A cloud of uncertainty currently surrounds the political plans of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, ahead of the 2019 general elections, investigations by SUNDAY PUNCH have revealed.
Dogara was rumoured to have defected to the Peoples Democratic Party in the last two weeks when the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress for the PDP.
But, SUNDAY PUNCH gathered that the Speaker withdrew his plans after some advisers told him to tarry a while before taking the gamble.
Investigations showed that a major concern in Dogara’s camp was what could be the likely result of the 2019 polls and which political party would assume majority control in the House.
One of his associates confided in SUNDAY PUNCH that Dogara loved to return next year to continue as the Speaker.
The source stated that to achieve his goal, the party with the majority would matter a lot to him.
The APC still controls the majority today with about 186 members as against PDP’s 162.
The source said, “In 2019, no one is sure how things will pan out. Dogara has less problems to contend with as a speaker today because he is still with the APC.
“No one is seriously demanding his resignation, neither is he facing any impeachment threat like the Senate President.
“The fear now is that if he hurriedly defects to the PDP to contest the election, his chances of returning as a speaker if the APC retains the majority become a tough call.
“On the other hand, if he remains in the APC to contest the election and the PDP captures the majority, it will be another problem for Dogara because the PDP, now hungry for power, will pick one of their own.
“A third option, which appears more appealing, is for him to stick with the APC, hoping it will retain the majority. He can then work across parties to get enough votes to remain the speaker.”
Investigations indicated that these permutations had been reviewed over and over lately in Dogara’s camp, a reason he had reportedly been unable to make up his mind.
But, another parliamentary aide pointed out that there was also uncertainty over the speaker’s return ticket in the APC, which the Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar, had since allotted to his own candidate.
The Speaker is said to be very popular in his Tafawa-Balewa/Dass/Bogoro Federal Constituency and may easily win election on any platform.
Dogara had shunned the ward, local government and state congresses of the party in Bauchi State and only made a brief appearance at the national convention in Abuja, where his speech dwelt more on the alleged injustice in the APC.
SUNDAY PUNCH learnt that the APC, soon after Adams Oshiomhole emerged as the National Chairman, reportedly moved in to resolve the local dispute between Dogara and the governor.
This intervention was said to have been done to prevent Dogara’s defection and other defections from the APC like the 37 members, who moved to other parties last month.
Commenting on the Speaker’s fate, the Chief Whip of the House and leader of the majority North-West caucus, Mr Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, had noted that it would be in the interest of the APC to have Dogara in its folds.
Ado-Doguwa, who is from Kano State, added, “I am also authoritatively aware that up till today, Dogara is a faithful member of the APC, and still ready for further negotiations on the perceived bitter relationship with his state governor.
“I, therefore, urge the national leadership of our great party to dispassionately intervene on the Speaker’s issue in Bauchi State and bring it to a logical conclusion.
“It is my candid opinion that we cannot afford to miss the Speaker from the APC family.”
SUNDAY PUNCH made unsuccessful attempts to get the reactions of the Speaker’s media office.
His Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Turaki Hassan, had yet to respond to any enquiries by SUNDAY PUNCH as of the time of filing this report.