Members of the House of Representatives from North Central and South East regions, who belong to the All Progressives Congress, APC, have rejected the party’s nominees for principal positions in the House.
At separate media briefings Wednesday, the lawmakers said the party’s choices of principal officers violate the federal character as it excludes members from the two regions, and instead, consider regions that already produced the speaker and deputy speaker respectively.
Stating the position of the APC north central caucus, Aliyu Patigi, flanked by 16 other legislators from the zone, said the they viewed with dismay the region’s exclusion from the principal positions in the eighth Assembly, as directed by the party.
The APC had sent to the House of Representatives speaker, Yakubu Dogara, names of members it nominated as principal officers.
In its letter, the party nominated Femi Gbajabiamila as its choice for House Leader, Mohammed Monguno as Chief Whip; Alhassan Doguro as Deputy Leader; and Pally Iriase as Deputy Whip.
But Mr. Dogara has made it clear he will not abide by the party’s directive.
In a move that further deepened the crisis, the North Central Caucus said on Wednesday it was rejecting the APC’s directive.
“We view with utter disbelief and amazement the purported letter published in the news media stating that the party’s position was taken after due consultation, when in actual fact we were never consulted as caucus,” said Mr. Patigi.
“We are also amazed by the directive of the party to the leadership of the House ‘to take necessary action’ on the purported choice made by the Party, which we see as a clear usurpation of the powers of Zonal Caucuses and their members as guaranteed by the Constitution and the Standing Rules of the House of Representatives.
“We therefore strongly reject the purported selection by the Party which we see as being in conflict with the principle of Federal Character as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic.
“The caucus believes strongly that there should be fairness and equity in the selection of other Principal positions of the House of Representatives following the emergence of both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. We believe it will be inconsiderate of the Party to consider both the North East and South West zones after both zones have produced the Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively.
“We have resolved to pursue this injustice with all civil and legitimate channels,” Mr. Patigi stated the caucus’ position.
Also speaking at briefing, Mohammed Zakari, from Kwara state, said APC has about 50 members in the House who are from the North Central, arguing that it was unacceptable for the party to overlook a zone with such large number of legislators.
Others members who attended the briefing included Abubakar Dahiru, Nasarawa State; Razak Atunwa, Kwara State; Ahmed Idris Plateau State; Umar Jibril, Kogi State; Mark Gbillah, Benue State; and Mahmud Mohammed, Niger State.
Others included Ajanah Kabir, Aliyu Ahman, Adedoyin Princess, Musa Onwana, Okolo Benjamin, Mohammed Bago, Olayonu Tope.
South East protests exclusion too
In a similar development, two members of the House of Representatives from Imo State elected on the platform of APC, Chike Okafor and Chukwukere Ikechuchu also expressed concerns with the choices made by the party in respect of the principal offices which left them out.
At a media briefing, they stated that zoning a principal position to the South East would help strengthen the party in the zone.