As the National Assembly prepares to resume plenary on Tuesday, the question on the lips of political watchers in the country is: will APC soft-pedal as Dogara replies letter to the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun?
Already, there are serious uncertainties on whether the House of Representatives will actually reconvene following its inability to reach a truce on the principal officers.
Before now, several efforts had been made to reconcile the Yakubu Dogara’s faction and the Femi Gbajabiamila loyalists, but little or nothing had been achieved. Even the Peace Committee chaired by former Speaker and Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal could not bring the two warring parties to come to a compromise.
In one of the peace meetings with Tambuwal, the lawmakers loyal to Dogara said they had conceded the position of the House leader to Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila’s group. They, however, insisted that the House leader must not come from the South-West or North-East contrary to the party’s position.
In a letter dated June 23, the APC, through its national chairman, had proposed that the South-West should produce the Majority Leader. This proposal by the party did not go down well with the pro-Dogara group and other PDP lawmakers, who argued that since the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Yussuf Lasun is from the South-West, the Majority Leader should come from another zone. They went further to say that all the six geo-political zones must be represented in sharing the principal offices.
In his reply to Odigie-Oyegun’s letter on July 16, Dogara instead zoned the Majority House Leader to the North-West geo-political zone. He explained that the zone has 86 APC lawmakers.
He also proposed to zone the post of the Deputy House Leader to the North-Central with 33 members, the position of the Chief Whip to the South-South, while the Deputy Whip should come from the South-East.He added that it would not be fair to give the same zone the position of the House leader while some zones had nothing.Dogara used the same explanation for zoning the deputy whip to South-East, instead of North-East proposed by the party.He explained that he could not take action on Odigie-Oyegun’s letter immediately or reply him because he was constrained by a court process served on him by some lawmakers from the North-Central and other interested parties.
The speaker added that this was the reason he wanted to call for a close-door session to brief members on the development on June 25, but that his action were misinterpreted, leading to a fracas on the floor of the House.
According to him, “Since then, efforts have been made by the party, progressive governors and other interested persons to intervene and resolve the issues.We want to place on record, our unflinching loyalty and respect not only to you as an individual, considering your antecedents, but also to the party, APC, under whose platform we were elected to the House.
“We have no intention whatsoever of disobeying your directives or the party’s position on any matter. We would, of course, prefer a situation where we are consulted on matters concerning the House before directives are issued and made public.
“We feel strongly that the issue of federal character in the election or appointment of principal officers of the House is a cardinal legal, moral and constitutional principle that should be respected by our party. It is however obvious from the letter under reference that this principle was not taken into consideration.”
Inside sources said that for peace to reign in the National Assembly, APC and indeed in the country at large, the party must soft-pedal at this point. They maintained that now is the time the party should walk the talk and do things differently.

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