Two aggrieved lawmakers of the All Progressive Congress (APC) have asked a federal high court to restrain the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Yakubu Dogara from refusing to accept nominees sent by the party leadership as majority leader and deputy; and majority whip and deputy.
The APC loyalists in the House of Representatives have dragged the speaker of the House and his deputy, Yusuf Lasun to court over the sharing of key leadership positions in the House.
This move was the latest twist in a long drawn crisis that has engulfed the National Assembly since its inception on June 9, 2015 over struggle for leadership position.
The APC wanted Femi Gbajabiamila to be elected speaker and after Gbajabiamila was defeated by Dogara, the party projected Gbajabiamila as the Majority Leader, alongside other lawmakers as majority whip and deputy.
The Speaker and his supporters have turned down the party’s nominees, quoting federal character principle since the deputy speaker, Mr. Lasun, is from the South West, as Gbajabiamila.
In their bid to force the Speaker to shift ground, two loyal members to the APC leadership, Abubakar Abdullahi (Niger State), and Olajide Jimoh (Lagos State) have asked the court to grant an order restraining the Messrs Dogara, Yusuf, Clerk of the House, Sani Omolori, from stopping the announcement of the APC’s nominees as principal officers.
The APC lawmakers asked the court to determine whether Section 14 of the Nigerian Constitution on federal character applies to the internal workings of the National Assembly and, in particular, the House of Representatives with respect to the appointment of principal officers and, in particular the positions of Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader, Majority Chief Whip, and Majority Deputy Chief Whip.
“It is an indisputable fact that the positions in question are party positions, that is, principal offices of the APC, albeit that they concomitantly are also principal positions within the House of Representatives,” they said.
“Consequently, the 1st and 2nd Defendants (Speaker and Deputy Speaker) shall in accordance with Article 9.2 of APC constitution, which states, ‘members of the party shall be obligated to affirm the party’s aims and objectives’, implement the party’s aims as contained in the party’s nomination letter”.
Aside Gbajabiamila, the APC also wants Alhassan Doguwa (North West) as Deputy Leader; Mohammed Monguno, (North East), as the House Whip; and Pally Iriase, (South South), as the Deputy Chief Whip.
The National assembly both the senate and the House of Representative have been engrossed in leadership tussle since its inception on June 9, 2015.
The NASS members and the APC leadership have being at war over who should be the Majority Leader since Gbajabiamila lost to Dogara.
The APC national chairman recently wrote a letter to the Speaker on the principal officers election. In his reply, the Speaker cited federal character as the principle to be used in choosing other principal officers in the House.