‘PDP lawmakers will not sabotage Buhari’s agenda’
FOR the immediate past Leader of the House of Representatives, Mrs Mulikat Adeola-Akande, there was nothing wrong with the decision by the Speaker of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara to allocate virtually half the numbers of chairmanship of committees positions to members of the opposition peoples democratic party (PDP) in the lower legislative chamber.
In an interview with The Guardian, Adeola -Akande expressed happiness PDP members in the House are indispensable as far as legislative activities which have a direct bearing on the well-being of the citizenry are concerned.
Faulting the notion that the PDP members who were allotted committee positions could undermine the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, she maintained that the ruling All progressives Congress (APC) which played the spoiler role for her in the Seventh Assembly lacks the moral latitude to complain about the new found role of the PDP members in the House.
Adeola -Akande who lost the Speakership seat to Aminu Waziri Tambuwal noted: “I am
happy about it because they say once beaten, twice shy. I have been beaten once. I am sure you know that when I did not make the speakership it was my own brothers from the South West, the APC, that caused it, if they had supported me from the zone, Tambuwal wouldn’t have emerged. But like I said, I still look at the angle of destiny. That was meant to happen.
Nobody would have expected that the same people would ever think that the table will turn around this way. Dogara was one of us before in the PDP and he is quite an amiable person. That is why I said it depends on the person who is holding the position. I think that has helped the present Speaker more, apart from playing politics anyway. We the PDP wanted to play politics too.
“This time around what they did in 2011 we were ready to do the same and to the glory of God we achieved our aim and the PDP is there strong. I just pray that they will be a very strong opposition, constructively engaging the government of the day. Not the kind of opposition that the APC were playing when we were there. Because their own kind of opposition, whether Jonathan did something good or not, they were not ready to listen or to see it.
“They just wanted to pull the government down. But we are not going to do that. And that will show you that the kind of people who are in PDP we, to a very large extent believes in the existence of this country, in the togetherness and unity of Nigeria. Because when you think of all these you don’t behave they way the APC people were behaving at that time. All they wanted was for the government to fall. The government has fallen and the baton is with them, so let’s see how it goes.”
On the controversy surrounding the composition of the 96 House committees whereby the APC got 49 as against PDP’s 46 chairmanship seats, Adeola-Akande while reliving her experience argued that there was nothing unusual about the development since it was not a novel idea.
“It’s not strange because even during Tambuwal’s time he gave grade A committee to a lot of people who supported him even though they were in the PDP. But you saw that when they decamped and went to the other party they went to APC. So, I don’t think there is anything wrong. You see, I think there should be a really different way of doing things in the House. I’ve been through the House for 8 years, and first and foremost I want to fault the manner in which the leadership emerges.
“The campaign for speakership should be seen as something internal. It’s not something you’ll have to expend money on. Because the speaker is first among equals. You don’t have to go and start campaigning as if you are campaigning to be President of the country or even a senator. As you know, a lot of money goes into this campaign, and even members expect that the person that is campaigning should do something. I think that is totally wrong.
“ I want it to be something that by the time the Speaker emerges he feels very happy that people were with me. And I am sure that when they begin to do that, there won’t be that animosity between the various candidates as we had this last time. I didn’t show any animosity towards Tambuwal because I believe in destiny and I have the fear of God.
“If God wants something for you nobody can stop it. So, I think campaigning as if you are running for an office outside is quite wrong. All the expenses are not justifiable. They should be discouraged by any standard. When this is done, the person who finally emerges will not see himself as being the Speaker of a certain class of people or a group of people. So, I feel that should be discouraged.”
On the notion that having committees in the hands of PDP will sabotage the change agenda of President Buhari’s government, she said: “No! I don’t think so. It’s when we are campaigning or contesting to come to the House, that’s when we can see ourselves as being on different platforms. The moment we get to the House we are doing what the Nigerian people want or what will positively impact on Nigerians. I don’t think PDP members holding committees will have anything to do with the president’s policies or agenda. They are representing Nigerians.
“That’s why I said I want to see them playing the role of an opposition that will constructively criticize whatever the government does. If the government does well, they should be able to give kudos to the government for doing that. Not that whether he does good or he does bad you are busy criticizing him. I don’t think that is good enough. And looking at the past assemblies, you can see that people from different parties held committees that were grade A and all that. It’s only Public Accounts that maybe the opposition holds and what they try to do is checks and balances.
“If you allow the party in government to hold most of the committees especially that of Public Accounts then they can do a lot of things with impunity. So, I don’t see it as anything. I was in Judiciary in my first tenure as Deputy Chairman. And all I was concerned about was your appropriation and how you spent the money given to you, and look into their books and all that. And then if they do anything u towards that is brought to the attention, you can call on them and talk to them.
“You cannot fault the Speaker, Dogara for giving PDP members. He got his support mainly from the PDP and I think Tambuwal broke that jinx because he gave the APC members a lot of committee too at that time. So, I don’t see why anybody should be shouting that Speaker Dogara has done something that has never been done before. They are all members of the House and the way APC members came in that’s how the PDP once too came in.”
On the possibility of the PDP re-launching in the near future, she said: “Yes, because PDP has always been one. We are not made up of two parties. We are not made up of three or four parties. We are one and we see ourselves as one. The APC is four parties together and I am sure you’ve been seeing the cracks when they were appointing ministers. Everybody is trying to get its own group of people to be the ones to be appointed and all that. That is what happens when four people come together and say let’s buy a house. If there is a problem we break the House into four. So, that’s the problem.