The crisis rocking the House of Representatives over allocation of Standing Committees yesterday deepened as lawmakers on the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC, exchanged blows.
Chairman House Committee on FCT, Herman Hembe (Benue APC), who is one of the supporters of Speaker Yakubu Dogara and Aliyu Da’u Magaji, (Jigawa APC), who is a supporter of Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, allegedly exchange blows at the lobby to the Chambers, over argument on the composition of the committees.
This was even as Gbajabiamila escaped an impeachment plan by members of the APC Caucus.
Magaji was said to be holding discussion with his counterparts, while Hembe stood alone, waiting for a planned APC caucus meeting that was meant to impeach Gbajabiamila.
It was learnt that Magaji was lamenting the unwillingness of Dogara, to reverse the composition of the House Standing, a development that reportedly irked Hembe, leading to the exchange of hot words and blows.
It was also learnt that the impeachment plan against Gbajabiamila failed, as the caucus meeting ended in quarrel.
Deputy Speaker, Sulaimon Lasun, had to calm frayed nerves and put an end to the plot to impeach Gbajabiamila.
The Speaker, it was learnt also engaged the Majority Leader in a meeting in his office, in a bid to restore peace.
The move to impeach Gbajabiamila, it was learnt, may not be unconnected with his uncompromising stand on the committee issue.
Gbajabiamila’s camp had boycotted the inauguration of the House Standing Committees on Monday.
Members of his camp were said to have met five days ago and insisted that the Speaker reversed the committees’ composition.
Ahmed Kaita (Katsina APC), who walked out on the meeting in anger, accused Dogara of working with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP legislators in the House, against the will of APC and President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Just about five days ago, he promised to get back to the party by Monday, and it was the same Monday that he decided to flout the rules of the party.
“Yesterday, while we were having a meeting at the National Secretariat of party, texts were flying by the same group of people that do not want the APC to succeed in this House that Gbajabiamila is going to be removed today, and they actually planned it.
“So we came and they couldn’t do nothing. They know we have the majority, and as long as this house would be dictated to by the PDP, we would resist it.
“If Dogara wants us to be with him, fine and good, he is one of our own, and we do not have any problem with being with him.
“If only he can align himself with our party manifesto, and the wishes of Mr. President, he would have a smooth ride because he has majority, but as long as he would be flouting the orders of the party, as long as he would be instigating some unscrupulous members to say they would remove preferred candidates, or office holders of the party, we would resist it,” Keita said.
On his part, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, who is Majority Whip, said there was no plan to impeach Gbajabiamila, claiming that the House is united.
“Enough of this misunderstanding among APC family. You are all aware of what happened yesterday where the Speaker chaired a special session to inaugurate the standing committees.
“I want to tell you on behalf of the leadership of the House that there is no crack in the leadership whatsoever.
“Nigerians are tired of this waiting. We were elected to come and do our work as members of the House of Representatives and members of the National Assembly by extension.
“I want to tell you precisely that by what we did yesterday, the flight of the 8th National Assembly has taken off. It has not only taken off, it has taken off very successfully, and it’s a flight that is a four year bound flight with Dogara as the pilot.
“I want to tell you that we have maintained the status quo for now and Femi (Gbajabiamila) is our leader in the House of Representatives and even the speculation made that there is any move to remove Femi as our leader is unfounded and it is not from the leadership of the House or the APC.
“Look, this morning, I had a very close consultation with the leaders of our party, specifically Senator Lawan Shuiabu, who is our deputy national leader and I told him that there is no cause for alarm in the House of Representatives, that we are moving forward as one.
“There is no two-way about our unity. This party was founded on unity and the House of Representatives as it is today is very much poised and ready to work with President Muhammadu Buhari to deliver the change mantra we promised Nigerians.
“Every other speculation in this regard is baseless and unfounded,” he said.
The infractions actually led to late resumption of plenary, which started well behind schedule, as the Speaker eventually emerged from his meeting coming into the Green Chamber in company of Gbajabiamila.
Additional Content Credit: National Mirror