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Crisis Threatens NASS Resumption

Few days to the resumption of federal lawmakers, there are strong indications that the warring group in both chambers of the National Assembly are not prepared to sheath their swords as group loyal to Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila in the House of Representatives, APC Loyalists’ Group, and rejected Speaker Yakubu Dogara’s latest zoning proposals on principal officers and leaders of the Like Minds take the Unity Forum to task in the Senate.

The Gbajabiamila group, in a letter wrote to the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, asked the Chairman to ignore the Speaker’s proposal of zoning offices according to geo-political representation, after, they allege, he had proposed using Federal Character principle as enshrined in the Constitution.. The letter, dated July 18, was signed by the spokesman of the group, Mr. Nasir Zangon-Daura. The group urged the APC to assert its authority in party affairs instead of allowing Dogara get away with what it considered to be disloyalty to the party.

According to the group, having emerged as the speaker against the APC’s initial projection that the South-West should produce the speaker, the members expected Dogara to exhibit the “spirit of give and take” by allowing the APC to decide how the remaining principal offices should be shared. The letter reads in part: “Mr. Chairman, history beckons and posterity will always judge our conduct and contributions to the development of our democracy.

A political party is an institution and its supremacy is universal and not a Nigerian coinage. “It is on record that the Speaker defied the party going into the elections and he is about to repeat such defiance. The party must assert its authority over all its members, the Speaker inclusive, as none of us came to the House as independent candidates and we subscribed expressly and impliedly to the party’s supremacy in political activities. “Article 9.2 of the APC constitution which we all subscribed to states, ‘members of the party shall be obligated to affirm the party’s aims and objectives.’

The party’s letter to the Speaker on party positions forms part of the aims and objectives of the party. Furthermore, the President (Muhammadu Buhari) himself has spoken severally that the party is supreme and its decision must be obeyed.” It would be recalled that the party chairman, Odigie-Oyegun, in a June 23 letter to Dogara, had communicated the APC’s recommendation to zone the office of Majority Leader to the South-West; Deputy Leader to the North-West; Chief Whip to the North-East and Deputy Whip to the South-South. However the Speaker refused to tow party lines, saying a court process initiated by some lawmakers opposing the APC’s decision restrained him.

Recently, the Speaker reportedly said the July 25 resumption date may be shifted to allow for tempers to cool down even though he had remained adamant about his position that the party finds antagonistic. Interestingly a member of the Like Minds Senators (LMS), Senator Hamma Misau, yesterday warned external forces, especially within the ruling (APC) to leave members of the 8th National Assembly to settle down to work. Misau, who alleged that the ongoing crisis in the National Assembly is being masterminded from outside, particularly by some politicians, however, advised the sponsors of the crisis to desist with immediate effect.

In an emailed statement, Misau also advised those, who want to use the National Assembly as a ground for their war of political relevance and control, to allow the legislators to work and perform their constitutional duty, which they owe the electorate. He added that senators and House of Representatives’ members were not elected for the purpose of fighting for leadership offices, but to go and pass legislations, motions, engage in debates and oversight functions, which will lead to improved standard of living for the people. He chided those, who are using some senators and representatives to create division and rancour in the National Assembly.

His words “They should allow us to move on, after the already concluded election of the leaders so that we can face our job. In any election there must be winners and losers, and I don’t know when it becomes compulsory for the losers to be given other positions before we can perform our constitutional duties. “When I heard my colleague, (Senator) Kabiru Marafa, threatening fire and brimstone, saying that they will bring the roof of the National Assembly down, if their men, who lost in the elections to select the leadership were not accommodated, I knew he was not the one speaking.

He was only a mouth-piece for their sponsors. Why should the National Assembly be grounded because some people failed in election into leadership positions? When then Governor Rabiu Kwakwanso and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar lost in the presidential primaries to then General Muhammadu Buhari, did they insist they must get the Vice Presidential slot or other positions? Let us stop all these threats and move on”.

Misau also observed that those, who are insisting that Hon. Gbajabiamila should be majority leader in the House, should be ready to go for election. “Because the explanation by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Dogara, on the need for federal character and equal representation of all the geo-political zones in line with the Constitution and House rules were logical and realistic,” he said.

He, however, warned those, who would rather follow the dictates of their godfathers, instead of seeking to fulfill their election mandate, that they were only heating up the polity for no just cause and that history will not forgive them. “It is not the first time people will lose election and it will not be the last time and the country remains bigger than any individual.

I am surprised that senators and Representatives are following, without any query, the dictates of some godfathers who have no constitutional mandate and in the process they are jeopardising their own responsibilities to the people.

Eventually, you are the one who will be judged base on your performance by the people,” he said. Misau said that the Like Minds groups were privy to some sinister plots being hatched by those sponsoring the crisis in the National Assembly and that “we will expose them in due course so that Nigerians can know the type of people we are dealing with, despite their huge investment in propaganda war,” he added.

Francis Moses reports on the power tussles rocking the federal lawmakers from All Progressive Congress over appointments of principal officers.

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