Members of the House of Representatives loyal to Speaker Yakubu Dogara have agreed to concede the position of House Leader to the group loyal to Femi Gbajabiamila, as part of efforts to restore peace to the House.
The House has been enmeshed in crises following Mr. Dogara’s election against the wish of his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The APC had supported Mr. Gbajabiamila to emerge speaker.
After losing the speakership election, the party nominated the lawmaker as the House Majority Leader, a proposal since opposed by Mr. Dogara.
The concession follows a meeting, which held Tuesday evening between Mr. Dogara and some members of the House, with the immediate past Speaker and current governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal in Abuja.
APC governors had, after their meeting last week, formed a committee led by Mr. Tambuwal to mediate and find a solution to the crisis in the House.
A member of House who attended Tuesday’s meeting told PREMIUM TIMES that lawmakers had insisted that on the of principal officers of the House ,“equity and fair play should be the dominant consideration”.
“There was a consensus that in order to achieve peace and accommodation in the House, that the position of the House Leader be conceded to the Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila Group to nominate a candidate,” he said.
He added however, that “considering the constitutional requirement of equitable representation and federal character, such candidate should be from any zone other than the North East and South West Zones that had already produced the Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively”.
Our source added that the members informed Mr. Tambuwalthat there were already pending suits from members and groups from the South East and North Central Zones on the matter and that only a fair resolution that carries every zone along would be acceptable.
Blames Oyegun for crisis
Another member, who also declined to be named because he was not permitted to speak to the media on the matter, informed us that a cross section of members heaped the blame regarding the crisis on the National Chairman of the APC, John Oyegun.
“Honourable Members at the meeting were of the view that relevant organs of the Party such as the National Working Committee, National Caucus and National Executive Committee, NEC, of the Party were not consulted by the party secretariat before communicating the position of the party on the National Assembly leadership issue,” he said.
He added that while expressing their respect for the person of the National Chairman of the Party, they observed that the functions of the legal organs of the party cannot be performed by just a functionary or select functionaries of the Party.
“Honourable Members have taken a stand that where the concession of the position of House Leader does not resolve the matter, then the emergence of the Principal Officers be resolved through free and fair election in accordance with the Standing Orders of the House and established precedents,” he said.