N’Central, S’East Reps caucuses reject APC’s candidates for principal officers
Edo chapter backs Odigie-Oyegun
Members of the North Central caucus in the House of Representatives yesterday rose from an emergency meeting, faulting the purported decision by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to allocate some of the positions of principal officers of the House to its members.
The APC, in a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, nominated Femi Gbajabiamila (South West) for House Leader, Alhaji Ado Doguwa (North West) for Deputy House Leader, Alhaji Mohammed Monguno (North East) for Chief Whip and Alhaji Mohammed Monguno for Deputy Chief Whip.
Piqued by the development, Alhaji Ahman Aliyu Pategi, who addressed a press conference at the National Assembly on behalf of the caucus maintained that the decision of the party was tantamount to usurpation of the powers of the zonal caucuses and their members as guaranteed by the constitution and the standing rules of the House of Representatives.
He noted: “We therefore strongly reject the purported selection by the party which we see as being in conflict with the principles of the federal character as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic.
The caucus believes strongly that there should be fairness and equity in the selection of other principal positions of the House of Representatives after the emergence of both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. We believe it will be inconsiderate of the party to consider both the North East and South West zones after both zones have produced the Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively.”
Wondering why the APC chose to ignore the North Central zone that produced about 50 members to the party in the House of Representatives, he expressed the resolve of the caucus to pursue what it termed “this injustice via all civil and legitimate channels.” Also, the South East caucus rejected the party’s nominations which they alleged have ostracized the zone.
Angry members of the South East caucus led by Chukwukere Austine Ikechukwu and Chike Okafor who addressed a press conference at the National Assembly yesterday condemned the APC’s decision to deliberately exclude the zone in the sharing arrangement especially as the members fought hard to sell the party in the South East.
Ikechukwu said it would amount to injustice if the office of a principal officer is not ceded to the zone by the APC hierarchy in order to carry the people along in the spirit of unity, equity and justice. “We feel aggrieved by the position that the party has taken. We fought hard to bring the APC to the South East.
It will not be fair for the distribution of principal officers to be made without the South East carried along. Okafor pointed out that the South East has not benefited anything from the stables of the APC and called on the party leadership to cede more seats to the zone.
The position of both caucuses was reinforced on Tuesday by the South-South caucus which rejected the position of Deputy Chief Whip purportedly allocated to it.
The caucus, in a statement signed by its leader, Pally Iriase, lamented what it described as a deliberate effort to marginalise the zone in the sharing structure. Meanwhile, the Edo State chapter of the APC has dismissed allegation of bribery said to have been levelled against the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, by some APC governors.
The State APC Publicity Secretary, Godwin Erhahon, while reacting to the report of allegation of misconduct against the national chairman in a national daily said the party has studied the allegations and believed it was false.
According to the report, the eight APC governors, were said to have held a meeting with the national chairman where they expressed their displeasure for “collecting gifts from Senator Bukola Saraki before the election, while pretending to” be in support of the party’s decision to cede the Senate Presidency to Senator Ahmed Lawan.
Although the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had refuted the claims, Erhahon said the state chapter of the party had assessed the outcome of the meeting, which he said did not bother on the said allegation.