Dogara Group Raises Concern In The Interest Of The Independence Of The Legislature
The 8th Assembly Consolidation Group which comprises of elected members of the House of Representatives has raised some concerns which it said bothers of the interest of the independence of the legislature.
In a press statement signed by Honourable Zakari Mohammed and titled “June 6, 2011 to June 6, 2015, the group ?while reaffirming it’s earlier stand that it was not part of events of June 6 where the mock election took place posed some question to some of the leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The statement reads in full:
8th ASSEMBLY CONSOLIDATION GROUP
From June 6, 2011 – June 6, 2015: Reversal of Fortunes
Further to our statement of Saturday June 6, 2015 which explained why we staged a walk-out from the pre-determined “straw election” contrived by the leadership of our party ,the All Progressives Congress (APC) and skewed in favour of one of the aspirants to the position of Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, we, members of the 8th Assembly Consolidation Group of Hon. Yakubu Dogara – the Legislators’ choice in the race – wish to raise the following concerns in the interest of the independence of the legislature, focused leadership, party unity and well-being of the Nigerian people.
Having initially consented to having the process halted, following our complaint that we were not put on notice that a primary election was in the offing, we wish to ask who the National Chairman of our party, Chief John Oyegun was referring to when after about one hour of the stand-off, he declared that he was under pressure to conclude the exercise?
Following our decision to stage a walk-out – ostensibly along with all our supporters – who then nominated Hon. Dogara for the Speakership position in the alleged straw election; who accepted the nomination; and how did he secure three votes in a hall that he apparently had no sympathizer?
Whose interest(s) are the quartet of the national chairman, chief Oyegun, National Vice Chairman, North, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, National Secretary, Mallam Maila Buni and National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed serving, when against all reason they rejected pleas to have the exercise (if it ought to hold at all), postponed by even 24 hours?
Indeed, why were other members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) not at such a high-stake meeting where a decision on the leadership of the National Assembly was to be taken?
Whilst there is no provision for the coerced insistence on primary election for the Speakership of the House of Representatives in the constitution of the APC, the rules guiding elections into such offices in the National Assembly, and indeed in the Nigerian Constitution, the norm, nonetheless, is that notice must be given for any kind of primary election in our polity. Thankfully, the National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed admitted to journalists at the venue of the Saturday show that no such notice was given.
If we must believe Lai Mohammed, why then were supporters of Hon. Gbajabiamila openly canvassing and distributing campaign paraphernalia, prompting Chief Oyegun, upon his entry into the hall, to proclaim that “all campaigns must stop now.’’
As members of the 8th Assembly Consolidation Group, we had embarked on the mission of electing our own leaders without external influence, primarily to further deepen the nation’s nascent democracy and protect the independence and respect which we earned for the legislature on June 6, 2011, when several of us as members of the 7th Assembly of the House of Representatives shunned party shenanigans to freely choose our presiding officers.
It is, therefore, with a morbid sense of foreboding that we shudder at the decision of our party to choose Saturday, June 6, 2015 (The 4th Anniversary of that quiet revolt that gave birth to our party, the APC) as the day to negate the very principles that we all joyously applauded and upheld. Some coincidence?
In the face of the short-sighted triumphalism that seeks to replace the noble goals of collectivism with the ignoble embrace of a gradual but steady descent to area-boy god-fatherism, many Nigerians are beginning to worry, whether indeed we intend to practice the change which we preach. Gradually, we are been compelled to accept a syllabus of concerted errors as the chorus and focal point of the change mantra which we chant.
Right through the campaigns for the National Assembly leadership, it has always been about one individual’s fancies: zoning and unzoning, desire to have control of the legislature, and open display of disdain for aspirants, who are labeled as not belonging to any of the legacy parties, the now defunct ACN, CPC and the ANPP. It is no surprise, therefore, that the action of the party leaders against the interests of Senator Bukola Saraki and Hon. Dogara can, allegedly, be located in their new PDP backgrounds.
It is, however, our contention that like converts to a new religion, individuals and groups which fused into the APC ought to be treated as equal founders and equal joiners. We could not have worked assiduously to replace a benign, yet ineffectual dispensation, only to embrace a manipulative “new” order.
As we restate our commitment to the founding ideals of our great party, we call upon our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, party elders and chieftains, and indeed all men and women of goodwill, to urgently wade in and halt this dangerous slide towards the personification of all that the party represents.
A broom – which significantly is our dear party’s symbol – can only sweep well when it is a bunch. The current contrived crisis is therefore not only repugnant to good conscience, but also a fore-shadow of, perhaps, what the future holds.
Consequently, we reaffirm our stand that we are not associated with the events of Saturday, June 6, 2015, while maintaining that the election of the Speaker of the House of Representatives cannot be conducted outside the hallowed chamber of the House – a process we are fully prepared to participate in on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, and by the grace of the Creator, who orders the destinies of humans, emerge, therefrom, triumphantly.
Hon. Zakari Mohammed
FOR & ON BEHALF OF THE 8TH ASSEMBLY CONSOLIDATION GROUP