Why I was cautious with APC leadership directive on sharing of principal offices, by Yakubu Dogara

Dogara

Dogara

Seeks media support to educate Nigerians on legislators’ salaries

THE Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara has explained why he dilly-dallied in considering the directive of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over the sharing of principal officers’ positions in the lower legislative chamber.

Speaking at the weekend when he received former members of the House who paid him a courtesy visit, Dogara said he had to thread cautiously because the party’s position ran contrary to the federal character provisions enshrined in the constitution.

Also at an interactive session with reporters covering the House of Representatives, Dogara sought the support of media practitioners to help erase the erroneous notion that members of the National Assembly earn over-bloated salaries.

The Speaker told the former House members that he was forced to throw the matter which led to a rancorous session on the floor of the House last Thursday, open to members in a bid to toe the path of orderliness and fairness.

The APC had nominated Femi Gbajabiamila as House Leader, Ado Doguwa, Deputy House Leader; Pally Iriase, Chief Whip and Mohammed Mungono, Deputy Chief Whip.

However, members of the South East and North Central caucuses of the House kicked against the proposal on the basis that they have been marginalised since none of the positions was allocated to them despite their immense contributions towards the party’s victory at the poll.

They also wondered why the APC chose to cede the House Leader’s seat to Gbajabiamila who is from the same South West geo-political zone as the Deputy Speaker, Suleiman Lasun.

Explaining his stance, Dogara said: “It does not mean that those six positions must go to the six zones. Note must be taken that it is so important and dear to our country we had to establish a commission to enforce federal character.

“Before I even saw the letter, there was a court process served on the leadership of the House. What they are asking is very simple: Is it in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the House Rules for a political party to choose the principal officers of the House?

‘‘The second question is: Assuming the political party has the right, is it in tandem with the constitution to exclude their zone, whether that meets the requirement of the provision of federal character.

‘‘Assuming we go ahead to announce the party’s position, which recognises members of the north central and southwest in principal officer positions and north central members make a very strong case against APC.

“Assuming they win the case and the court now rules that the party’s directive breaches the provision of the constitution relating to the federal character, so do we now begin to see somebody vacating principal officer position so we can accommodate the court’s ruling? These are issues that are really not easy to fathom or to sort out. When we got this letter, we raised this issue with the party that this thing needs to be looked at.

“There is the need for us to consider the position of the law so that we don’t get a ruling that will compel us to go back and enforce the alignment. There was never a time in the House when a zone got more than two leadership positions and we all know the provision of the constitution which did say that all positions must be guided by the Standing Orders.

“But in a situation where the Standing Order is not explicit, then we fall back on precedent, customs, the tradition. So even though the law does not say distribute the position to six zones, the tradition has been that it should go to six zones in line with the constitutional provision relating to the federal character.

“It was during an ongoing discussion relating to this that certain section of our members felt ‘Well, whatever it is let the House know that the party is supreme’ and so that was what led to the near fracas which we witnessed on the floor of the House.”

Also an interactive session with reporters covering the House of Representatives at the weekend, Dogara observed that contrary to widely held notion, the N120 billion budgeted for the running of the National Assembly in this year’s budget is not the exclusive preserve of the 360 members of the House of Representatives and the 109 members of the Senate.

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7 Comments
  • Ade#

    This man is trying to be clever by half.
    You are not the leader of the party. Nigerians voted for APC not you. Don’t play tribal sentiments to promote your own personal agenda.

    • abuasmau

      You have seen through him. Definitely.

    • Kelly

      Sometimes i despise people who after seeing the truth still will not accept it and take corrections. The question you should ask yourself is this, Is what the speaker said in tandem with the constitution and the rule of the house “There was never a time in the House when a zone got more than two leadership positions and we all know the provision of the constitution which did say that all positions must be guided by the Standing Orders.
      If this is true why is the APC insisting of a zone producing more than two principal officers, It is wrong to dare your fellow man intentionally and ask him to do his worst, that does not show respect in anyway, let all the regions share the positions as it is normally done, let us not set a precedence for anarchy in future. Let us remove the veil of politics and look at things from a proper and human perspective.

      • Ade#

        Which constitution or standing order? The one recently introduced by the speaker to prevent perceived opponents from taking leadership role.
        Please save yourself the pretence.

  • Sunshine

    The long and short of all these is that APC has loaded the gun that will finish then if time is not taken. From what Dogara is saying, he is been forced by the party to do what is not constitutional. APC’s interest is to enthriwn stooges as leaders against the wishes of the senators and house members

  • Sunshine

    APC became selfish and selfless, power drunk. What about Change? The welfare of the nation was no longer their interest. In all of these struggle they have not make mention of the nation that put them in the position. They were even treacherous and insulted Buhari. They told a lie to the nation that he called for the ICC meeting when he has instructed for the election to take place but it backfired on them. Who would on his wedding morning attend a meeting before going to the wedding?

  • Joseph

    Dogara, how can you say the party’s position ran contrary to the federal character provisions enshrined in the constitution.

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