Contrary to claims by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, that the leadership tussle in the All Progressives Congress, APC Caucus of the House was almost over, there are strong indications that the Lower Chamber may not reconvene next week due to the inability of the lawmakers to resolve their differences on the vacant four principal officers.
While addressing some youths under the aegis of the APC Youth Mobilisers and Professionals on Tuesday, Dogara said he would announce the principal officers of the House when they resume on July 21.
Nigerian Pilot however learnt that the groups led by Dogara and his rival, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, are yet to agree on the would-be occupants of the offices.
At its National Executive Committee, NEC meeting on July 3, the APC setup some committees to resolve the lingering leadership crisis trying to tear the party apart. One of the Peace Committees is chaired by former Speaker and incumbent Governor of Sokoto State, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal.
Last week, the committee met with the two factions in the House, but the issue at the centre of the crisis, which is the sharing of the four principal offices, was unresolved.
While lawmakers loyal to Dogara maintained that the letter written by APC’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun was neither approved by the National Working Committee, NWC nor the NEC of the party, they lamented that not even the House caucuses were consulted before the letter, allocating the positions, was drafted.
The lawmakers in the camp of Gbajabiamila, who called themselves loyal party members, are insisting that the House must obey the APC’s directive on the four principal offices.
But after a meeting with Tambuwal, the lawmakers loyal to Dogara, said they had conceded the position of the House Leader to Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila’s group, with a caveat that the House Leader must not come from the South-West or North-East.
In an interview with Nigerian Pilot, Hon. Linus Okorie (PDP, Ebonyi), said the House might not sit next week because the crisis which led to its adjournment on June 25 had not been resolved.
Okorie disclosed that less than one week to its resumption, both camps had not reached a compromise on the sharing formula for the principal officers.
The lawmaker, however, expressed confidence that the crisis would be resolved amicably so that they will get down to the business of legislation which they were elected to do.
Reacting on the development, House Ad-hoc Committee Chairman on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Mohammed Sani Zorro (APC, Jigawa), said that the House would not postpone its resumption date because of the crisis.
Zorro said that the seeming disagreement would be resolved when everybody is at the plenary.
On the allegation that the peace committee chaired by Tambuwal had failed in its mission to settle the matter, Zorro said consultations were still ongoing to arrive at a compromise despite the fact that the former Speaker was out of the country.
The lawmaker said Dogara was working closely with other interested parties to end the crisis.
He assured Nigerians that they would behave maturely when they resume next week.
Zorro said: “I don’t think the House is postponing resumption because of its inability to reconcile the matter at hand. The House works with a calendar. The Senate has shifted its resumption to July 28; you know sometimes they come out with a common calendar; at times, one chamber resumes a few days before the other. I assure you that if there is any postponement, it cannot be as a result of the disagreement.
“Disagreement is even better resolved when everybody is around, but what I can assure you, is that the Speaker is working hard to come up with a formula that will be acceptable to all the parties involved upon resumption. According to our intelligence estimate and projections, the House will achieve almost 94 percent stability by September.
“Yes, the former Speaker is still meeting with both camps to resolve the crisis. Right now, Tambuwal is out of the country to attend the lesser hajj, but there are other efforts being made by independent parties. The party itself is not sleeping; there are other efforts by goodwill ambassadors. It is not only Tambuwal; Alhaji Ghali Na’Abba is also spearheading such a peace effort with other former principal officers of the House.
“We will be of good behaviour when we resume and we will act maturely. The Speaker will do the needful by coming up with a formula that will be acceptable to the contending groups. That was why he has intensified consultations.”
Inside sources, however, said if both camps fail to reach a compromise before July 21, the last resort may be to conduct elections to pick the principal officers.