The All Progressives Congress (APC) Loyalist Group in the House of Representatives has written to the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, insisting that Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila be announced as the House Leader as directed by the party.
In the July 18, letter signed by Hon. Nasiru Sani Zangon-Daura on behalf of the group, the members accused House Speaker Yakubu Dogara of hiding under the pretext of adherence to Federal Character and a reported court action to deny Gbajabiamila the House Leader position.
The group’s letter was also copied to President Muhammadu Buhari; Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Progressive Governors’ Forum mediator) and Governor Rochas Okorocha, Chairman of the Forum.
“We are not in doubt that all the shenanigans are merely a pretext to exclude our Principal, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, a man acknowledged to have served the House, party and country meritoriously, who was the face of opposition in the National Assembly and who led our party from minority to majority in the House,” the letter reads.
The group announced that it has conceded one of the leadership positions to the North Central and that the only zone left was the South East, which is “disqualified” going by Order 7 Rule 37 of the House Rules since its two APC members are new, hence lacked “cognate legislative experience”.
The group submitted that Dogara’s insistence on federal character in the selection of principal officers only applies to the executive and government agencies and not the National Assembly.
“It follows that the six positions can only be occupied by five zones which means one zone will as of necessity have two slots whether North West, North East, South West, South-South or North Central.
The group stated that an “erroneous impression” has been created that the body of Principal Officers is a body of six members.
“The Body of Principal Officers of the House of Representatives is one body with 10 members. The majority party contributes six and the minority party contributes four. The added advantage of two that the majority has is because it is able to produce the Speaker and Deputy because of numerical strength,” it said.
The group however warned Dogara against adopting a “winner takes it all” approach.