YOU CAN’T HOLD THE COUNTRY TO RANSOM —OKOROACHA
The crisis in the National Assembly appears to be spreading in different directions, as sectional interests have been stepped up, to up an already combustible bitter contest that has kept that arm of government in a limbo, two months after inauguration.
Whirlwindnews.com, learnt on Friday, that the relationship between All Progressives Congress (ACN) Leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu and Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, has gone from push to shove over the place of the South East in the leadership of the House of Representatives.
With Tinubu, said to have sworn that he would not live to see the area produce a principal officer in the House of Representatives and Okorocha, meeting him on that count, both leaders of the ruling party, have practically gone into the rings to square up.
Tinubu’s position is said to have flowed from the poor performance of the party in the South East, where the APC, ended up producing only two members in the House of Representatives, without any in the Senate apart from denying President Mohammadu Buhari the required 25 per cent votes in any of its five states.
Asked about the various comments, Friday morning on television by the various camps, a source close to the APC captured the scenario thus: “It is a bitter contest that is going on at the moment. You can see it in their comments and body language. Tinubu is insisting that it will be over his dead body that a section that didn’t work for the party will be rewarded to the exclusion of the part that gave its all. He has sworn that what happened in the Senate with the emergence of the Deputy Senate President from the area, will not be allowed to repeat itself. His position is helped by the fact that no ranking member of the party is in the House.
“He is not talking. But you can see from what is flowing from his camp that it is the body of Esau and the voice of Jacob. His contention is that the issue of federal character will not apply, as it is not tenable, because there is no ranking member from the party in the House.
“You can also hear Okorocha saying a different thing. You heard him on TV today (Friday), saying that Gbajabiamila can wait. That statement was directed at Tinubu. Incidentally, the state is slated for the only slot given to the South East in the sharing arrangement by Dogara (Yakubu). From what I know, the crisis is not over. Even if the House resumes next week, there will be let in the fight, as everybody is practically digging in. Tinubu is not a pushover in the party, neither is Okorocha, who is the chairman of the APC governors. So, you can expect that there will be blood on the floor, however you look at it.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, had in a letter to the APC National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, a few days ago, expressed the readiness of his camp to drop its earlier hard stance and conceded the position of the House leadership to the Femi Gbajabiamila (Tinubu) camp, but insisted that the position would not go to the South West, which had already produced the deputy speaker, in a sharing arrangement, which he insisted must reflect national character, as proposed in the Nigerian constitution.
On Channels Television, breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, on Friday, each camp gave vent to the unfolding scenario, with former Speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly, Razak Atunwa, obviously canvassing support for Dogara, Leo Ogor for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Tunde Bank-Anthony, for the Tinubu camp, stressing their arguments.
Okorocha, who said that the situation was uncalled for, argued that personal interests should not be allowed to override national interest and to that extent, Gbajabiamila should wait for another time to get the position.
Atunwa, who insisted that the party was not superior to the NASS, even though, admitted it had a great role to play in the emergence of its leadership, argued that it would be completely antithetical if the legislature, which set up the grundnorm for the administration of the country, would be the same that would break the same rules.
Bank-Anthony, insisted that the South East had no place in the leadership of the House, because of the dismal outing of the party, adding that Dogora and his camp were only being sentimental, which had no role in the NASS rules.
Ogor, however said the PDP was ready to offer the APC tutorials on how to handle the situation and save the country from the current embarrassment, adding that the ruling party should not be allowed to continue to hold the country to ransom.