The crisis of confidence rocking the House of Representatives escalated on Monday when one of the members in the camp opposed to Speaker Yakubu Dogara faulted the contents of his letter to the National Chairman of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, on the zoning of the house’s principal officers, accusing him of being economical with the truth.
Nasiru Sani Zangon-Daura, an APC member and President Muhammadu Buhari’s kinsman from Katsina State, called on the party leadership to be firm in dealing with Speaker Dogara over his handling of the leadership crisis in the Green Chamber.
He noted that the request of the party, as captured in the zoning arrangement adopted in the chairman’s letter, ran contrary to the principles of Federal Character, and as such, would not be followed by the leadership of the House.Dogara had in a reply to the letter from the APC chairman last week on how the party wanted the offices of Principal Officers shared among the geopolitical zones, told Odigie-Oyegun the reasons why the request could not be respected.
Dogara had insisted in his letter that the principles of Federal Character applied to appointment of principal officers in the parliament and as such, the decision of the party to give another seat to the South West, while the current Deputy Speaker is from the zone is considered unacceptable.
The speaker thereafter listed membership of the body of principal officers in the past, pointing out that the attempt to exclude the North Central and South East from the equation was unjustified.
He however suggested that the remaining four offices in contention – House Leader, Deputy House Leader, Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip, should be shared to the exclusion of the North East and South West where he and his deputy, Lasun Yusuf respectively come from.
However, Zangon-Daura, representing Zango/Baure Federal Constituency of Katsina State in his letter to Odigie-Oyegun, said the explanations by the Speaker was fraught with half-truths and outright lies in some instances.
Zangon-Daura, a frontline member of the “APC Loyalists Group” in the house, contended that the Speaker’s position was at variance with the Nigerian Constitution on the issue of federal character.
According to him, the application of the powers of the Federal Character does not, in any way, apply to the Parliament but only the executive arm of government.
He took on the Speaker on all fronts of Constitution provision, federal character principles implementation, morality, and the application of the House Rules, on which the Speaker had insisted the desire of the party on the adopted zoning arrangement could not be upheld.
According to Zangon-Daura in his letter: “Our attention has been drawn to the letter written to you by the Speaker Hon. Yakubu Dogara in response to your letter to him almost a month prior.
“We find Hon. Dogara’s letter fraught with several fundamental flaws in his analysis and interpretation of the Constitution and House rules. This is to set the records straight.
“We stand on our earlier position that whilst we accept and agree with the principle of Federal Character, the Constitutional provisions in that regard are strictly in reference to the appointment to the Federal Executive and its agencies.
“The principle of Federal Character is not intended to be given such elasticity to the extent that it would extend to the running and internal workings of the House, which is not a government agency and whose members are not appointed but elected.”