• Lawan, Akume out; Ndume, Na’Alla win in Senate

houseMEMBERS of the House of
Representatives yesterday
threw caution to the wind,
as they embarked on
physical combat over the
selection of the remaining
principal officers for the
green chamber.
The free-for-all was
between All Progressives
Congress, APC, lawmakers
and the Peoples Democratic
Party, PDP, counterparts
over disagreement on the
nominees presented by the
ruling party’s leadership for
the affected offices, and the
candidates preferred by the Hon. Dogara enjoys massive support from the PDP lawmakers who influenced his emergence as the speaker of the lower house.
The fracas disrupted the day’s proceedings for almost two hours.
Trouble started when Dogara called for a motion to enable the House go into an executive session.
But the APC lawmakers insisted that the speaker should first read a letter from the party as regards the selection of principal officers of the House.
The Ad-hoc committee chairman on Rules and Business, Hon. Orker-Jev Yisa had barely stood up to move the motion when APC lawmakers led by Hon. Ali Madaki (Kano) rushed to seize the mace.
He was, however, overpowered by the Sergeant-at-Arms and some PDP lawmakers.
While the fracas lasted, all the PDP members shielded the speaker from possible attack.
As the ugly incident lingered, Hon. Leo Ogor (PDP Delta) and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila (APC Lagos) were seen on different occasions conferring with the speaker on the next line of action.
Gbajabiamila was strongly resisted when he wanted to address his APC lawmakers to calm down.
Incensed by the development, the deputy speaker, Hon. Yussuf Lasun threatened to fight whoever attacks him.
“I am a Yoruba man and I will fight,” he stated.
Calm gradually returned to the floor at about 12:35pm when most of the weary-looking lawmakers began to take their seats.
While the free-for-all lasted, the House was filled with shout of “APC shame! APC shame!”
The APC lawmakers quickly countered, singing: “APC power, APC power.”
In his remarks, Dogara expressed dissatisfaction that despite the change promised by the APC, Nigerians were yet to see anything close to it.
He therefore called on the APC leadership to concentrate on policies and programmes that would affect Nigerians positively, instead of indulging in the affairs of the House.
Dogara said: “We are very fortunate; let me remind us of the fact that we are very fortunate. In a nation of 170 million people, only 360 of us are selected or elected to represent the people and we should be grateful to our constituents for sending us here.
“To be candid, we have promised so much in the course of our elections and even the very party I belong to, the APC, we have promised change and Nigerians expect us to really talk about those matters; those issues that bother them most. They want to hear us talk about unemployment and poverty. In my region they want us to address insecurity and as long as this House is divided and not united, we cannot achieve that.
“We have been down this rough road before so I plead with all honourable members that as leaders all hands must be on deck to enable us achieve the desired unity in other to move this House forward, that is the responsibility we owe.
“As to the issues that led to the fracas today (yesterday), we will sit down as leaders and resolve the matter as quickly as possible and that is what we will do by the Grace of God,” he said.
Dogara thereafter adjourned plenary till July 21, 2015.
Shortly after the House had adjourned, APC members loyal to the party told the House Press Corps that the fracas was in reaction to the illegal and unconstitutional action taken by the speaker.
Hon. Nasiru Sani Zangon Daura (APC Katsina), who spoke on their behalf, noted that in his usual tradition, the speaker was bent on disregarding the wishes of the party caucus in the House.
He stressed that under extant laws and House rules, the speaker cannot appoint, select or dictate how party principal officers would emerge.
“We are aware of a letter sent by our party dated 23rd June, 2015, conveying the approval of the party’s principal officers vis a vis the APC House Leader, the APC Chief Whip, the APC Deputy House Leader and the APC Deputy Chief Whip for the House of Representatives.”
Also briefing the journalists, the PDP caucus led by Hon. Leo Ogor described the incident as “very unparliamentary.”
Ogor said that it was a bad precedence for the APC.
He, however, wondered what manner of change the party intended to bring to Nigerians.
The House Ad-hoc Committee on Media led by Hon. Sani Soro (APC Jigawa) said the conduct of his colleagues was contrary to the Standing Orders of the House.
Ndume, Na’Alla emerge Senate Majority Leader, Deputy
At the Senate session, the lawmakers seemed to have found a way out of the leadership crisis among the APC senators, with Senate President Bukola Saraki announcing Senator Ali Ndume (North East) and Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (North West) as Senate leader and deputy leader respectively.
He said they emerged from their regional caucuses of the APC.
Saraki, who inaugurated two committees (Ad-hoc Committee on Legislative Agenda and the Committee on Finance) at the Senate plenary, also announced Senator Francis Alimikhena (South South/Edo State) as the deputy whip.
Although Senator Kabiru Marafa, a frontline advocate for the pro-Ahmed Lawan group, raised objection through a point of order, stressing that the Senate cannot override the position of the party as regards the sharing of leadership positions.
He argued that it was inappropriate to read letters from any caucus when the Senate president could not read a letter from the party leadership on Wednesday.
“If you cannot read the party’s letter, you cannot read any letter from any caucus as no caucus is bigger than the party,” Marafa insisted.
Marafa’s point of order was countered by Senator Danjuma Goje who also cited Order 53 upon which he stated that “standing on the same order and the ruling of yesterday that the issue has been settled by the Senate and therefore should not be brought up again.”
Saraki, also referring to Order 53 (6), said it would be out of order to attempt to reconsider a specific issue which the Senate had already ruled on.
He also explained that Order 26(j) says interpretation of rule is at the discretion of the Senate president, Saraki ruled Marafa’s point out of order.
Meanwhile, members of the Finance Committee are Senators Ndume (APC Borno North), Ahmed Sani (APC Zamfara West), Shaaba Lafiagi (APC Kwara North), Sonni Ogbuoji (PDP Ebonyi South) with James Manager (PDP Delta South) as chairman.
Others are Senators Gbenga Ashafa (APC Lagos East), Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central), Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West) and Ben Murray-Bruce (Bayelsa East).
The Legislative Agenda Committee members are Senators Babajide Omoworare (APC Osun East), Duro Faseyi (PDP Ekiti North), Tayo Alasoadura (APC Ondo Central), Sonni Ogbuoji (PDP Ebonyi South) and Uche Ekwunife (PDP Anambra Central).
Other members are Senators Hope Uzodinma (PDP Imo West), Ben Murray-Bruce (PDP Bayelsa East), George Sekibo (PDP Rivers East), John Enoh (PDP Cross River Central), Mohammed Hassan (Yobe South) and Ndume (APC Borno North).
There are also Senators Binta Garba (APC Adamawa North, Kabiru Gaya (APC Kano South), Shehu Sani (APC Kaduna Central), Bala Na’Allah (APC Kebbi South), David Umoru (APC Niger East) and Joshua Dariye (PDP Plateau Central).
The Senate thereafter adjourned plenary till July 21, 2015.

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