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Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Crises in The House of Representatives Sinks Deeper - Read Why

This is not the best of times for the All Progressives Congress (APC)-dominated House of Representatives. The bad blood generated by the distribution of the 96 standing committees by Speaker Yakubu Dogara in the Green Chamber boiled over yesterday.

The APC members in the House yesterday accused the Speaker working with the opposition party to scuttle the change agenda of the APC-controlled Federal Government. They accused Yakubu of allocating committees that are sensitive and crucial to the success of the government to the rival Peoples Democratic (PDP).
Some of the lawmakers, who claimed to be loyal to the party yesterday met at the APC National Secretariat and at the end of their parley accused the Speaker of being a fifth columnist and anagent provocateur. They alleged that Dogara has offered himself as an agent of destabilisation for some powerful forces that brought the nation to its knees.
But an aide to the Speaker, who pleaded for anonymity, declined to react to the weighty allegations.
Addressing a news conference at the end of the meeting, their spokesman and a member representing Gada/Goronyo Federal Constituency in Sokoto State, Musa Sariki Adar Kaffe, said the only part of honour left for the Speaker was to reverse the current order in the interest of Nigerians who are waiting for APC deliverables.
The APC lawmakers also accused the speaker of openly romancing PDP legislators and refusing to show genuine commitment to the APC Caucus in the House, frustrating meetings and instead, holding clandestine meetings to plot APC downfall.
They said: “It is on record that Hon Yakubu Dogara has consistently taken the APC for granted on past occasions.
“He has showed contempt for APC’s national leadership by spearheading a boycott when the former attempted to offer guidelines to House members before the election that threw him up as Speaker, with a slim majority.
“Upon his emergence as Speaker, Hon. Dogara insisted on foisting his misguided and arrogant imposition of so-called ‘federal character’ in the Body of Principal Officers of the House, so as to frustrate the early stabilisation plan of the House as proposed by our party.
“Since climbing to the seat, Dogara has refused to belong properly to the APC House caucus, frustrating meetings, and, instead, romancing openly PDP legislators, including holding clandestine meetings to plot the downfall of our party.
“In furtherance of this treachery, he has severally frustrated efforts by patriotic members who wanted to table salutary motions aimed at commending and encouraging Mr. President’s anti-corruption measures so far taken.
“In the same vein, the Speaker has continued to suppress critical and dissenting voices from contributing in debates at plenary sessions, while shamelessly promoting the dominance of activities of the House by hostile, opposition elements.
“Instead of promoting unity in the House, he is recklessly pursuing the path of division along ethnic and faith lines. In pursuit of his tyrannical agenda, the Speaker has caused a motley crowd of his co-conspirators to amend the House Rules, to enable him suspend members at will and generally apply punitive measures to kill the well-known vibrancy that has historically characterised the House of Representatives.
“The composition of head ships of committees must be seen for what it is: a declaration of war against the APC and the Presidency – all calculated at sabotaging the majority advantage that APC enjoys, with ultimate aim of rolling back the electoral victory of our party.
“The composition of chairmen and deputy chairmen of committees are clear manifestations of the marginalisation of the ruling All Progressives Congress. Under the 7th Assembly headed by Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, the then majority party – PDP got 63 out of 89 committees of the House which constituted 71 per cent share of the committees while the minority parties – Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and others got only 26 out of the 89 committees which underscores the fact that the minority got only 29 per cent share of the committees.
“Unfortunetely, under Speaker Yakubu Dogara the majority party – APC – got 50 per cent share of committees, same with the PDP and other minority parties which equally got 50 per cent.
“No legislature in the world had ever shared committees on 50:50 ratios between the majority and minority parties. There must be a clear cut margin between majority and minority parties as was done in previous assemblies.
“Worthy of note that, in the U.S Congress, the current majority party (Republican) enjoys 100 per cent committee chairmanship allocation while the minority party is only considered for deputies and also most African parliaments do not share same equally.
“It is curious that strategic committees such as Petroleum, Power, Environment, Works, Gas, Foreign Affairs, Banking, Information Technology, Aviation, National Planning, Nigerian Ports and Waterways which are crucial to the success of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ‘change agenda’ were given to PDP by Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
“What is the motive behind such undemocratic move? Is it to derail the change agenda of President Buhari to ease their ungodly marriage with PDP ahead of 2019? Nigerians are yearning for meaningful development before 2019 and APC must be allowed to deliver on its mandate.
“It is therefore absolutely clear that Hon Yakubu Dogara is, but a fifth columnist, an agent provocateur committed to destabilising the House on behalf of the powerful forces that have ruined Nigeria and brought us to the current sorry past.
“For this and other reasons, therefore, the only path of honour opened to Speaker Yakubu Dogara, is to reverse the current order in the interest of Nigerians who are waiting for APC deliverables.”

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