Femi Gbajabiamila, the preferred candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the speakership of the federal house of representatives, has alleged that Yakubu Dogara – the man who eventually got the position – and his loyalists are plotting to polarise the ruling party ahead of their plans to defect to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Gbajabiamila said that despite the fact that the APC has decided against punishing Dogara and his loyalists for going against its wish regarding the leadership of the eighth national assembly, the speaker and his supporters have “been ridiculing the party before Nigerians”.
He was speaking late Wednesday during a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja.
“The conduct of the 39 APC members colluding with the PDP is tantamount to affront, ultimately targeted at polarising our party so as to give room for many of them to decamp to the PDP,” he said.
“The 39 APC members in the house continue to collude with the PDP to flagrantly disobey Mr. President, the governors and the party with a view to bringing the party and government to ridicule before Nigerians.
“It is therefore imperative for Mr. President to take a stand and save the integrity of the party, by cautioning, the 39 members, which include the speaker and the deputy speaker, to respect, honour and obey our party leaders and their directives.”
Gbajabiamila faulted the position of the pro-Dogara lawmakers that the party’s choice for the remaining principal positions in the house does not reflect federal character.
The APC proposed Gbajabiamila as majority leader and a faction of the house was opposed to this on the ground that Yusuf Lasun, the deputy speaker, hails from the same zone as Gbajabiamila.
But Gbajabiamila believes this argument does not hold water.
“The party has chosen not to punish the 39 APC members including the elected speaker and deputy speaker, but chose to direct, as it is customary and conventional, on how the other four (4) principal officers should be distributed. Alas! The opposition and the 39 members continue to hold the ruling party in contempt by disobeying the party,” he said.
“Whereas, the beneficiaries of the disobedience are citing federal character principle as the main reason for their disobedience.
“The house of representatives is not an agency of the federal government and the principal officers positions are elective and not by appointment. If the federal character is applicable to the national assembly, then both the senate president and the speaker cannot come from the north, one of them should be advised to step down.”