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Sunday, August 12, 2018

House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, is biding his time to switch from the All Progressives Congress

House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, is biding his
time to switch from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the
Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) because his future party does not
currently enjoy a comfortable majority in the chamber, The Nation
gathered yesterday.

It was also learnt that the Speaker and PDP lawmakers are
considering the adoption of the method used by Governor Aminu
Waziri Tambuwal when he was the Speaker ahead of the 2015
elections.
During that period, Tambuwal covertly romanced with the opposition
while clinging to his leadership position nominally on the ticket of
the PDP.
Sources said Dogara has already accepted the terms offered him by
the PDP, including a return ticket to the House in 2019 and retention
as Speaker if he is re-elected.
It is understood that Dogara has completed 95 per cent of the
defection formalities.
“I can tell you that Dogara has not defected because he is trying to
adopt the tactical style of ex-Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal. He is
waiting till the last minutes before defecting,” a source familiar with
his plan said yesterday.
“The Speaker is being diplomatic in his approach because he does
not enjoy a comfortable majority in the House, and with the way the
APC is going about its desperation to sack the President of the
Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and Dogara, he has to manage the House
terrain very well.
“Even the Deputy Speaker, Lasun Yusuf, is not yet with Dogara on
the defection. The situation in the Senate is not the same as the
House.
“Dogara is already using this period of recession to reach out to
members and build consensus.
“So far, the Speaker has completed all the defection processes
which can be put at about 95 per cent. All his followers in Bauchi
State have defected to PDP. They are only waiting for their leader.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “The PDP has accepted
all the terms of Dogara bordering on a return to the House and the
retention of the office of the Speaker if he wins his re-election.
“It is left to him to decide on when he will formally join the party.
What I am sure of is the fact that he might defect on or before the
PDP primaries of which date has not been fixed.”
When contacted, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the
Speaker, Mallam Hassan Turaki, was not forthcoming on the fate of
his boss.
The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) stipulates
that party primaries be held between August 18, 2018 and October
7.
Apparently to beat the INEC timetable and accommodate
prospective defectors, the leadership of the PDP has relaxed the
time frame for new members to contest elective positions in the
general elections.
The opposition party, in anticipation of high profile defectors into its
fold, had scaled down the deadline from 180 days to 30 days. Even
at that, the party has also made provisions for waivers to allow
members contest elections in less than 30 days of joining the party.
Expectations about the Speaker’s imminent defection have reached
a feverish pitch at the national headquarters of the PDP, even
though none of its top officials was ready to comment on the
matter yesterday.
A member of the House of Representatives from the Southeast said
yesterday that “the transfer widow in the Nigerian political league
season is gradually drawing to a close and every player, including
Dogara, is fully aware of this fact. He is only tidying up the loose
ends.
“He may be worried about other consequences of his eventual
defection or a backlash from the APC,but certainly not about the
security of his position of as Speaker.
“Let me make it clear to you that any call for Dogara’s impeachment
after his defection would be overwhelmingly defeated because a
good number of members among our colleagues in the APC will
vote against it.”
Another Rep who requested anonymity said Dogara’s loyalists in
the APC and PDP will ensure that he remains Speaker after his
defection.
“These days, both PDP and APC supporters are having regular
consultations and Speaker Dogara’s base has widened beyond
what it was when he won the speakership election.
“There is no unusual delay in his plan to leave the APC; it is just
that consultations have to be done at different levels of the PDP,
including discussions with members of PDP National Working
Committee , National Executive Council and various intra-PDP
structures.
“He (Dogara) may not be in a hurry until after the resumption of
plenary in September.
“While it may be confirmed that Dogara is leaving for the PDP, his
deputy, Honourable Lasun who lost his governorship bid as a result
of intra-party conspiracy in Osun state has opted to remain in the
APC.”
Asked about the likely consequences of Dogara’s defection in his
Bogoro/ Dass /Tafawa Balewa constituency in Bauchi State,a
source close to him said his popularity remains very strong, adding
that no matter what platform he chooses to contest, he stands a
good chance to win.
The source said:”his constituency of Bogoro/ Dass /Tafawa Balewa
comprises a Christian majority but they are a minority within the
predominantly Muslim Bauchi state.
“The traditional rulers in the three local government areas have
emphatically told other politicians in the area that no other aspirant
will get support to contest for Speaker Dogara’s seat except he
decides not to return to the Green chamber.
“Thirdly, his senatorial district comprises six local government areas
and even the state governor may need Honourable Dogara’s support
for his candidate to succeed.
At present, the APC still holds a majority of 192 members in the
House of Reps, closely followed by the PDP with 156.
APGA has five; ADC -four; Accord Party -one; SDP -one.
There is one vacant seat.
To remove Dogara as Speaker,240 members which is two-thirds of
the members of the House must be in support of any such move.
APC has confidence in him, says Oshiomhole
However, APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole said
yesterday that he and the party have confidence in Dogara.
“The APC as a party and myself as Chairman, we have confidence in
Hon. Dogara. I have had very useful interactions with him,” he said
at a press conference in Abuja.
He added:”we have had a couple of meetings. He has shared with
me in trust, his concerns that have to do with issues in Bauchi state
and I have taken steps to address those issues to the best of my
ability and I have shared with him that I am excited that we are
getting very positive results. So, Hon. Dogara has no problem
whatsoever with the APC and he did not do anything similar to what
Senator Saraki did.
“He emerged as Speaker and he also ensured as a patriot that an
APC member emerged as Deputy Speaker. He was not so desperate
as to mortgage that position to PDP in order to cling on to his
speakership. He knew the difference between personal interests and
his party interests.”

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