26 Jun 2015

APC lawmakers vow to ensure House of Reps Speaker, Yakubu Dogara obeys party

Some members of the All Progressives Congress in the House of Representatives have vowed to ensure the position of the party on the choice of principal officers in the House prevails.

The lawmakers made this known at a press conference after the House descended into chaos Thursday.

Nasiru Zango Daura, a member representing Zango/Baure Federal constituency of Katsina State, spoke on behalf of the lawmakers.

Fracas erupted in the House following agitation by the lawmakers that the party’s nominees for key leadership positions be upheld.

The National Chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, had in a letter to the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, nominated Femi Gbajabiamila as House Leader, Alhassan Doguma as Deputy House Leader, Mohammed Monguno as Chief Whip and Parry Iriase as Deputy Whip.

However, when the House resumed sitting Thursday, the Speaker called on the Chairman of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Rules and Business, Orke-Jeff Immanuel, to move a motion to that effect, and that the House dissolve into executive session.

Mr. Dogara had hardly finished speaking when Balarabe Salame, a member from Sokoto State, raised a point of order.

This however set the pace for some of the lawmakers to move towards the mace apparently suspecting that there would be attempt to take it away.

Consequently the members struggled to seize the mace thereby forcing the Sergeant- at-Arms to smuggle it out of the chamber.

As members, who wanted the party’s views on the matter respected chorused “APC”, others loyal to Mr. Dogara shouted “Dogara”.

Also, the Peoples Democratic Party members of the House were responding with “APC shame”.

Explaining the reason for the rancorous session, Mr. Daura [Katsina State], who spoke on behalf of the lawmakers loyal to the APC leadership, said it was a reaction to Mr. Dogara’s disregard for the party and wishes of the majority of its members in the House.

He said majority of the APC lawmakers were in support of Mr. Gbajabiamila emerging the House Leader.
He said, “The action that occurred inside the chamber of the House of Representatives was in reaction to the illegal and unconstitutional action taken by Speaker Yakubu Dogara of the House of Representatives, an action in his usual tradition of total disregard for the wishes of the majority members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caucus, the Party itself and the spirit of the Party.

“We are aware of a letter sent by our Party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) dated 23rd June 2015 conveying the approval of the Party’s Principal Officers vis a vis the APC House Leader, the APC Chief Whip, the APC Deputy House Leader and the APC Deputy Chief Whip for the House of Representatives.

“This letter by the party is in compliance with the expressed wish and mandate of the majority members of the All Progressives Congress APC Caucus in the House of Representatives.

“This action of the party and the APC House Caucus is in compliance with the Nigerian Constitution, the House Rules and Parliamentary tradition, practices and precedents in Nigeria and all over the World,” said Mr.Daura, flanked by scores of other APC lawmakers.

Continuing, he said, “But to our surprise and in breach of our privilege and rights as contained in the Constitution and extant House Rules, Mr. Speaker refused to read the letter from our party.

“The speaker and deputy speaker are not party principal officers but are House of Representatives presiding officers and by precedent and practice are expected to provide a level playing ground for all members, while the party’s principal officers are supposed to be the main advocates for their individual party positions.

“The speaker and the deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives are elected by all members of the House of Representatives irrespective of party affiliation and it is also possible under our extant rules for a speaker and his deputy to be elected from a minority/opposition party in the National Assembly.

“Therefore, Speaker Yakubu Dogara of the House of Representatives cannot under extant Laws and House rules appoint, choose, select, dictate or even provide guidance on how party principal officers emerge or are elected or selected. That responsibility and authority lies with each party and party’s caucus members in the House.

“If I may ask, is Speaker Yakubu Dogara empowered to do that for the PDP House Caucus?”

Credit: Adebayo Hassan/Premium Times

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