Some members of the All Progressives Congress’ faction in the House of Representatives known as the Loyalists Group on Sunday denied that the leadership tussle in the legislature was over, contrary to Saturday’s public announcement by key figures of the group.
Rather, the lawmakers said there could only be “genuine agreement” on how to achieve peace in the House if the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, would sever his “unholy ties” with the Peoples Democratic Party members of the House.
This came amid mounting tension ahead of the rescheduled resumption of the House on Tuesday.
Dogara is also set to name the principal officers of the House tomorrow.
However, the loyalists insisted that discussions on peace must be with all the members of the group lead by a former Minority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila.
The members, who addressed a news conference in Abuja, argued that an APC-dominated legislature with a leadership by the PDP was not their idea of the change the APC worked hard to attain at the 2015 general election.
The spokesman for the group, Mr. Nasir Zangon-Daura, gave this position at the news conference, where 21 out of the 174 members of the group showed up.
However, Zangon-Daura explained that he had the mandate of the absentee members to speak on their behalf.
He denied that any concessions or offers on how to resolve the crisis had been offered to the group, against a position taken by key members of the group in Abuja on Saturday.
Zangon-Daura said, “To have a genuine agreement that is not tainted by the PDP, the Dogara group will have to first of all cut off the umbilical cord between it and the PDP and secondly, engage in candid reconciliatory discussions with our group as a whole through our approved members under the leadership of Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.
“We are, however, aware of the Trojan offers of party principal officers’ positions being made to individuals in our group in their individual capacities in order to lure them from our group.
“We, hereby, restate for the avoidance of any doubt that this struggle is not about Femi Gbjabiamila, Yakubu Dogara, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, Mohammed Monguno or Pally Iriase.
“This is about being loyal and committed to the party’s manifesto, which among others, includes the fight against corruption by President Muhammadu Buhari.”
Zangon-Daura recalled that efforts to resolve the leadership tussle culminated in an intervention by the APC’s Governors’ Forum through the Governor of Sokoto State, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal.
He noted that, having met the loyalists group led by Gbajabiamila and the Consolidation Group of Dogara, the former expected the Tambuwal committee to convene a meeting of the two sides for further discussions.
Zangon-Daura added that while this second phase of meetings was being awaited, it came to them as a surprise that the Dogara group had appointed principal officers and was about to unveil them on Tuesday.
“This second meeting between Governor Aminu Tambuwal and our group has yet to take place,” he said.
On Saturday, Ado-Doguwa (Kano State); Iriase (Edo State); and Monguno (Borno State) seen as strong mobilisers of the loyalists group, had declared support for Dogara, a move that confirmed the crack in the group.
The lawmakers claimed that they had realised it was better to place the interest of the country ahead of all other considerations to accept the positions of the principal officers of the House as proposed by Dogara.
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