The decision of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to choose consensus candidates for leadership positions in the National Assembly has not gone down well with some elected lawmakers who have asked that the choice of leaders should be left for elected members.
In a mock election said to have been aimed at ensuring the lawmakers from the party are in accord, the APC chose Femi Gbajabiamila as its representative for Speakership while it chose Ahmed Lawan for Senate. Supporters of Dogara had walked out of the election with him.
Briefing journalists in Abuja, one of the members of Dogara’s Consolidated Group, Abdulmunin Jibrin from Kano State, noted that the stability of the House was paramount. They will therefore not watch the party impose a Speaker with tainted records on them.
“You are aware of the facade called mock election held by our party on Saturday. The whole exercise was a fraud, it shows that the party made a mockery of itself. We condemn the election and it was not in the spirit of the party, we caution the party to tread the part of honour.
“The House must be left alone to choose its Speaker. We will not allow an individual to pocket the House by having a Speaker that will have a special bedroom in the House of an individual. We know that we belong to a party, but when the House takes off, it will now become a House for all Nigerians.
“We have been intimidated and threatened and because of this have decided to formally write a petition to the Commander in Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the leader of all of us, the leader of the country including the party for him to intervene on the matter and call the party to order,” Jibrin said.
Jibrin, who had earlier declared support for Gbajabiamila said some new information at his disposal made him change his mind.
“Yes, we explored the possibility of working with Hon. Femi in the past but when I got information about his record, I backed out,” he said citing a case in court on the alleged past of Gbajabiamila.
The Femi Gbajabiamila Speakership secretariat has dismissed the claims by the Dogara camp.
A member-elect, Dickson Tarkighir, who spoke on behalf of the Gbajabiamila’s supporters said: “We wish to thank APC members-elect for the overwhelming votes they gave to Femi Gbajabiamila at yesterday’s (Saturday) mock election conducted for the APC members aspiring to be Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the 8th House of Representatives.
“We are humbled by the show of love and support Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has received so far across party lines.
“In furtherance to the genuine aspiration of Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, it is appropriate for us to be magnanimous in victory and extend our hand of fellowship to the 16 of our colleagues who purportedly left the venue as a result of their claim of unpreparedness for the mock election.
“We are indeed grateful that some of them voluntarily returned to the hall to be part of the successful election. Just as the party said earlier before the election, no group loyal to any of the aspirants was placed on notice,” said Tarkighir.
“Definitely, these are not agents of change,” he said of the Dogara camp. “The party gave members-elect the platform to elect a popular candidate that would represent the party in the House and we are glad that in the end of that exercise, it was res ipsa loquitur. Had Dogara won the mock election, we would have all queued behind him now but as a mark of discipline and respect for the party, we are all behind Femi Gbajabiamila.
“We have reached out to our friends in other political parties and we are thankful by their popular response.”