Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, said on Tuesday that the leadership tussle in the All Progressives Congress caucus of the House was almost over.
Dogara, who spoke while addressing some APC youths, under the aegis of the APC Youth Mobilisers and Professionals, who visited the National Assembly, said he would announce the principal officers of the House on July 21.
“We will announce the remaining four principal officers by the time we reconvene on July 21.We pray that this matter has come to an end by the grace of God,” the Speaker told the APC youths.
He said there had been a series of meetings to resolve the crisis in the party and that there were positive signs that the crisis was nearing its end.
However, Dogara did not specify whether the names to be announced on July 21 would be the same as those recommended by the leadership of the APC or he would stick to his position that each of the six geopolitical zones in the country should have one seat.
Rather, he went spiritual by telling the youths that leadership was ordained by God and that His wish must be respected at all times.
The Speaker argued that God must have ordained the emergence of certain political leaders, which was being seen as “a mistake”.
“If there were mistakes that were made, we must admit that God allowed these mistakes to make the way for another person’s destiny to happen,” he stated.
The lawmakers went into a forced break on June 24 after fighting broke out on the floor of the House over the sharing of principal offices.
The APC leadership had in a letter dated June 23 asked the Speaker to announce Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila (South-West) as the Majority Leader; Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa (North-West) as his deputy; Mr. Mohammed Monguno (North-East) as the Chief Whip; and Mr. Pally Iriase (South-South) as his deputy.
The North-East and the South-South later swapped positions.
But, the Speaker declined to name the officers, given the pressure from other geopolitical zones, which had complained of being edged out of the power sharing arrangement in the House.
Dogara, who was favourably disposed to giving the North-Central and the South-East one seat each in order to accommodate all the six geopolitical zones, also later told Nigerians that he was restrained by a court process not to name the officers.
The APC’s National Executive Committee later waded in through its governors’ forum, asking a committee headed by the Governor of Sokoto State, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, to look into the crisis.
The committee had met separately with the two warring factions, led by Dogara and Gbajabiamila, a former Minority Leader.
Although the Tambuwal committee did not make its findings and recommendations to the governors public, there had been speculations that the committee shared the same view as expressed by the Dogara faction.
On Wednesday last week, the Dogara group said it had conceded all four principal positions to the Gbajabiamila group, so long as the North-East and the South-West would not get additional seats.
The Gbajabiamila group promptly dismissed the concession and insisted on sticking to its position as already directed by the APC.
Findings showed that as of Tuesday when Dogara hinted that the crisis was almost over, the Gbajabimaila group had not shifted ground on its position.
However, the Speaker informed the youths that there was still one more meeting he needed to attend later same Tuesday, where he hoped the dispute would be finally resolved.
Earlier, the chairman of the APC youth group, Mr. Ismai Ahmed, had warned the party’s leaders against allowing the National Assembly crisis to derail the APC-led Federal Government.
Ahmed expressed displeasure that having worked so hard to ensure that the APC won the general elections, the youths had expected the party leaders to settle down quickly and provide good governance “and not fighting over issues such as sharing of positions.”
Ahmed said, “We won the election, but we must win the country too. The House must be put in order.
“We know that you have the capacity to handle the present issue and we want it nipped in the bud so that we can have a functioning National Assembly by July 21.”
Meanwhile, the peace moves initiated by the leadership of the APC to find a solution to the leadership crisis rocking the Senate might have hit the rock again as the Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole-led committee saddled with the responsibility has not been able to convene any meeting.
The PUNCH learnt on Tuesday that the committee members had not been able to meet because most of the principal actors in the crisis, including the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and his rival, Ahmad Lawan, had been away for the lesser hajj.
When contacted, the Special Adviser to the Senate President, Alhaji Yusuph Olaniyonu, confirmed that the peace moves might be concluded when the senators return from hajj.
“There is little that could be done at the moment because the principal actors are currently in Saudi Arabia for Umrah. I think the governors should be in a better position to give an update on the matter,” he said.
The leadership crisis in the Senate started when the leaders of the APC conducted a mock election to pick the candidates for the offices of the senate president and the deputy.
Lawan emerged as the party’s candidate for the office of the senate president but the loyalists of Saraki boycotted the mock poll and reportedly formed an alliance with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party to clinch the post.
The APC/PDP alliance in the Senate had produced Saraki as president while Senator Ike Ekweremadu of the PDP emerged as his deputy.
Notwithstanding the development, the Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie – Oyegun, had written to Saraki and nominated Lawan and three others as the party’s choices for the post of senate leader, deputy leader, chief whip and deputy whip.
However, the Saraki camp had insisted that the APC caucus in the Senate at the various zonal levels would determine their representatives who would hold the aforementioned positions.