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Buhari, APC Reps Meet Today

Posted: Jul 27, 2015 at 12:03 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Rotimi Akinwunmi and Chesa Chesa,  Abuja

Ahead of tomorrow’s resumption of the National Assembly members from a five-week recess and at a time when all efforts at restoring peace have apparently failed, President Muhammadu Buhari, would today make perhaps a last attempt to unite lawmakers under the aegis of his All Progressives Congress (APC) in the lower chamber.

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

The meeting is slated for the new Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja at 5pm, as confirmed by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu.

The parley would very likely be the first face-to-face meeting between leaders of the two factions of the House of Representatives, which have been sharply divided since its inauguration last month over leadership positions at the same time.

Although the President pledged to work with whoever emerged leaders of both chambers of the National Assembly, he has frowned at the manner of the emergence of Bukola Saraki as Senate President and Yakubu Dogara as House Speaker.

The duo disobeyed party directives on its preferred candidates and got themselves elected by a majority of the lawmakers, in alliance with their opposition colleagues.

Although some peace deals had since been brokered amidst simmering voices of resentment, Monday’s meeting with the President is seen as a final opportunity for rapprochement among the warring factions.

Today’s meeting is also coming amidst allegations that Dogara and his loyalists are having an “unholy alliance” with the caucus of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the House to derail President Buhari’s anti-corruption agenda.

Addressing newsmen on Sunday, members of the rival Loyalists Group, want the Speaker and his supporters to cut their ties with the PDP elements in the House as a panacea for true peace.

The group also warned the Speaker’s camp against an alleged plans to lockout some of its identified members from the chamber when the parliament resumes tomorrow, threatening to raise hell if such move is made.

Spokesperson of the Group, Sani Zangon-Daura, flanked by other members, denied claims by the Dogara group on Saturday that a truce has been reached over the contentious Principal Officers seats in the House.

On Saturday, some loyalists of Femi Gbajabiamila who have been at loggerheads with Dogara over the sharing of the Principal Officers seats, openly accepted the olive branch extended by the Speaker’s camp, and accepted to serve as Principal Officers under his leadership.

The splinter group had said openly that they accepted the sharing formula proposed by Dogara’s camp that completely alienates Gbajabiamila from vying for any of the Principal Offices.

However, the group denied any formal agreements with Dogara or the Consolidation Group to which he belongs, recalling that in the elections of the Speaker and deputy, there was an unsanctioned and unholy alliance with “members of the opposition parties in the House and the 39 disloyal members of the APC in the House that connived to produce the Dogara Speakership.

“We are also aware that this unholy alliance is a bid to truncate President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda, which include his anti-corruption stance by using the National Assembly to, at the very minimum, slow it down if they cannot stop this Presidential initiative dead cold.

“We are also not aware of any concession made by the Speaker Dogara Group to the APC Loyalist Group contrary to insinuations in the media,” Zagon-Daura told journalists.

He further explained that to have a genuine agreement, the Dogara group would have to sever relationships with the PDP Caucus in the House.

“We hereby restate for the avoidance of any doubt that this struggle is not about Femi Gbajabiamila, Yakubu Dogara, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, Tahir Mongunu or Pally Iriase. This is about being loyal and committed to the party’s manifesto, which amongst others, include the fight against corruption by President Muhammadu Buhari”.

The group listed those to be locked out of plenary tomorrow to include: Aliyu Madaki, Rufai Chanchangi, Philip Shaibu, Mohamed Soba, Isa Aliyu Zuru, Hon. Ahmed Babba Kaita, Ismaila Sulaiman, James Faleke, Yusuf Ikara, Abdullahi Salame and Abubakar Chika.

“We strongly warn Speaker Dogara that we will not take any breach of our members’ privileges lightly and we will hold you, Speaker Dogara personally responsible,” he said.

He said the group has accepted the apology by Tahir Mongunu, said to have been misled into attending Saturday’s press conference organized by the Dogara group and a splinter of the Gbajabiamila supporters.