All Progressives Congress (APC) members in the House of Representatives have all but declared a full scale war on the party leadership as more members have kicked against moves to impose principal officers.
For the second consecutive day, Speaker Yakubu Dogara blocked the reading of a letter by the National Chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun on the nomination of principal officers for the House, a move that was supported by members from Yobe and Kebbi States.
Vanguard reports that APC members from the North-Central and South-East zones gave Oyegun some stick for being insensitive to the principles of Federal character.
According to feelers Oyegun and the APC leadership had recommended Femi Gbajabiamila (South-West) as House Leader, Mohammed Monguno (North-East) as Chief Whip; Alhassan Doguro (North-West) as Deputy Leader; and Pally Iriase (South-South) as Deputy Whip.
The details of the letter was said to have enraged members of the House from North-Central and South-East to kick.It was also gathered that even in the North West, where Gbajabiamila had previously had a strong support base during the speakership tussle, majority of the members have reversed their support as they claim that Gbajabiamila’s emergence as House Leader would make the South West hold two major positions – Deputy Speaker and House Leader.
A source in the house said: “Those who were backing him have seen reality and many of them are now going behind him to pledge loyalty to the speaker. Even more, many of them are saying that it is not possible for his zone to get two positions while the South-South and South-East get nothing.”
Another source said: “Many members are now faced with the stark reality that committee positions are about to be shared, and members want to get favourable positions.”
The North Central caucus in the House, led by Ahman Pategi of Kwara State, who was flanked by about 20 members from the zone said: “We are also amazed by the directive of the party to the leadership of the House to take necessary action on the purported choice by the party, which we see as a clear usurpation of the powers of the zonal caucuses and their members as guaranteed by the constitution and the standing rules of the House of Representatives.
“We, therefore, strongly reject the purported selection by the party which we see as being in conflict with the principle of the federal character as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic.
“It will be inconsiderate of the party to consider North-East and South-West that had produced the Speaker and Deputy Speaker for other positions. The exclusion of two zones is not acceptable.”
Pategi also said that the region has refused to be left out on the offices considering the strength of their 40 members.The South East caucus of the APC, led by Austine Chukwukere (Ideato South/Ideato North) and John Chike Okeafor (Okigwe South, Imo State) said: “We can’t stand here and allow the party sweep us out.”Chukwukere further stressed that if the South-East was not included in the appointment of principal officers, the House members would not have the moral courage to convince people from their various constituencies and the region as a whole that the party was fair to every Nigerian.