Dissent, As Reps Adopt ‘Dogara Formula’
• There Was No Deal With Speaker – Zangon-Daura
THERE is still no end in sight to the leadership crisis that has engulfed the House of Representatives, since it was inaugurated June 9, 2015. Although what seemed like a peace move was held at the Lower House, yesterday, there are indications the initiative has done nothing to appease aggrieved parties.
The parley, which supposedly brought together members of the two warring factions, the Loyalists and the Consolidation groups, purportedly adopted what was termed the ‘Dogara Formula’, with representatives of either making statements suggesting the feud had ended. It was also learnt that collection of House members’ signatures needed to affirm the formula has reached advanced stage.
Curiously, the man at the centre of the crisis and former House Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, was absent at the venue. Members of the two factions also declined to answer questions from newsmen.
This comes as spokesman of the Loyalists, Sani Zangon-Daura, said that as far as his group is concerned, there is no deal with Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara on the sharing of positions of Principal Officers of the House.
In a terse statement made available to The Guardian, Zangon-Daura said: “The APC loyalists group, hereby, denies and unequivocally rejects any purported endorsement of a so-called formula on the APC leadership in the House of Representatives. Any member of our group, who claims to be part of this arrangement, acts on his own and not on behalf of the group.”
Dogara had, last Thursday, lamented that the protracted leadership crisis, which erupted after the current National Assembly was inaugurated, was a serious distraction to the smooth take off of the legislature.
In what seemingly put a nail on the coffin of their differences, the ‘Loyalist group’, which had backed Gbajabiamila accepted to align with the Dogara Formula, which had zoned the House Majority Leader to the North West, Deputy House Leader to the North Central, the Chief Whip to the South-South, and the Deputy Chief Whip to the South East.
The APC leadership had in a correspondence to the Speaker, proposed Femi Gbajabiamila (South West) as House Leader; Ado Doguwa (North West), Deputy House Leader; Pally Iriase (South South), Chief Whip; and Mohammed Tahir Mungonu (North East) as Deputy Chief Whip, respectively.
But this did not go down well with the Consolidation group, which supported Dogara, a development, which pitched members of the two camps at loggerheads, stalling the smooth take off of legislative business.
Addressing a joint press conference in Abuja, yesterday, the two factions ‘agreed’ to bury their differences and work together for the good of the country.
Speaking earlier on behalf of the Loyalists, Pally Iriase (representing Owan Federal Constituency of Edo State), said the group agreed to accept the Formula, which ceded the positions to them, after due consultations with the majority members of then APC caucus in the House.
“These positions have been accepted because they reflect inclusiveness, equity, fairness and justice. These positions have been accepted because Nigerians’ patience has been overtasked, and our sense of responsibility would be called to question if this crisis lingers further.
“We are very indebted and do salute the maturity, sense of responsibility and fairness of the Speaker, Hon. Dogara, who has ceded the major substantive positions to the Loyalist group. All other offices are to deputize behind the two major positions of Leader and Chief Whip. You cannot be fairer than that.
“For that reason we hold ourselves loyal to the party and to the cause of the teeming members of the Loyalty group, to ensure that their interests are protected in the affairs of the House of Representatives.
“We urge all those who may have wished that this crisis were resolved in a different way to think Nigeria first and embrace peace for the sake of having a respectable and enduring institution of the legislature in Nigeria. As loyal members of the group this is a fair arrangement to resolve the crisis.”
Also, speaker for the Consolidation group, Abdulmumuni Jibrin (APC-Kano), disclosed that intense consultations carried out by Dogara was what eventually led to the birth of the Formula that saw the emergence of what is now known as the Equity Team.
In line with the Formula, the Equity Team supposedly now has Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa (APC Kano, North West) as House Leader; Hon Buba Jibrin (APC Kogi, North Central) as Deputy Leader; Hon. Pally Iriase (APC Edo, South South) as Chief Whip; and Hon. Chika Okafor (APC Imo, South East) as Deputy Chief Whip.
Jibrin said both the Speaker and a great majority of the APC caucus in the House including gladiators in the Gbajabiamila’s group, like Hon. Mongunu, Hon. Doguwa and Hon. Pally, support and stand by the Equity Team.
He said the members have commenced collection of signatures, which has reached advanced stage, to affirm the Dogara Formula.
“All other interests, including those excluded from the Principal Officers, specifically Hon. Gbajabiamila and Hon. Mongunu, will be duly accommodated with commensurate responsibility to serve. Since the Speaker has about 200 positions to share out, many members will have the opportunity to serve the country.
“In light of this development, it is heart-warming to announce to you that the disagreement in the House, which many have erroneously labeled as crisis, has finally come to an end.
“We, hereby, express our deep appreciation to Mr. President for his fatherly disposition during this disagreement. We also commend our party for its patience and understanding and re-affirm our continued support for the realisation of its objectives. We thank Speaker Dogara for his maturity and gentle disposition towards ensuring that the disagreement is amicably resolved.
“We thank our other colleagues who disagreed with us for their willingness to dialogue and accept our compromise position for the peace and stability of the House and overall national interest,” Jibrin said.
But speaking to The Guardian, yesterday, an APC source, stressed that the resolution meeting was a farce.
It said: “There was nothing like that. Dogara was merely selling a dummy to the public with the intension of confirming legitimacy over his hardline position. A clearer picture of what is going on will begin to emerge on Monday.
“What Dogara is trying to do is use divide and rule by offering positions to Gbajabiamila’s group. A few of them have fallen for it. But the situation is beyond even Gbajabiamila. Saraki and Dogara derived their legitimacy from the party and the party has not changed its position, neither has the President changed his position. The party is supreme. Any agreement reached without the recognition and acceptance of the party position amounts to dancing naked in a market square.”