THE peace initiative being brokered by the governors of the All Progressives Congress, APC, appears to be heading to nowhere. While members loyal to Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the House of Representatives, ceded the position of majority leader in the House to the aggrieved lawmakers loyal to Femi Gbajabiamila, former House minority leader, on the condition that such leaders should not be from either North-East and South-West, the Gbajabiamila group rejected the offer.
Before the latest concession, Dogara and his loyalists in the House had objected to ceding the position to the group led by Gbajabiamila who lost out during the intriguing contest for the leadership of the lower legislative chamber last month.
The concession followed a meeting, which was held in on Tuesday, July 7, between Dogara, some members of the House, and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, who happened to the immediate past speaker, in Abuja. The meeting, held as part of the peace efforts initiated by the APC governors, was the second leg by Tambuwal who had earlier met with the Gbajabiamila group to seek a common ground for a peaceful resolution of the crisis in the National Assembly.
However, the Gbajabiamila-led lawmakers have rejected the offer by Dogara, especially the condition on which zone can produce the House leader.
The group, in a statement, issued on Wednesday, July 8, by Rufai Chachangi rejecting the deal, said no agreement had been reached on the matter, as Tambuwal was yet to get back to them.
“We the 174 APC loyalists group of the House are aware that there was a private discussion between Governor Aminu Tambuwal and President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday evening at the State House. We are also aware that Gov. Tambuwal briefed the press that there would be a meeting between him and Speaker Dogara’s group the same day.
“To the best of our knowledge, no counter-offer has been made to the APC loyalists group after her first meeting with the Tambuwal peace committee wherein the APC loyalists clearly stated that in line with the party supremacy resolution reached at the last APC NEC meeting, the position of the party on Femi Gbajabiamila as the House Leader was not negotiable,” he said.
He said the argument of ensuring that the federal character principle prevailed in the distribution of principal offices in the National Assembly could not hold water, as that could not be sustained legally.
“We understand that the Dogara group is now playing the zoning card after same group had hitherto before the speakership election of June 9, 2015, rejected the zoning formula of the party prior to the mock election. Interestingly, the six geopolitical zones in the country are not recognised by the constitution. But if they wish to play the zoning card, then the Senate and House cannot be headed by the North,” Chachangi argued.
— Jul 20, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT