By Mohammed Ibrahim
At a time when Nigerians should assist the presiding officers of the two chambers of the National Assembly, Senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara, to focus on the passage of the 2016 Appropriation Bill and attend to other issues of national interest, it is disheartening to see that some people are engrossed in fictitious tales of alleged plan to form a new party.
On February 24, 2016, Nigerians woke up to read a sensational and highly misleading, and mischievous headline in a national daily to the effect that Senate President Bukola Saraki and House Speaker Yakubu Dogara were in the process of forming a new political party.
For the records, the story, from its premise is faulty. According to the story published by one of the national dailies, Speaker Dogara is looking for a new party to join because he left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to join the All Progressives Congress (APC) where he is now an aggrieved member because he became the speaker of the House against its wishes.
The story read in part, “strong indications have emerged that Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and some aggrieved members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have started talks aimed at launching a new political party ahead of the 2019 polls. An insider, who was privy to a secret meeting held on the proposed new national party, said all the emerging camps within All Progressives Congress, APC, and the main opposition PDP, would, at the end of the day come together and form a political party latest next year to prepare well to face elections”.
The story also alleged that “Saraki and some lawmakers, including senators and House of Representatives members, and a governor from North West, who are opposed to President Muhammadu Buhari and APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu, especially during the National Assembly election of principal officers, may not secure their second term tickets on the APC platforms due to their disloyalty.”
Though not holding brief for Speaker Dogara, I am sure he is not in anyway aggrieved. He is at peace with both Presidency and the APC leadership. This explains why there is atmosphere of peace and tranquility in the House under his able leadership.
Therefore, the story as published is nothing other than fiction, mischief, blackmail and the handiwork of desperate people. It is totally false and lacks credence. As noted earlier, Dogara enjoys a very robust relationship with his party, the APC, and, therefore, has no reason to want to jump ship to any new or old political party. It is, therefore, questionable where the story is coming from.
One may recall that this particular issue had been previously addressed by Speaker Dogara on July 4, last year when APC state party chairmen paid him a solidarity visit in the wake of his emergence as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The Speaker specifically stated that he could not possibly be thinking of defecting from a party that he helped to build, more so, when the party is doing well at the federal and state levels. He told his visitors then who were led by Alhaji Umar Haruna Doguwa, acting chairman of the forum, who also doubles as the Kano State APC chairman, that the claims were laughable.
He said it was wrong and ludicrous for some people to insinuate that he and other APC members were planning to leave the party they helped to build, saying, “I want to discountenance these ludicrous and laughable discussions that some of us in the House are even conniving with some people so that we can defect. Only a fool will believe that.”
“We have toiled day and night, we control the govern-ment at the centre, and in our states, then we pack and move to a house that we deserted be-fore, it is even unthinkable and unimaginable that someone will even make such asser-tions.”
The Speaker, also at that event, assured the party chairmen that he and all APC members of the House are not disloyal to the party be-cause “all of us contributed immensely to the building of the APC. It is our duty to ensure that the party survives. And they say it is only a mad man that will use the same hands that he used in building a house to pull it down. We are not mad, we are not fools.”
What is paramount in the mind of the Speaker, judging from his utterances and activities since his emergence, is not whether to defect to another party, but to ensure that national interest is upheld at all times and the interest of the masses protected to their full benefit.On this he once said, “There was one judge who once remarked that there is one consideration that is even above the constitution even though the constitution of the land is the supreme law, the grand norm but the constitution does not even acknowledge it. He said that consideration is national in-terest. If there is no Nigeria there won’t be Nigerian con-stitution.”
“As long as we put this national interest forward we are not going to have a prob-lem, we want to be in this for the long haul and not a sprint race but rather a marathon. Sincerely speaking we cannot afford that APC becomes an exclusive club of certain privi-leged people. We must spread our hands otherwise we will diminish. And that therefore means that the work has just begun especially in states that we are not in power.”
•Ibrahim writes from Kano.