Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the federal house of representatives, says he is to blame for Thursday’s fisticuffs at the federal house of representatives.
The lawmakers had engaged in a free-for-all while trying to decide on the remaining principal offices in the assembly, with those loyal to the speaker seizing the mace to pre-empt moves by anti-Dogara members to hijack it.
The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had written a letter to the speaker, proposing Femi Gbajabiamila, who Dogara defeated in the June 9 election, as majority leader; Alhassan Doguwa as deputy house leader; Mohammed Monguno, chief whip and Pally Iriase, deputy chip whip.
But rather than read the letter, Dogara called for an executive session and that resulted into pandemonium.
Addressing a delegation of past members of the house of reps. during the weekend, Dogara described the letter as unconstitutional.
He said it did not reflect geographical balancing among the six zones in the country, adding that some aggrieved lawmakers from the north-central zone are already challenging it in the court.
“As leaders, we are bound by the constitution and when we got that directive from the party, we said that we must defend the constitution, we must enforce our rules,” he said.
“It would have harmful effects to the constitution of Nigeria for us to adopt the position of the party.
“Assuming we go ahead to announce the party’s position, which recognises members of the northeast and southwest as principal officers, which the northcentral members have already made a very strong allegation against APC, what happens?
“Assuming a court now rules that the directive of the party breaches the provisions of the constitution relating to federal character, do we now begin to see somebody vacating his official principal position so that we can accommodate the court’s ruling?”
Accepting responsibility for the fallout, Dogara apologised to Nigerians for the show of shame, promising that the house would resolve the crisis.
“I have accepted responsibility for everything that transpired and we apologise to the nation,” he said. “I had to call on the chairman, ad hoc committee on media to apologise to Nigerians.”