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Defection: APC Reps to determine Dogara’s fate on resumption

Defection: APC Reps to determine Dogara’s fate on resumption

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LEKE BAIYEWU

The All Progressives Congress Caucus in the House of Representatives has said it will take a decision on the defection of the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, when the National Assembly resumes.

A leader of the APC caucus, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, gave this hint in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH.

Namdas, who is the spokesman for the House, explained that the ruling party still maintained the majority in the green chambers.

He said, “The defection of the Speaker is a personal thing. It is not a House matter. Any member who wants to change his political party is free to do so. A lot of people have done that before now.

“The House cannot get involved in individual decisions. What I know is that we in the APC are still the majority in the House.

“What is happening in the Senate is not the same with the situation in the House. APC still maintains the majority seat in the House of Representatives. There is no controversy over this fact at all.

The lawmaker said the APC caucus would surely decide on Dogara’s fate on resumption.

He said, “When we resume, whatever happens, there will be a resolution and it is going to be the decision of the House. The caucus will also take a decision before I can make our position known.

“For now, we all have to agree that he has the right to defect, which is personal to him. Whatever decision the APC caucus takes, now or later, is what we will communicate to the public.”

When further probed on when the caucus would meet on the matter, the lawmaker said, “We are on holiday now, as you know.”

PDP Reps insist Dogara remains Speaker

However, some members of the PDP in the House of Representatives have said that Dogara will  remain the Speaker despite the threats by their APC colleagues over his defection to the opposition party.

The acting National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekin Nabena, had in an exclusive interview with SATURDAY PUNCH on Friday, said that the party would insist on the resignation of the speaker like it was doing for Saraki or both of them would be impeached.

But the PDP lawmakers insisted that Dogara would not resign as Speaker or be impeached contrary to the threat by the APC.

According to them, the APC will become the minority  party by the time the National Assembly resumes from its annual recess.

Speaking with SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday, Mr. Sunday Karimi, dismissed the threats by the APC and its members in the House.

Karimi said, “In the first place, the process of removing the Speaker is stated clearly in the constitution and in our standing rules. Before you can remove the Speaker, you need two-thirds (of members) but APC don’t have the two-thirds now.

“They should keep their mouths shut. They should realise that the Speaker was elected mainly by the PDP (caucus) and the Speaker still enjoys the support of the members of the House.

“Even today, I doubt if they still have the majority in the House. By the time we come back from recess, there are so many of them (APC members) who are now disgruntled. I am sure that the APC will lose a lot of members to the PDP”

Another member of the House, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stated that the APC did not have the required two-thirds of the lawmakers needed to impeach Dogara.

The lawmaker said, “The APC members are not the majority in the House. Even if they constitute the majority, the difference between us cannot be more than six. Is that enough to remove the Speaker? They need two-thirds to remove the Speaker.

“More than half of the APC members in the House are still loyal to Dogara. The Speaker will not be removed on the pages of newspapers, he will be removed on the floor and I am telling you that the Speaker still enjoys (the loyalty of) the majority of the members of the House in both APC and PDP.”

Meanwhile, some members of the House under the auspices of the Parliamentary Democrats Group have said they were keeping vigil at the federal parliament to protect Dogara against any threat of impeachment.

The group, in a statement by the spokesman, Mr. Timothy Golu, warned that any attempt to remove Dogara on account of his desire to seek reelection on the platform of the PDP would be resisted on all fronts by members across party divides.

The statement read in part, “Our attention has been drawn to media reports suggesting that the leadership of the All Progressives Congress is plotting to remove the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, after he accepted PDP nomination forms from his constituents to re-contest his seat.

“Much as we believe that this is an exercise in futility, we however want to state categorically that any attempt to instigate crisis or undermine the authority, rights or position of the Speaker on account of this political action, which is legal and constitutional, will meet a brick wall from members.”

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