NASS leadership: Buhari recants, intervenes *We’re not short on options, PDP can’t decide – APC *Journalists, staff barred from NASS building

By Editor on 09/06/2015

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It is becoming grittier at the National Assembly, where both the Senate President and House of Representatives Speaker are going to emerge among other principal officers today, with President Mohammadu Buhari now ready to intervene in the process, a recant on his earlier firm decision not to do during and after the inauguration of the Eight Assembly.

Buhari had before now stated clearly that he would not interfere in in the process of deciding who becomes what in both chambers, just as he would not expect them to decide the manner he appointed his own officials in the spirit of separation of powers.

However, the bitter clamour between candidates struggling for the positions of leadership and the danger it portends, may have forced the hands of the President to reconsider his position and intervene in a situation, which could lead to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), holding the ace in the process, in the All Progressives Congress (APC) dominated Assembly.

This is not the first time members of NASS disregarded the position of the party in making a choice for its leadership, as the emergence of Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal as the Speaker of the House of Representatives in 2011 largely went against the PDP decision, the dominant party at that time.

Saraki and Lawan

The PDP decision was truncated by the APC, whose members allied to some interests in the PDP who were not happy with the leadership to produce Tambuwal and his deputy, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha in the Seventh Assembly.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, APC spokesman, disclosing the latest development, said Buhari would hold a meeting with the APC leadership and NASS members at 9pm this morning to straighten out matters and ensure that the party did not go into the leadership selection process divided.

An attempt by the party to ensure this by conducting a mock election last week Saturday, ran into murky waters following rejection of the outcome by Senator Bukola Saraki and Aminu Dogara groups, who, though boycotted the process still lost out.

This is coming as a security cordon, has been thrown in and around the NASS complex this morning, with the police, said to have been brought from outside the regular ones, which hitherto protected the Assembly, preventing staff and the media from gaining access to the chambers.

Mohammed, while told Channels Television this morning that party discipline and interest must take precedent over personal aspirations and ambitions, warning members that the APC would be in power in the next four years and would take into account the attitude of individual members regarding its affairs and decisions.

His words: “All along, the party has been completely neutral in the matter. I know this because I’m in the centre of it all. We have just one goal and one objective, which is we must not go on the floor of the House divided, we must go to the floor of the House with one candidate. We must avoid any situation whereby, by default, a PDP member will become the presiding officer or determine who will be the presiding officer. So, that is what has been guiding us all along. The party and our members are going to hold a meeting this morning by 9am. The meeting will hold by 9am and by 10am we will be done. We will continue to let members know that it is all about party interest, it is about discipline. No one person is allowed to be above the interest of the party.

Debunking the allegation that the intervention of the party in the process constituted interference, he said such a contention suggested the inability of some people to grasp what democracy and party discipline was all about, adding that neither the party nor the President, had by such intervention, recanted on their earlier positions not to interfere.

He said: “I think we are still very much on that. We have not imposed any candidate on anybody. Our asking our members to choose their representatives is to ensure that we do not go to the National Assembly with more than one candidate. I challenge anybody to the contrary that the party the party is biased against any candidate. How do you define democracy when you ask all members of the National Assembly to come to a place and elect those who will represent them? Do you think the party should fold its arms and allow them to go into the election with two, three, four or five candidates and have the PDP defeat us? I don’t think any party will do otherwise than what we did.

“We must be disciplined. Whether you are a Senator or a member of the House of Representatives, you must not forget that you did not get there as an independent candidate, you got there on the platform of the party. If you could accept the guidelines for primaries, why shouldn’t you accept the candidate that emerged through election? The party did not have no preference for any candidate. The party allowed them to campaign and lobby, but at this time, the party said we must step in and elect one of their own in line with our constitution.

“I don’t see any contradiction. The President is not the party. The party on its own did not get involved by wants to ensure that there is no division on the floor of the House. I don’t see how they could mix the two. They are just being mischievous. They must not go there with more than one person to contest against the PDP.

“The party will be there and the government will be there for the next four years and I can assure you that we are not short of options. This is a distraction. But I can assure you that we are going to contain it.”   



Posted on June, 9 2015

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