Fresh crisis in House of Reps


house-of-reps22-702x336A fresh battle between the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara and former Minority Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has started.

Gbajabiamila was defeated last Tuesday by Dogara in the pulsating contest for the Speakership.

However, the two sides are now locked in a new war over chairmanships of committees, appointment of principal officers and headship of the Committee on Public Accounts (PAC).

Although Gbajabiamila had last week pledged loyalty to the leadership of Dogara, it was gathered that he, with the backing of the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), have made some demands that must be fulfilled if the Dogara’s leadership is to enjoy the support of lawmakers loyal to him(Gbajabiamila ).

The former Minority Leader and his supporters met with members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of APC last weekend. Prior to the election, he was the candidate adopted by APC for Speaker.

The meeting was fashioned to bridge the crack in the House occasioned by the outcome of the speakership contest.

A source at the meeting revealed that Gbajabiamila’s group gave stringent conditions for accepting to work with the new leadership of the House.

Among the conditions, according to the source, include granting Gbajabiamila’s supporters more committees chairmanship slots. Standing Committees in the House are 89. He said such committees must be Grade ‘A’.

The source said, “yes, there was a meeting between a group of House members who supported Gbajabiamila in the recent contest for Speaker and our party leaders. I can also tell you that talks are  going on right now to reconcile all members in the House because all the people involved are APC members . Gbajabiamila wants a special concession to be given to him in form of giving his group more chairmanship slots”.

Apart from that, he disclosed that the former Minority Leader wants to be the one to appoint three out of the four principal officers. Also, Gbajabiamila has requested to be given the opportunity to name a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker who will chair the PAC. A lawmaker from Delta State is being penciled down for the job.

“Our brother, Gbajabiamila wants to appoint three of the four principal officers. He is also asking Dogara to allow him chose a PDP lawmaker that will head PAC”.

The source disclosed that the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, is disposed to all the demands by Gbajabiamila and is asking Dogara to concede.

He said the party has penciled down Gbajabiamila as the House Majority Leader, noting that everything was being done to appease his camp.

However, the Speaker is said to have rejected all the demands.  As a result of this hardline stance, the APC leadership, the source said, may take the matter before President Muhammadu Buhari this week.

He said, “there are plans to present the matter before the President and the leader of our party. He is in a position to broker an amicable resolution between the two camps”.

The source noted that there are fears that poor handling of the matter may cause instability in the chamber, claiming that Dogara’s camp believes that Gbajabiamila’s demands were subtle trap for the leadership.

According to him, the thinking in the Speaker’s camp was that allowing the other group to have incredible number of chairmanship slots will infuriate the PDP caucus in the House, forcing it to align with opponents of the Speaker against him.

Meanwhile, responding to the allegation that his boss made such demands, Gbajabiamila’s aide, Smart Olanrewaju, said he was not aware his boss gave any condition for accepting the leadership of Dogara.

He, however, said members of Gbajabiamila group met with the leadership of APC recently, contending that there was nothing wrong if the group made any demand(s).

“I am not aware of such demands. However, there is nothing wrong if the group made any demand during its meeting with the party”, he said.

 

-The Sun


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