On Wednesday June 1, 174 members of the House of Representatives of the All Progressives Congress (APC) appealed to President Buhari to save the integrity of the Party by cautioning its 39 errant members to put the Party first. Recently these 39 members joined with the opposition Party in the National Assembly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to vote in Senate President and House Speaker.
These APC members expressed concern that these 39 APC members would continue to collude with the PDP. They also described their conduct as aimed at splitting the APC, and thereby giving leeway for many members to decamp to the PDP.
“It is noteworthy that Mr. President and the Governors had strongly put their weight behind the Party and had severely admonished the House to abide by the Party’s position. The 39 APC members in the House continue to collude with the PDP to flagrantly disobey Mr. President, the Governors, and the Party with a view to bringing the Party and Government to ridicule before Nigerians,” the members said.
They recalled that on June 9, the 174 APC members in the House, following the directives of the Party, voted for Hon Femi Gbajabiamila and Hon Mongunu as Speaker and Deputy Speaker, while the 39 other APC members colluded with the PDP to elect the current Speaker and Deputy Speaker giving PDP an eight votes of superiority. That Party directive, they noted, had been based on the mock primaries conducted for all aspirants competing for the two positions.
They pointed out that, whereas Gbajabiamila and Mongunu openly congratulated the winners and continued to cooperate with them in the House, the opposition and the 39 APC members have continued to hold the APC leadership in contempt.
“Whereas we the 174 Party faithfuls and loyalists had been obedient to the Party, what shall be the reward of our loyalty to the Party?” they asked, noting that only the successful mediation of the President would save the Party from further embarrassment.
TEXT OF THE SUMMARY OF POINTS OF DISCUSSION WITH PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI ON JULY 1, 2015 BY THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 174 APC MEMBERS IN THE 8TH HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
1. On the 9th of June, 2015, 174 APC members in the House faithfully and loyally followed the directives of the Party to vote for Hon Femi Gbajabiamila and Hon Mongunu as Speaker and Deputy Speaker while 39 other APC members colluded with the opposition party, the PDP, to elect the current Speaker and Deputy Speaker with only eight votes superiority. The party directive was based on the mock primaries conducted for all aspirants to the two positions.
2. Whereas the candidates of the majority (Gbajabiamila and Mongunu) openly congratulated the winners and continued to cooperate with them in the House, the opposition and the 39 APC members continued to hold the APC leadership in contempt.
3. Whereas we the 174 Party faithfuls and loyalists had been obedient to the Party, what shall be the reward of our loyalty to the Party?
4. The Party has chosen not to punish the 39 APC members including the elected Speaker and Deputy Speaker, but chose to direct, as it is customary and conventional, how the other four (4) Principal Officers should be distributed. Alas! The opposition and the 39 members continue to hold the ruling Party in contempt by disobeying the Party.
5. Whereas, the beneficiaries of the disobedience are citing Federal Character Principle as the main reason for their disobedience, His Excellency should note that:
(a) During the 6th Assembly (2007-2011), the following officers were elected from the NORTH-WEST (I) The President and Commander in Chief (ii) Ismaila Kawu(III) Hon Mutawalle. The two occupied 2 out of the 4 principal officers positions of the Minority Party( iv) Hon Aminu Tambuwal was elected Deputy Chief Whip.
(B) Also during the 7th Assembly, the following officers in Government were elected from the NORTH-WEST (I) The Vice President (II) The Speaker, Rt. Hon Aminu Tambuwal (III) Hon. Ismaila Kawu, Deputy Minority Leader (IV) Hon. Garba Datti, Deputy Minority Whip. There was never an issue of Federal Character in these instances.
6. It should be noted that the Federal Character principle as embedded in chapter of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) IS NOT JUSTICIABLE AND OF NO LEGAL CONSEQUENCE. Its provision in S.14 of the Constitution is only applicable to appointments in Federal Ministries and Agencies. The House of Representatives is not an agency of the Federal Government and the principal officers positions are elective and not by appointment. If the Federal Character is applicable to the National Assembly, then both the Senate President and the Speaker cannot come from the North, one of them should be advised to step down.
7. It is noteworthy that Mr. President and the Governors had strongly put their weight behind the Party and had severely admonished the House to abide by the Party’s position. The 39 APC members in the House continue to collude with the PDP to flagrantly disobey Mr. President, the governors and the Party with a view to bringing the Party and Government to ridicule before Nigerians.
8. The conduct of the 39 APC members colluding with the PDP is tantamount to affront, ultimately targeted at polarising our Party so as to give room for many of them to decamp to the PDP.
9. It is therefore imperative for Mr. President to take a stand and save the integrity of the Party, by cautioning, the 39 members, which include the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, to respect, honour, and obey our Party Leaders and their directives.
10. In conclusion, Mr. President, we as loyal Party members shall continue to abide by the Party constitution, respect and honour our party leaders and their directives. We strongly appeal to you to direct the Speaker to return to our fold and be truly elected Speaker on APC platform. He should be directed to announce the other four Party Principal officers positions as directed by the Party as it has always been the convention.
11. We sincerely appreciate Mr. President for the audience trusting in his ability to successfully mediate so as to save our great Party, the APC, from further embarrassment.