If the APC decides to go to war with Dogara, it will not be easy, as lawmakers, whose bread are buttered by House leadership, may not want to rock the boat.
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara must be having a good laugh at the All Progressives Congress (APC). After Dogara dumped the APC, the platform on which he contested and won the 2015 general election, the party leadership threatened to ensure that he is removed as the leader of the Green chamber.
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In fact, prior to the resumption of the House last Tuesday, a member of the House from Edo State, Honourable Peter Akpason had reportedly said the APC members in the Green Chamber were waiting for a directive from the party leadership to move against the Speaker.
Akpatason, a former President of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) reportedly told journalists in Benin City, the Edo State capital, recently that “ We, as party loyalists, will carry out any instruction we get from the party. We will study the situation when we get back. Whatever the situation is will be what we will react to.
“We cannot be happy to have a Speaker that belongs to another party. It is an aberration and has to be treated as such.”
However, since the House reconvened, not even a whimper has been heard from members of the ruling party, as regard the much anticipated push for a change of leadership in the chamber.
Surprisingly, even the national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, has suddenly gone mute, as not much is heard from him these days, particularly as it concerns the sack of Dogara as Speaker.
The outcome of the nomination processes across the political parties, especially the APC, seem to given the lawmakers and the leadership of the ruling party too much to chew that they seem to have forgotten that the Speaker has defected to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The nomination primaries of the ruling party, in which several members of the House lost their ticket to return to the Green Chamber, has caused so much discontent within the party. At the moment, a great number of APC lawmakers are more concerned about how they will get ticket to return to contest the 2019 general, than in joining any party leader to effect a change of leadership.
About 70 members of the ruling party in the House of Representatives are said to have lost out in the nomination politics in the just concluded party primaries. For these members , the most important thing at the moment is their individual political survival and not to do the bidding of any political leader.
Before, issuing his threat to unseat the House leadership, Oshiomhole obviously did not know that worse time to lead lawmakers to a battle, is the period immediately after party primaries. If the APC leader understands the times, he would have been more circumspect in issuing threats.
READ ALSO: Oshiomhole and APC’s primary elections
Besides, the outcome of the primary, which has seemingly taken the sail off the plan of the ruling party to move against Dogara, one wonders if the APC would have actually be able to effect a change of leadership in the House.
Apart from the fact the party at the moment does not have the constitutionally prescribed 2/3 majority to effect a leadership change, the Speaker seem to have played his politics very well. Apparently in anticipation of a time like this, the Speaker has tried to accommodate several members of the House in the scheme of things. In the last three years plus that he has been in the saddle, Dogara seem to have opened up “the space“.
When he assumed office, the Speaker raised the number of committees in the House to 96, with each committee having a Chairman and deputy chairman. The implication is that 192 members of House are “gainfully” engaged in the headship of the committees. What this means, is that if the APC decides to go to “war” with Dogara, it will not be very easy, as lawmakers, whose bread are buttered by House leadership, may not want to rock the boat.
…Time for politics unlimited
In the run-up to the 2019 general elections, one thing we are likely going to witness in the parliament until the current Assembly winds up in June next year is politics, politics and more politics. It is likely going to be politics all the way.
Therefore, there might not be so much business in terms of lawmaking or other core functions of the House.
Everything will be more of politics and horse trading, as the lawmakers battle to secure their reelection into the House and their political future. Everything and anything that is not the political survival of the individual legislature will be consigned to the background.
No doubt, there are serious pending issues before the National Assembly, like pending legislations, on-going investigations into several issues electoral acts amendment bill etc.
As serious as these issues are, they will likely be politicised, as lawmakers might be looking at them through the political lenses. They would be more interested on how to score political points for their political parties, in the run-up to the 2019 polls, more than anything else.
As you are reading this, some of the lawmakers have lost their ticket to return to the parliament in 2019, having lost out in the primary elections in their respective parties.
While those who won party nomination to contest next year’s general elections either as governors or to return to the National Assembly will be preoccupied with their campaigns, those who lost out in the nomination processes in the respective parties will either stay away from plenary, to nurse their losses quietly, or approach their duties in the parliament with anger and vendetta against anyone, they believe is responsible for their political woes.
However, one thing that is not going to be in short supply would be drama, and some form of activism by lawmakers.
Like is usually the case, immediately after party primaries, there is going a lot of emergency activists in the parliament. So, don’t be surprise if you see lawmakers, especially those who are now holding the short end of the stick, expressing very radical views on the floor of the House. It is the sign of the times.