Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Monday, July 27, 2015, warned all members of the parliament, mostly, members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), who are against his leadership, to conduct themselves orderly as the parliament resumes, otherwise, they would be severely dealt with.
Members of the APC Loyalist Group had been at dagger drawn with the speaker over the allocation of the Principal Officers seats meant for the APC in the lower chamber as the Speaker and his supporters under the auspices of Consolidation Group have consistently rejected the desire of the APC National Leadership to foist some persons on the parliament as the Principal Officers.
The plenary was thrown into chaos a month ago when loyalists of the Speaker and members of the APC Loyalist Group engaged in an open fight on the floor of the House as the Speaker refused to read the “anointing letter” from the party Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, and was preparing to read out names of his own anointed candidate.
While the House was on the forced break, the Speaker’s group played a fast one on the party by offering the contentious seats to some members of the APC Loyalist Group who speedily accepted it and dumped the agitation against Dogara.
However, the rest members of the Loyalist Group at a press conference on Sunday denounced their members who accepted the “Equity Formula” proposed by the Speaker and raised the alarm that plans were afoot to deny some of them access to the chamber as the plenary reconvene on July 27, 2015.
In a response to the Loyalist Group, the Speaker in a statement issued by Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas on behalf of the House Ad-Hoc Committee on Media and Publicity denied any plan to ban any member from the floor of the House today.
In another statement by Aminu Shehu Shagari, the chairman, House Adhoc Committee on Code of Conduct, stern warning was issued to loyalist of Femi Gbajabiamila that the plenary on Monday must be incident-free or they will be heavily descended on.
The terse statement from Shagari read in part: “Members may wish to note that the Committee has been saddled with the responsibility of carrying out the functions of the Standing Committee on Ethics and Privileges.
“As we resume plenary on Tuesday 28, July, 2015, the Committee wishes to call on all members to conduct themselves in an orderly manner.
“The Committee will no longer tolerate any unruly behaviour by any member of the House no matter how highly placed.
“Members who have grievances are advised to explore peaceful avenues of seeking redress instead of resorting to violence on the floor of the House, or the precints of the National Assembly.
“There are adequate sanctions in place to penalise any member who may want to disrupt the peace during plenary, Committee meetings or other legislative functions of the House.
“The House will deal with any member who violates the rules, disrupts plenary, or is found wanting of miscoduct and other sundry offences.
“Members are admonished to demonstrate high standards of ethics consistent with the important role of Lawmaking and the 8th Assembly Legislative Agenda which place emphasis on the wellbeing of the Nigerian people.
“We should all be guided accordingly.
The war against the loyalists of Gbajabiamila was continued in the statement issued by Ad-Hoc Committee on Media and Publicity as the committee said that all who alleged that they are being threatened are all liars.
The Dogara loyalists insisted that there was no plan to bar anyone from the Chambers but urged them to comport themselves as the plenary of the parliament resumes today.
The allegations raised that the Dogara leadership was primed to thwart the anti-corruption stance of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was also not true.
“Our attention has been drawn to statement issued by some members who lost out in the leadership contest on Sunday alleging that there was a plot to bar them from accessing the premises of the House of Representatives on Tuesday 28th July 2015.
“We wish to state that the 8th House of Representatives under the able leadership of our Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, is a responsible parliament that would never contemplate anything like that.
“It is the right and freedom of every member to attend plenary, Committee meetings and even access their offices without any hindrance.
“There was never a time the leadership considered blocking members from the National Assembly.
“The allegations can best be described as baseless, unfounded and figment of their imagination.
“Members are hereby advise to, in accordance with relevant provisions of the House Rules, Legislative Houses Powers and Privileges Act, and the Code of Conduct of the House, conduct themselves with decorum and in a manner deserving of honourable members of the House, during plenary, Committee meetings and other legislative engagements in the House.
“Similarly, the members also made alleged that the leadership was trying to truncate President Muhammadu Buhari`s anti-corruption crusade.
“We find this allegation as uncharitable and unbecoming of a House member. The Speaker Yakubu Dogara`s record of incorruptibility endeared him to the members which culminated in his election as Speaker on June 9th.
“One of the first major decisions taken by the leadership was to draft the Legislative Agenda which is primarily aimed blocking revenue leakages, introduce anti-graft legislations and help the government in its drive to restructure the country.
“We advise the members who lost put in the election of presiding and principal officers to emulate those who have accepted the olive branch extended to them by Mr. Speaker in the interest of peace, and stability of the House.
“Nigerians should ignore the allegations by members who lost out in the leadership election as it is both baseless and unfortunate” the group stated.