Crisis is looming in the House of Representatives as members are on a collision course over the appointment of leaders for the chamber.
it was learnt on Tuesday that the Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, was in a dilemma on how to share the principal offices.
Credible sources in the chamber disclosed that while the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress has nominated candidates, the Speaker, who is eager to fulfill his campaign promises to his loyalists especially former aspirants who stepped down for him, has other nominees.
The National Working Committee of the APC had on Saturday ratified the appointments of Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (Abia State, South-East) as Deputy Majority Leader and Peter Akpatason (Edo State, South-South) as Chief Whip. Other principal offices that have remained vacant include the Majority Leader, which has been zoned to Kano State (North-West) and the Deputy Chief Whip, zoned to the North-East.
At the plenary on Tuesday, Gbajabiamila said Mr Abdulrazak Namdas (Adamawa, North-East) had been nominated as Chief Whip.
“Honourable Namdas, please take the seat at the front, you have been nominated as acting Chief Whip. Take the position as you wait for your confirmation,” he said.
The Speaker, however, kept mum on other principal offices, even though the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, named the officers in the upper chamber on Tuesday.
Addressing journalists after the day’s session, a member of the House Ad Hoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Bamidele Salam, said the Speaker was still consulting on the appointments and would announce the officers by the end of the week.
“A few journalists approached the Media and Public Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives to ask why the other principal positions of the House were not announced at today’s plenary and I did say it was not announced because there is a need for wider and further consultations by the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, to be sure that whatever is going to be announced is in consonance with the provisions of our rules.
“And I did say that before the week runs out, there will be an announcement of all the other principal officers of the House; the Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader, Chief Whip, Deputy Chief Whip, Minority Whip, Deputy Minority Whip. Before the week runs out, the consultations will be over and they will be announced,” he said.
Another former aspirant, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, however, disclosed that the announcement was delayed as interests had clashed over the appointments.
The lawmaker said, “We are having issues. The reason why the man (Speaker) has not announced (the officers) is that there is a problem concerning the Leader of the House. It was zoned to Kano and in the state, some of them don’t want Garba Ado-Doguwa; some of them want Aminu Suleiman. The National Chairman of the APC (Adams Oshiomhole) prefers Suleiman, but the Governor of Kano (Abdullahi Ganduje) and other stakeholders prefer Ado-Doguwa. So, we are having a stalemate.
“Even the Deputy Leader is a problem. Initially, Onyejeocha was named the Deputy Leader, now they have taken Akpatason as the Deputy Leader instead of Deputy Chief Whip. They now want to give her Deputy Chief Whip. Akpatason was named Deputy Chief Whip in the earlier proposal. Now, they have given Mohammed Monguno (Borno, North-East) the Chief Whip position. Akpatason is the candidate of the (APC) chairman.”
When asked if Onyejeocha would accept to drop Deputy Leader for Deputy Whip, the source said, “No, the woman will not agree. The woman is more senior (in rank). She will not agree.”
Onyejeocha could not be reached to react to the new arrangement.