The face-off over the alleged lopsided composition of committees in the House of Representatives deepened yesterday, as plot to oust the Majority Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila by loyalists of the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, thickened.
Daily Sun learnt that members of Dogara’s Consolidation Group initiated the fresh move, following the boycott of the inauguration of 96 Standing Commitees by Gbajabiamila and his supporters on Monday.
The Speaker had a private meeting with Gbajabiamila alongside few principal officers of All Progressives Congress (APC), where he allegedly issued a final warning to the House Leader to either sit up or be removed.
A senior aide to Gbajabiamila, who doesn’t want to be named, told reporters that the initial arrangement prior to the hastily called meeting was to remove the embattled Leader and replace him with the Chief Whip from Kano State, Hon. Ado Alhassan Doguwa.
“The Speaker and other APC principal officers were angry during the private meeting. The Speaker, supported by others told Gbajabiamila to stop painting the House in bad light. He was threatened with suspension and removal,” a principal officer, who was present during the meeting said.
The parley between the two warring leaders was confirmed by. Doguwa.
Doguwa said: “Enough of this misunderstanding within the All progressives ongress (APC) family. You are all aware of what happened yesterday (Monday) where the Speaker chaired a special session to inaugurate the Standing Committees. I want to tell you on behalf of the leadership of the House, that there is no crack in the leadership whatsoever.
“As I am talking to you, Hon. Dogara and the (Majority Leader) are in the same room discussing, trying to see how we can move ahead. Nigerians are tired of this waiting. We were elected to come and do our work as members of the House of Representatives and members of the National As- sembly by extension.
“I want to tell you precisely that by what we did yesterday, the flight of the Eighth National Assembly has taken off. It has not only taken off, it has taken off very successfully. And it’s a flight that is a four-year bound flight with Dogara as the pilot.
“I want to say that we have maintained the status quo for now and Femi (Gbajabiamila) is our leader in the House of Representatives and even the speculations made that there is any move to remove Femi as our leader is unfounded and it is not from the leadership of the House or the APC.
But one of the aggrieved supporters of Gbajabiamila, Hon. Ahmad Usman Kaita (APC, Katsina), who stormed
out of the emergency caucus meeting of APC lawmakers, called at the instance of Dogara, protested what he described as the hypocrisy of the Speaker.
Kaita said the moves to re- move the House Leader climaxed when Dogara’s loyalists started circulating text mes- sages, calling for the removal of Gbajabiamila.
He told National Assembly correspondents that the national leadership of APC had made its official position known to Dogara five days before the inauguration of the committees on Monday.
He said the Speaker had promised to implement the recommendations of the party, by accommodating the grievances of APC lawmakers who were schemed out of chairman- ships of juicy committees, but he suddenly made a U-turn and allegedly flouted the official position of the party.
According to him, the APC’s national leadership had equally called for a reconciliation meet- ing on Monday, ahead of the
inauguration of the 96 commit- tees. He said the meeting was intended to clear certain grey areas before the inauguration.
He said while some members were at the APC secretariat, including Gbajabiamila, the Speaker and his foot soldiers were at the Green Chamber for the inauguration.
The Katsina-born law- maker noted argued that APC members were not going to fold their arms and allow op- position Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) take control of the House. He again alleged that Dogara was collaborating with the Fifth Columnists to sabotage the Change Agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Meanwhile, there was a reported fisticuff during the emergency caucus meeting of APC lawmakers, when a member from North-Central allegedly slapped his counterpart from the North-East. The two laegislators are leading sup- porters of Dogara and Gbajabiamila. -The Sun