The group of lawmakers loyal to Yakubu Dogara, a House of Representatives Speaker hopeful, have given details of how the All progressives Congress (APC) internal elections went and their reasons for walking out of the exercise.
In the aftermath of the election, Femi Gbajabiamila of Lagos was given the party’s mandate to head the lower chambers.
Speaking to newsmen after staging a walk out, leader of the Dogara faction, Abdulmumin Jibrin – who stepped down for Dogara – said the actions of the party leadership was illegal as such an action should not be taken outside the confines of the national assembly.
Jibrin went on to give a detailed account of how activities went at the International Conference Center, venue for the meeting.
He said: “We in the 8th Assembly Consolidation Group of Hon. Yakubu Dogara wish to state our position on the event of today Saturday 6th June 2015 as follows:
“We got invitation for a meeting summoned by the APC leadership and we went their with the expectation the party wanted to give us last word ahead of Tuesday’s inauguration of the House.
“However, we began to notice some moves in the hall where members supporting Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila started campaigning and soon we saw ballot papers being moved in the hall.
“The National Chairman of the party Chief John Oyegun informed us that they were going to conduct a mock, straw or primary election.
“The 8th Assembly Consolidation Group mandated Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin to speak on our behalf.
“First, we read out the statement issued by our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari on the election of National Assembly leadership.
“We then told Chief Oyegun that it is either he is disagreeing with the President, undermining his stance, or does not agree that the president is the leader of the party.
“Secondly, we informed the party that the remaining two aspirants in the race for the Speaker are of the APC since no PDP member is contesting for the position.
“We should therefore be allowed to sort it out among ourselves on Tuesday.
“Thirdly, if we were coming for election we ought to have been notified well ahead.
“We therefore view this as an ambush, manipulative and indicative of the fact that the party leadership came with a predetermined position which was skewed to favour Hon Gbajabiamila.
“Fourthly, we also informed the APC leadership that the process they were about doing was contrary to the provisions of the party’s constitution which did not prescribe that a primary election be conducted for the Speakership, contrary to the provisions of the House Standing Orders and above all, contrary to the provisions of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The next Speaker of the House should be allowed to be elected in tandem with the constitution.
“Consequently, we demanded that the process be delayed with at least 24 hours to enable us to prepare and mobilise our members.”
“Initially, the chairman agreed to halt the process but one hour later the National Vice Chairman North Senator Lawal Shuaibu came up and said the process must go on whether we like it or not.
“At this stage we had no option than to walkout of the hall and address the press.
“The election of the House Speaker is not an exclusivity of the APC but include all members from all political parties.
“Our position is that we are not a party to what they did and we maintain that the election of the Speaker of the House of Representatives cannot be conducted outside the chamber of the House and we are ready to participate in that process on Tuesday 9th June, 2015.”