The factional groups of the All Progressives Congress at the House of Representatives again refused to shift ground on Thursday on how the principal offices in the House should be shared.
The Speaker of the House, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, is leading one of the groups, while former Minority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, heads the other faction.
It became apparent since Wednesday that the peace committee chaired by the Governor of Sokoto State, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, had been unable to get the warring sides to reach a compromise.
Findings showed that the stalemate in the discussions to reconcile the two sides only pointed to the possibility of conducting caucus elections to elect the majority leader, deputy majority leader, chief whip and deputy whip of the House.
The group led by Gbajabiamila had insisted that any considerations outside the recommendation of the APC’s leadership on the sharing of the seats would not be entertained by its members.
The party had written the speaker that the South-West should produce the Majority Leader; North-West, Deputy Leader; North-East, Chief Whip; and South-South, Deputy Whip.
“That is where we stand; there is no other suggestion or purported agreement that is acceptable to us.
“We have made this point clear enough many times,” the group stated on Thursday.
It also insisted that by convention and the rules of the House, the two new members from the South-East were not qualified to hold principal positions, “being first timers who have no cognate experience as members of the National Assembly.”
The group added that the lack of qualification of the two members alone had defeated the argument of zonal representation “or Federal Character, which in itself is not justiceable. “
But, reacting on Wednesday, the spokesman for the 8th Assembly Consolidation Group, Dogara’s backers, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, said the group had been magnanimous in conceding all four positions to Gbajabiamila’s.
He noted that it was only fair that the group should consider the interest of other zones besides the South-West and the North-East, in sharing the seats.
“In the election of the House principal officers, every geo-political zone of Nigeria deserves to be represented and it is embarrassing for some members of the House to dismiss the issue of equitable representation as ‘hogwash,’” he added.
Jibrin also dismissed the argument that the South-East lawmakers did not have cognate experience to occupy any of the positions.
He also asked why the Gbajabiamila group believed that the North-Central, which produced 33 members, did not deserve to have a seat.
Jibrin claimed that a member attained cognate experience soon after inauguration, adding that the rule was applicable to contesting a presiding officer’s position before inauguration.