The leadership tussle over appointment of principal officers in the House of Representatives has deepened as All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers loyal to the defeated speakership candidate, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila have rejected the zoning formula proposed by Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
The group insisted that the party’s position must be obeyed. Dogara had last Thursday written to the APC’s national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun notifying him of his decision to zone the position of Majority Leader to North-West; Chief Whip to South-South, Deputy Leader to North-Central and Deputy Whip to South- East as against the party’s arrangement that Gbajabiamila from South-West be made leader, Hon. Pally Iriase from South-South be named Chief Whip, while Deputy Leader should go to Alhassan Ado Doguwa from North-West. According to Oyegun’s letter, Hon. Mohammed Monguno from North-East, who lost the deputy speakership should be made Deputy Whip.
In a counter-letter dated July 18 titled “Nomination of Principal Officers in the House of Representatives” and addressed to the national chairman, the Gbajabiamila camp under the auspices of APC Loyalists Group rejected in its entirety reasons adduced by Dogara for defying the party’s sharing arrangement, insisting that the party is supreme and its directives must be obeyed and respected. The letter signed by the group’s leader, Hon. Nasiru Sani Zangon-Daura (APC, Katsina), maintained that the party had made so much concession in favour of Dogara, warning that “enough is enough”.
The letter reads: “Our attention has been drawn to the letter written to you by the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara in response to your letter to him almost a month prior.We find Hon. Dogara’s letter fraught with several fundamental flaws in his analysis and interpretation of the Constitution and House rules. This is to set the records straight. “This party has bent over backwards for the Speaker and enough is enough.
He refused zoning before the elections and because of his refusal the party decided to conduct primaries and allow the members themselves to decide, he refused that too and struck a deal with the opposition. It seems for the speaker who won his election by eight marginal votes, it is his way or the high way.
“We cannot adopt this winner takes it all approach as it will be unfair to Nigerians. Our party campaigned against the Peoples Democratic Party’s impunity in all its ramifications and so did the Nigerian people and we cannot be seen to be condoning the very thing we condemned the PDP for.
That smacks of hypocrisy. The people of Nigeria voted for change and that change includes not sacrificing merit on the altar of ethnicity. “We are not in doubt that all the shenanigans is merely a pretext to exclude our principal, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, a man acknowledged to have served the House, party and country meritoriously, who was the face of opposition in the National Assembly and who led our party from minority to majority in the House.
A man who gallantly congratulated Mr. Speaker after an unexpected loss and who extended a hand of cooperation to him severally. Such injustice must not be allowed to stand.” Reiterating its stand on the party’s supremacy, the Loyalists Group said: “Mr. Chairman, history beckons and posterity will always judge our conduct and contributions to the development of our democracy. A political party is an institution and its supremacy is universal and not a Nigerian coinage. “It is on record that the Speaker defied the party going into the elections and he is about to repeat such defiance.
The party must assert its authority over all its members the Speaker inclusive as none of us came to the House as independent candidates and we subscribed expressly and impliedly to the party’s supremacy in political activities.”
The lawmakers argued that “the president himself has spoken severally that the party is supreme and its decision must be obeyed. He said the same thing just recently at the National Executive (NEC) meeting.” On the constitutional issue of federal character referred to by Dogara, the group noted that “we stand on our earlier position that whilst we accept and agree with the principle of federal character, the constitutional provisions in that regard are strictly in reference to the appointment to the federal executive and its agencies.”
“Assuming federal character was meant to be applicable to the National Assembly, then certainly one of the Houses of the National Assembly must be headed by a southerner. Remember sir, that in the run-up to the election of the Senate President and Speaker, our party made a deliberate choice, to apply this same principle of federal character such that all qualified zones will be represented in the spirit of national unity, which we embrace, but we all know how that ended.
“Furthermore to accept the speaker’s arrangement would mean the two most powerful positions in the Senate and House after the presiding officers would be occupied by the North,” the group stated. On the matter of morality, the letter said: “Right now, the Senate President and the Speaker are both from the North.
We find it highly immoral, disingenuous, insincere and downright hypocritical, that someone who rejected and was anti-zoning will now be the person waiving the zoning card when it serves his purpose. We cannot pick and choose or flip-flop on the application of zoning based on our whims and caprices and he who comes to equity must come with clean hands.”
Wike meets PDP senators, Orubebe
The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike on Thursday received the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership in the Senate in Rumuepirikom, his country home in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.
The PDP delegation was led by the Senate Minority Leader, Philip Aduda.
Also a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe met with Wike
Orubebe recently resigned from the Peoples Democratic Party.
In attendance at the meeting were the Senate Minority Whip, Chukwuka Utazi; Shuaibu Lau, Danjuma La’ah and Barry Mpigi.
A Government House source said the senators arrived at the governor’s residence some minutes past 3pm and immediately went into a closed door with their host.
The outcomes of the separate meetings were not made public.
ADC presidential candidate denies tax fraud allegations in US
The presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Dumebi Kachikwu, has denied allegations of tax fraud in the United States.
Kachikwu said this in a statement on Wednesday titled, ‘Allegations of tax evasion, fraud against me untrue, politically motivated’.
The presidential candidate said the allegations were propagated by his political opponents who were unhappy with his victory at the ADC Presidential primary.
The Roots TV boss, therefore, asked supporters to ignore online reports that the US government had indicted him for tax evasion running into millions of dollars.
The statement read in part, “A few days ago, my campaign team received information that one of the aspirants who lost out in the just concluded ADC presidential primaries was planning a series of smear campaigns against me.
“I was therefore not surprised when I saw this story. Contrary to the information being peddled, I was assessed an additional $9m several years ago by the US Inland Revenue Service.
“This amount was reduced to $2m and when the IRS sued to collect the amount, my lawyers didn’t contest it and instead waited for a default judgement in order to go to the next stage which is making an offer in compromise to reduce the amount to be paid. This is a standard legal practice in tax matters.”
Kachikwu also denied allegations that he delivered a bribe to convicted US Congressman, William Jefferson.
The ADC candidate said rather, he was the one who reported the former Congressman to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The statement further read, “(The report) claimed I had delivered a $100,000 cash bribe to curry the favour of the former US Congressman. This is another lie as multiple evidence abounds online clearly showing I was the victim who reported the US congressman to the EFCC and the FBI for defrauding my company.
“I have now instructed my lawyers to sue all digital media organisations who participated in the dissemination of this falsehood.”
The Roots TV boss said he was sure of victory in next year’s Presidential election.
Kachikwu, who is a younger brother to a former Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, surprisingly defeated a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, to win the ADC’s Presidential ticket.
Kwankwaso’s party gains one, Labour Party another as senators defect from APC, PDP
Two Senators on Wednesday announced their defection from their former political parties to another party ahead of the 2023 general election.
The Senators are: Francis Ezenwa Onyewusi representing Imo East Senatorial district and Haliru Dauda Jika representing Bauchi Central Senatorial district.
Their defection was made known by the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan during a plenary on Wednesday.
While Senator Francis Onyewusi who is a first-timer to the Senate was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and defected to Labour Party (LP), his counterpart in Bauchi was a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) before he defected to the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
The defected Senators cited injustice and inequity in their former political parties that made them fail the primary elections.
On Tuesday, three All Progressives Congress (APC) senators defected to other political parties.
Ahmad Babba Kaita, senator representing Katsina north; Lawal Yahaya Gumau, senator representing Bauchi north, and Francis Alimikhena, senator representing Edo north, all defected to other parties.
Kaita, who represents President Muhammadu Buhari’s senatorial district, defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alongside Alimikhena.Advertisement
Gumau defected to the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), a party led by Rabiu Kwankwaso, former governor of Kano state.
The defectors have cited “marginalisation” and unfair treatment by their former parties as the reason for joining new parties.
Most of them were seeking reelection, but lost their tickets in their former parties.
The number of APC senators now stands at 66.
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