APC Crisis: Our Case Against Dogara & Co – Gbajabiamila’s Group

Speaker Yakubu Dogara and his associates in the House of Representatives plan to decimate the All Progressives Congress, APC before returning to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), members of the House aligned to Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila have told President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Gbajabiamila group in their closed door-session with the President Wednesday night also dismissed assertions by allies of Speaker Dogara that the party’s proposal for Gbajabiamila to become House Leader was a violation of the federal character principle, saying the principle was inapplicable in the distribution of offices in the House.

The meeting between 30 members of the group and the President was reportedly convened to lessen tension ahead of today’s National Executive Committee, NEC meeting of the party. That plan was, however, last night, about to come unstuck upon plans by some former governors in the party from the North to challenge the seemingly pre-eminent position of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in party affairs. The group, it was gathered yesterday, plan to question the presence of their fellow former governor, Tinubu at the NEC meeting and to storm the meeting if he, Tinubu is allowed to attend.
Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila Addessed journalists after Meeting with Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja…Wednesday night

Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila Addessed journalists after Meeting with Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja…Wednesday night

Supporters of Speaker Dogara in the group were also becoming restive last night upon claims of a proposal from the President that supporters of Gbajabiamila and Senator Ahmad Lawan who also lost out in the Senate leadership contest should nominate three candidates from each of the six geo-political zones as members of NEC.

What Gbajabiamila group told Buhari

In their presentation to the President at the Wednesday night meeting, the Gbajabiamila group had in their 11-point presentation affirmed the loyalty of the group’s 174 members to the party and questioned the loyalty of the 39 they claimed are associated with Dogara.

Noting what they described as the party’s lame reactions to the alleged rebellions of Dogara and the other 38 members, they charged the President to frontally intervene as they alleged that the purpose of the Dogara group was to frustrate the President and set the stage for their members to defect to the PDP.

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They said:

“It is noteworthy that Mr. President and the Governors have strongly put their weight behind the party and had severally admonished the House to abide by the party’s position. The 39 APC members in the House continue to collude with the PDP to flagrantly disobey Mr. President, the governors and the party with a view to bringing the party and government to ridicule before Nigerians,.

“The conduct of the 39 APC members colluding with the PDP is tantamount to affront, ultimately targeted at polarising our party so as to give room for many of them to decamp to the PDP.

“It is therefore imperative for Mr. President to take a stand and save the integrity of the party by cautioning the 39 members, which include the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, to respect, honour and obey our party Leaders and their directives.”

Decrying the insistence of the Dogara group in rejecting the party’s nominations for principal officers on the basis of federal character, the Gbajabiamila group asserted that the federal character principle was inapplicable in the National Assembly, averring further that the principle of federal character is not justiciable and is of no legal consequence.

That assertion was apparently in response to the judicial action filed by the North-Central caucus of the House of Representatives against the party’s prescription which would deny the North-Central and South-East geo-political zones of representation in the leadership.

In articulating their positions against federal character, the group noted how the different political parties had in the past thrown up principal officers from the same zone.

“It should be noted that the Federal Character principle as embedded in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is not justiciable and of no legal consequence. Its provision in Section 14 of the Constitution is only applicable to appointments in federal ministries and agencies. The House of Representatives is not an agency of the Federal Government and the principal officers positions are elective and not by appointment. If the federal character principle is applicable to the National Assembly, then both the Senate President and the Speaker cannot come from the North, one of them should be advised to step down.”

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They thus called on the President to charge the speaker to return to the party, saying:

“We strongly appeal to you to direct the Speaker to return to our fold and be truly elected Speaker on APC platform. He should be directed to announce the other four party principal officers positions as directed by the party as it has always been the convention.”

Supporters of Dogara were meanwhile, livid over the presentation, saying it was evident that the Gbajabiamila group did not want reconciliation.
MEETING—President Muhammadu Buhari (R) welcoming some members of the House of Representatives, Rep. Magaji Aliyu, Rep. Aminu Malle and Rep. Nasiru Garo, during President Buhari’s meeting with some House of Reps members at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday night. Photo: NAN.

MEETING—President Muhammadu Buhari (R) welcoming some members of the House of Representatives, Rep. Magaji Aliyu, Rep. Aminu Malle and Rep. Nasiru Garo, during President Buhari’s meeting with some House of Reps members at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday night. Photo: NAN.

They picked holes in claims that the ruling party had not applied federal character in the distribution of principal officers in the House of Representatives.

Ex-govs seek restructuring of party

Meanwhile, former governors in the party are pushing for a restructuring of the party along the line of legacy parties.

Noting that the crisis in the party was being stoked by a few from the South-West, the former governors, it was gathered, plan to question Tinubu’s role as national leader on claims that there is no provision for such in the constitution.

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The group it was learnt, said that any attempt to allow Tinubu into the meeting hall would force them also to insist on attending the meeting.

According to a source, the governors have decided to gather at the party’s national secretariat and attempt to join the meeting if Tinubu is allowed into the meeting venue.

The Northern elements and chieftains of the party were said to have taken offence, averring that the South West was stoking the embers of discord in the party.

The chieftains warned that the crisis in the party arising from the election of principal officers of the National Assembly, “was gradually becoming a distraction to the party and could stall its manifesto of change.”

The Northern political leaders also renounced Akande’s statement on Monday which castigated the election of Saraki and Dogara as being sponsored by oil barons.

Saraki, Dogara’s positions not negotiable — Sen Umaru

Meanwhile, Senator David Umaru (APC, Niger East) has declared that the positions of Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate President Dogara as Speaker of the House of Representatives are “not negotiable.”

Senator Umaru debunked insinuations that the Like Minds, the group pf senators loyal to the Senate President traded away the position of Deputy Senate President to the PDP.

“We were lucky that the PDP members in the chamber that day were reasonable during the election. The existing laws are very clear: Senators and members of the House of Representative members are the ones that should elect their leaders.

“There is a very good reason for this and that is because the lawmakers are the ones to work with their leaders. The issue of the election of Dr. Saraki as Senate President and Yakubu Dogora as Speaker is not negotiable. It cannot be negotiated outside the National Assembly.”

– vanguardngr

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