prevailing circumstances at the meeting to pull out of the race.
Wike had favoured Chinda, who represents Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency of Rivers State against Oke, representing Obokun/Oriade federal constituency of Osun State, who was projected by the former vice president.
The caucus unanimously endorsed Chinda, a development, which compelled Oke to step down.
Also yesterday, a member of the House of Representatives elected on the platform of the Labour Party, Hon. George Ibezimako Ozodinobi, emerged as the deputy minority leader of the House.
At the meeting of LP’s minority caucus held at the National Assembly complex, Ozodinobi, who represents Anaocha/Njikoka/Dunakofia Federal Constituency of Anambra State, also emerged through consensus.
His arch-rival for the position, who is also LP’s minority caucus leader, Hon. Afam Victor Ogene, was also forced to step down following the unanimous endorsement of Ozodinobi by his colleagues.
This Newspaper gathered that the aspiration of Ogene, who represents Ogbaru federal constituency, crashed in the wake of the overwhelming popularity of Ozodinobi, who hails from the same constituency with the LP presidential candidate in the February 25 election, Peter Obi.
Atiku and Wike had in the aftermath of the general elections returned to the trenches over the minority leadership seat of the House of Representatives.
The two PDP leaders, it was gathered, left no stone unturned in the plot to outwit each other in the countdown to the inauguration of the 10th Assembly.
Findings by this paper revealed that the duo mobilised members of the Green Chamber on the platform of the PDP and other opposition parties in a bid to gain advantage.
Wike had engaged in relentless hostilities with Atiku ahead of the February presidential poll, leading four of his colleagues under the aegis of G5-Governors to work against the presidential bid of Atiku in the poll.
This Newspaper recalls that Chinda, who was projected for the same job in the 9th Assembly, lost as his principal was outwitted by his colleagues led by former governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa.
Okowa supported Hon Ndudi Elumelu from Aniocha/Oshimili federal constituency of Delta State, who eventually won the slot.
Already, this Newspaper confirmed that Chinda and Ozodinobi’s names have been forwarded to the leadership of the House of Representatives.
Specifically, it was gathered that Chinda and Ozodinobi were presented to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abass by the leadership of the minority caucus on Thursday.
“Meetings of the two major minority caucuses – PDP and LP – were held at different venues in Abuja yesterday (Thursday) where the Reps’ Minority Leader and Deputy Minority Leader were elected through consensus.
“Members elected on the platform of PDP, which is the main opposition party met at Nicon, where Hon. Kingsley Chinda from Rivers State, emerged as the Reps’ minority leader. Hon. Chinda was favoured by former Governor Wike, who has been mobilising human and material resources to ensure his victory. You can recall that ex- Governor Wike also supported Chinda in the 9th Assembly. He lost in the 9th Assembly but he made it this time around.”
“Chinda’s challenger, Hon. Oluwole Oke, who was actively supported by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, was forced to step down when it became clear to him that his colleagues overwhelmingly preferred Hon. Chinda. The members do not want to hear the name of anyone associated with Atiku Abubakar.
“For the LP, which was allowed to produce one of its members for the position of the deputy minority leader, majority of LP’s 35 members favoured the emergence of Ozodinobi, as deputy minority leader of the House of Representatives. The leader of the LP’s caucus, Hon.Ogene, who also showed interest was effortlessly shoved aside as he could not garner reasonable support. Ogene was also forced to withdraw from the race. It was easier for the aspiration of Ozodinobi to sail through easily because he supported the aspiration of the Hon. Speaker, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abass.
“So, the two minority leaders emerged through consensus and their names have been forwarded to Mr Speaker (Abass), who has accepted them,” an opposition federal lawmaker who craved anonymity stated.
A member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benedict Etanabene, confirmed the report in a telephone interview with LEADERSHIP Friday last night.
Etanabene who represents Sapele/Okpe/Uvwie federal constituency of Delta State in the lower chamber of the National Assembly said LP’s deputy minority leader emerged through consensus.