Thursday 11 June 2015

How Dogara’s Emerged As Speaker And The ‘coup’ Against PDP For The Deputy Speaker House Of Representatives

The emergence of Yakubu Dogara as the Speaker of the 8th House of Representatives may have come to many as a surprise, but for insiders in the House, it was not so.

In the build up to Tuesday’s inauguration, many things had happened that turned things around in favour of his main challenger, Femi Gbajabiamila.
After emerging as the party with majority of lawmakers for the 8th Assembly during the March 28 presidential and National Assembly elections, leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) failed to come up with a position regarding the zones it would take the key positions of the federal legislature to.

Serious politicking and horse-trading at the highest level of the party did not allow the result of the assignment given to a committee set up by the leadership of the party to come up with a formula on how to zone the positions of the Senate president and Speaker.

However, the party could not reach any consensus on the matter to the extent that the party had to conduct a mock primary between Gbajabiamila and Dogara.

Initially, the party summoned a meeting with its lawmakers-elect last Thursday, but it could not hold due to disagreement. However, on Saturday, the party succeeded in holding the meeting where it conducted the mock primary.

In the end, Gbajabiamila was declared winner by polling 154 votes to Dogara’s three, although Dogara’s supporters had staged a walk-out from the International Conference Centre (ICC), venue of the event.

But the Dogara group said they were going ahead with the contest. All attempts to have a genuine reconciliation failed, and in the end, Dogara emerged Speaker.

This is not the first time such a scenario played out as immediate past Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal ‘rebelled’ against his then party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and became Speaker ahead of the party’s anointed candidate at the time, Mulikat Akande-Adeola.

Prior to the election of Speaker back then, PDP leadership had handpicked Akande-Adeola to head the lower chamber, but majority of the lawmakers of the 7th Assembly decided to pick Tambuwal.

Many say Dogara became the favourable candidate because of what the party did to him. This gave the PDP the leeway to throw its weight behind Dogara, apparently as a way to avenge the support Tambuwal got from the then opposition parties.
But even at that, Dogara’s chances were not very clear until after the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate president much earlier.

When news filtered in that Saraki had won unopposed as his main challenger Senator Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe) was not on the floor to be nominated, Dogara’s supporters broke into jubilation.

This was because had it been Lawan had won, automatically Dogara would have been knocked out of the show as the lawmakers would not want to have both the Senate President and Speaker from the same North East zone.

Again, after Saraki’s emergence earlier in the day, many members felt that since the new Senate President is a Yoruba man, it would be wrong to cede the House Speaker to another Yoruba man, even though Saraki is from the North Central, while Gbajabiamila is from the South West.

But beyond that, Dogara was also believed to have been supported by some powerful forces including Tambuwal, although the man consistently said he was neutral.

Even though Dogara, as a loyal PDP member then, was believed to have worked against Tambuwal back in 2011 in line with his party’s position, the former Speaker later drew him closer and made him chairman of the House services and welfare committee.

Gbajabiamila, on the other hand, was at the forefront of Tambuwal’s bid to occupy the Speaker’s seat then that he was reported to have taken him to Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the then leader of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), who directed members of his party to vote for Tambuwal en bloc. Thereafter, both men became close to him.
Inside sources said Tambuwal had later made several attempts to reconcile the two contenders so that one of them would become deputy speaker but to no avail.

Consequently, the duo took the battle to the floor of the House on Tuesday and Dogara got 182 votes, 8 votes ahead of Gbajabiamila who scored 174 votes.
Dogara, who represents Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa-Balewa Federal Constituency of Bauchi State, first came to the House in 2007 and chaired the committee on Customs.

Born on 26 December 1967, Dogara attended Gwarangah Primary School, Bauchi State from 1976 to 1982. He had his secondary education at Bauchi Teachers’ College, Bauchi State where he obtained Grade II Teachers’ Certificate.

He proceeded to the University of Jos where he obtained Bachelor of Laws, LLB (Hons), and graduated with Second Class Honours, Upper Division.

He attended the Nigerian Law School, Lagos from 1992 to 1993 and was called to the bar in 1993.
He then proceeded to the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom where he obtained LLM (Masters) in International Commercial Law.

While in the House between 2007 and 2011, Dogara belonged to committees such as judiciary, capital markets and institutions, foreign affairs among others.

From 2011 to 2015, he chaired the House services committee and belonged to other committees such as judiciary, land transport, labour, employment and productivity, information and national orientation among others.

The ‘coup’ against PDP’s Ogor
PDP lawmakers reportedly voted for Dogara en bloc because there was an agreement that one of them Leo Ogor, who is the immediate past deputy leader, would be made deputy speaker, even though Dogara had initially picked Suleiman Yussuf Lasun, to run as his deputy.

So, when the news that Saraki emerged winner in the Senate and Senator Ike Ekweremadu, a PDP man, as his deputy, Ogor joined Dogara’s supporters to celebrate, hoping that it was a done deal for him too in the House.

However, soon after Dogara was sworn in as Speaker, it was time to elect the deputy speaker with Ogor expecting to be nominated as agreed. But the game changed at that point.

Some of Dogara’s supporters and some members of the PDP, including the immediate past House leader Akande-Adeola, approached the new Speaker, and discussed for a long time.

About 30 minutes after the discussion was over, PDP members who gathered around the Speaker started clapping in what looked like a triumph, and Ogor was escorted back to his seat by the jubilant PDP members.

Consequently, a PDP member from Imo State, Jones Onyereri, stood up to nominate Ogor, but Abdulmumini Jibrin, who had earlier nominated Dogara for the speaker’s seat, quickly jumped to Onyereri’s seat and persuaded him to leave Babangida Ibrahim Mahuta, an APC member from Katsina State, to make the nomination.

When he stood up, Mahuta, after introducing himself, nominated Lasun from Osun State, who had been earlier identified to run as Dogara’s deputy.

Upon hearing a different name, Ogor began waving his hand in disagreement and he eventually left the chamber temporarily, kicking against the decision. He later returned and had to be calmed down by some of his PDP colleagues before resuming back to his seat.

Another long period of consultations and discussion ensured and shortly after Alhassan Ado Doguwa from Kano State rose and nominated Mohammed Tahir Monguno as deputy Speaker.
The little calmness disappeared again as lawmakers groaned over the nomination of Monguno from Borno State as he is from the same North-East zone with the Speaker.

But there could not be a consensus despite advising Monguno to decline the nomination by some supporters of Gbajabiamila.

There were also attempts to pacify Gbajabiamila to take the deputy speaker’s position after the nominations of Lasun and Monguno, but he reportedly refused the offer. He was called to the Speaker’s seat and after some minutes of discussion, he went back to his seat.

Election eventually took place and Lasun emerged the deputy Speaker. 

In the end, it looked like a ‘coup’ to the PDP lawmakers who apparently fell into the trap set for them.

Via - Daily Trust

No comments:

Post a Comment