So things have fallen apart now that you have been offered the position as house leader, you are no longer in good terms perhaps at the moment with Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila?
No, I very much disagree with that because Femi has been a very good friend of mine after being in relationship of that political arrangement. Virtually, I speak with Femi every 24 hours, even this morning I have spoken with him as a friend. We have also exchanged ideas and views based on the nature this crisis. My view has always been consistently about the position of the party. Remember, I was with Gbajabiamila and was fighting Dogara because he defied the position of the party to become the speaker of the House of Representatives. At a point, precisely on July 3, the party held a NEC meeting, which is the highest decision making body of the party, which Mr President attended.
Is the offer made to you by Dogara naming you as house leader currently is important to you than your friendship with Gbajabiamila?
What is more important to me is that the party has conceded to Dogara and accepted him as a legitimate son of the party. On that day, on the 3rd Day of July, when Dogara was accepted and recognised by the party, where Mr. President also stood in his speech and recognised Dogara as the Speaker of the House of Representative, for me I should have no problem with Hon. Dogara, because that was the platform for my disagreement with him, my own political What is more important to me is that the party has conceded to Dogara and accepted him as a legitimate son of the party. On that day, on the 3rd Day of July, when Dogara was accepted and recognised by the party, where Mr. President also stood in his speech and recognised Dogara as the Speaker of the House of Representative, for me I should have no problem with Hon. Dogara, because that was the platform for my disagreement with him, my own political.
People have argued that Dogara’s equity team is a contravention of the house rules?
Equity, fairness and justice, and it has not contradicted the provision of our rules neither does it contradict the provision of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
If the southwest has only one representative as presiding officer, won’t that amount to marginalisation?
It will only amount to marginalisation if one zone takes more than one position like what is being contemplated by the letter purportedly signed by the chairman of the political party.
Now talking about federal character, how do we juxtapose the emergence of the senate president and speaker of the House of Representatives who are both from the north?
That maybe a different perspective; what you must understand is the fact that in politics is interests, what is only permanent to us is our interest, what is importance to us is the permanence of our own Interests, but associations, partnerships, friendships and whatever under political arrangement is not a permanent thing. What is important to us is our interest. What is important is the permanence of our interest. I want to assure you that this arrangement has accommodated our interest, and we’ll go ahead with this arrangement in the House of Representatives and that is the most important thing for now
Do you believe in party supremacy as against the equity team of the Speaker Dogara?
You see, when you’re talking of party supremacy, as far as I’m concerned, it is a subjective thing. It is very subjective. What you may think is the supremacy of the party may not be the same to me and I want to believe no matter how supreme the party is, the provision of our rules, the provision in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should be seen to be more supreme.
If you weren’t offered the position of House Leader, would you be singing a different tune?
I don’t have to say something different, that is utopian and you are making a preposition and I don’t want to work with a proposition. We are facing realities on ground and everybody must see it as such. I want to urge my members in the Loyalist Group to see this thing in a realistic point of view, and we have to come and face our legislative responsibilities and move ahead. What we are doing in the House of Representatives is not about Ado Doguwa or Femi Gbajabiamila alone. If Gbajabiamila accepts us as a group, he should now believe in me as a member of that group. If for instance you want to take something by your right hand side and the person giving decides to give it you with the left hand side, you take it!
So you have decided to take yours hon. Doguwa?
People are wondering that this crisis in the house of representatives have gone on for nearly two months now, it is about your interests or about other people, surely you are representing the people?
Absolutely whatever we are doing in the House of Representatives is fundamentally in the interest of our electorates because you must have to elect your leaders before you move to the next stage to face your legislative responsibility. What we are doing may look funny, what we are doing may sound selfish but it is what has also formed the fundamental basis of our operations as members in the House of Representatives. You cannot continue to face your legislative responsibilities until you have your principal officers on ground. Those principal officers must be elected on the basis of the rule of law, they must be justified and they must reflect fairness to be in tandem with justice, so that every part of the country is represented.
What should Nigerians expect from you meeting with the President later today?
The president is the leader of the party; he is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, each and every one of us respects Mr President, especially those of us that are from his own geo-political zone. We must have respect for the President, and I want to tell you that we shall be there in his meeting, and I will certainly tell you that Mr President will take his advisory position just like he has already confessed to the world that he will not interfere with the businesses of the legislature. I believe whatever discussion we are going to make with Mr President is going to be in line with his initial disposition. He said He will not interfere and that is an excellent position of the executive arm of government.
-Hon Alhassan Doguwa, is member of the House of Representatives from Kano State. He is also a member of the Hon Femi Gabjabiamila faction of the House. He accepted to become House Leader against the expectation of his group. In this interview with journalists in Abuja he explains why he accepted the offer. Dyepkazah Shibayan monitored the interview. Excerpts: