The fighting sides in the House of Representatives seem to have put their differences aside as the camp supporting Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has conceded the position of House Leader to the Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila camp.
However, in the spirit of equity and federal character, the speaker’s camp said that the nominee for the position will not come from the South West or the North East stating that the two zones have already taken their slots.
According to Vanguard, the spokesman of the speaker’s supporting group, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, said that after the directed reconciliatory meetings of both sides by the All Progressives Congress (APC), headed by immediate past speaker of the house and the incumbent Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, they have decided to concede the House Leader position to Gbajabiamila camp.
He made this revelation while speaking with newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, July 8, 2015. He said that if the Gbajabiamila camp rejected the offer, they would conduct election on the floor of the House by APC membersin accordance with the provisions of House Rules.
He also stated that when the position was being ceded to the leader of the Gbajabiamila camp, they were expressly told that the six principal officers will be appointed in tandem with the constitution in regards to federal character as it will be unfair for any geopolitical zone to be excluded.
He said: “The Governor of Sokoto State met with Femi Gbajabiamila and his group. Yesterday, he met with us and we also had a lengthy meeting, at some point heated. We wish to appreciate Mr. Speaker for tolerating all our actions at the meeting to be able to stand firm.
“Concessions were made completely against the original plan that we went to the meeting with. This morning, we received lots of phone calls, under normal circumstances we are not supposed to make a public statement on this.
“Because of the information going round and in order to put the record straight, I have been mandated as the spokesman of the group to make some few comments.
“As regards some of the things that transpired at the meeting, of course the details would be made public when the entire process is concluded.
“We went to the meeting and you have always known our position. We believe that we did not go against any provisions of the laws of the party or the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeriain electing the speaker or his deputy.
“We also believe that there should be a level playing ground for everyone in terms of the occupation of the remaining offices of principal officers that has always been our position.
“But after a very lengthy meeting with His Execelleny, the immediate past speaker and Governor of Sokoto State, we were able to make a far-reaching concession and this is to allow for peace to reign in the House.
“It was very tough and of course the wise counsel of the Governor of Sokoto State on the need for a concession on peace. Threethings we agreed: one, we maintain the position that we do not recognise the letter written by the party in quotes and I give you reasons.
“We have utmost respect for the chairman of the party, but that letter did not pass through the relevant organs of the party.
“It was neither approved by the National Working Committee nor the National Executive Council, not even the caucus was consulted and it was a product of one or two governors and of course the National Chairman.”
“Let me maintain the fact that we respect the national chairman and we will only respect a letter through legal organs of the party. Our position is that we do not recognise the existence of such letter.”
Continuing he said, “Secondly, the principal officers of the House must be in tandem with principle of equity and Federal Character as prescribed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The 6th position that is usually occupied by the majority, the Speaker, deputy speaker, House leader deputy house leader, the whip and deputy whip must go to the six geopolitical zones or otherwise it must reflect the principal of equity and fairness.
“To that end after the deliberation, we have agreed to concede the position of the House leader to the Femi’s group and we took this decision bearing in mind that we need peace in this house and we want to get down to work.
“In line with with equity and federal character, whoever is being nominated must not come from the Southwest and Northeast in line with our strong belief in the principle of equity and federal character,” he stated.”
The Kano State born lawmaker said the year had gone half way already and that they should be busy with the review of 2015 budget and on how far budget had been implemented.
Besides, he said that in few weeks, the House would be considering the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF! Stressing that the House has work to do and cannot continue to waste more time talking about positions.
According to him, “We expect the Femi group to accept this concession so that we can be able to move forward.
“In the event that they do not accept, we also provided that it should be left for us to choose principal officers of the House in line with the standing rules of the House, so we have to come back and hold an election.
“The entire APC members would hold an election to elect the house leaders, If someone says he has 174 members, fine let’s hold an election and see if he actually has that majority he claims.
“Let’s hold election in line of the standing rules of the House and that is our position.”
He advised the Gbajabiamila camp to put national interest above federal interest and accept the cession. He also said that some members had instituted legal action to stop the reading of the letter written by the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, which nominated some party loyalist as principal officers and because of this, the letter will not be read.