One of the leading All Progressives Congress contenders for the Speakership of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has received the endorsement of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, caucus, yesterday.
A re-elected member of the House, Samson Okwu, who spoke on behalf of returning PDP legislators of the House, said the caucus was determined to enthrone Dogara from Bauchi State as the next Speaker.
Okwu, representing Oju/Obi federal constituency of Benue State, said members were favourably disposed to working with a Speaker whose loyalty would be to the House than someone whose loyalty would be to a godfather.
The Vice Chairman, House Committee on Pensions also stressed that though members were elected on different political party platforms, what was of utmost importance to them as federal parliamentarians was the overall interest of the country.
He said: “We are about 142 members out of 360 and as minority, we are going to determine the leadership of the House of Representatives, especially the Speaker.
“We are determined to do that and we want to do it in such a way that we will choose leaders that will have support across party lines and will also look out for the interest of the country and members.
“It is no longer about APC or PDP it is about the House of Representatives and what is happening is not a different thing. By the time the 8th House is inaugurated, we are going to elect a Speaker of our choice”.
Rep Okwu went on to recount the precedence of electing a Speaker for the House.
“Let no one make a mistake: the House has a precedence and a scenario that happened in the House since 1999. PDP wanted Salisu Buhari to become the Speaker, but he did not last because he was not the choice of the members.
“He lasted only two months and Ghali Na’Abba was elected. The same scenario played itself in 2003.
“The party wanted Matazu, who was even a returning member, but the members did not want him and then elected Aminu Bello Masari as Speaker. Similar thing happened in 2007 when Patricia Etteh was imposed on members.
“They accepted her, but after four months, they forced her out and Dimeji Bankole was elected. The same scenario or even worse than the previous ones happened in 2011.
“PDP tried to impose Mulikat Adeola-Akande and we did not want her. So we brought Aminu Waziri Tambuwal as our Speaker.
“If the party in power is thinking that things have changed, they will surely be proved wrong. It is not about the party, it is the attitude of the House of Representatives to always go its own way in choosing its leadership.
“If APC is thinking that members will abide by its zoning arrangement, the same scenario will play out because we are all the same members and nothing has changed.
“All along, it is the House that has been playing progressive roles that Nigerians are happy with. We are going to do same thing.
“We will bring a Speaker that we want. We are not undermining any party, but the House of Reps are solidly behind Yakubu Dogara as Speaker. And we are determined to deliver him come June.
“We want somebody who will rally all members behind him. Dogara is that person who will protect the interest of members and all Nigerians. He does not answer to any godfather.
“He does not take weekly briefings from a godfather who lives hundreds of kilometres from Abuja like a puppet. Dogara looks at the 359 constituencies as his own”.