Plot to impeach Dogara suffers set back

Speaker Yakubu Dogara

Facts emerged that the plot to impeach Yakubu Dogara as Speaker of the
House of Representatives seems to have suffered major setback as
members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) fail to muster the
two-third majority.

As at Tuesday, APC has 190 members while PDP has 157, APGA has 5
members, ADC has 4 members, SDP has one member while Accord Party has
one member. Meanwhile there are two vacant seats resulting from the
death of Buba Jubrin (APC-Kogi) and Funke Adedoyin (PDP-Kwara).
Sources close to the PDP caucus who spoke under condition of anonymity
however observed that some of the APC lawmakers appointed as principal
officers may lose their seats in the wake of the impeachment plot.

According to the lawmakers, list of deviant lawmakers are being
compiled and necessary action may be referred to the Ethics and
Privileges Committee for necessary action.

While reacting to the impeachment of Speaker, Mohammed Tahir Mungonu
(APC- Borno) who expressed reservation over the impeachment plot,
admiited that impeaching Speaker Dogara remains an herculean task for
the APC considering the status of the membership of the ruling party.
He observed that Speaker Dogara who recently decamped to PDP can only
be impeached if APC caucus can muster 240 members as required by the
1999 Constitution (as amended).

“The parliamentary conventions and norms is that the majority party
produces the leadership of the party except Nigeria will be an
exception. My only advice is for the Senate President and the Speaker
of the House of Representatives to honourably resign their positions
since they are now members of the minority party.

“In consonance with best democratic norms and values that is
obtainable all over the world. Based on moral situation but with
regards to the constitution, we need two-third to remove them and if
the APC can muster that two-third majority, I wish APC members good
luck,” he noted.

Mungonu however argued that the positions occupied by the opposition
members as principal officers of both chambers will directly impact on
the legislative business and policy direction of the APC led
government.

He said: “it’s going to definitely disrupt legislative business
because they are not members of the ruling party so the manifesto as
well as the programme of the party they belong to is directly in
conflict with the programme and objective of the ruling and majority
party of the National Assembly therefore there is going to be conflict
of interest in the way and manner they are going to pursue the agenda
of the ruling party and then the agenda of the party in government.
And I think it may likely lead to sabotage.”

As a strong APC lawmaker in the House, Mungono said: “If we are sure
that we are going to muster the two-third majority, we are going to
count ourselves, definitely we are going to move ahead and then remove
the speaker that is if we can muster the two-third majority in
consonance with the provision of the constitution that requires
two-third majority to remove the speaker. Why not, we will move. But
if we cannot get the two-third majority, there is no need to embark on
an exercise in futility.”

On his part, Sergius Ogun (PDP-Edo) who applauded the emergence of
Abubakar Atiku as the PDP presidential candidate in the 2019 general
elections, expressed optimism that APC cannot muster the required 240
members to unseat the Speaker.

While reacting to the impeachment plan, Ogun who doubles as chairman,
House Committee on Works said: “if they follow the constitution, they
don’t have the firm, no party has the firm to produce any speaker
right now and we were elected by Nigerians to come and represent them.
If we want to follow the business of representing our people that will
be the last thing on the mind of anybody right now.

“So he (Dogara) remains the speaker till the expiration of the 8th
national Assembly.”
He however noted that majority of the lawmakers in both parties were
deprived return ticket, hence ruled out the possibility of PDP teaming
up with APC to sack Dogara.
According to him: “that is happening in both parties, it even happened
in APC where they were promised tickets but they didn’t get it, the
same thing in the PDP, but more in the APC. But I’m not thinking about
that but even if it happens, it will balance out.

He also ruled out the use of money to induce members to impeach
Speaker Dogara, adding that: “well it depends, not everybody that can
be bought with money. People have relationships and for people who
have personal relationship there is no amount of money you can give
them do otherwise, so that comes in,” the Edo lawmaker noted.
Meanwhile, legislative activities in the House of Representatives are
expected to kick-start fully on Wednesday with the consideration of a
bill which seeks to ensure orderly transition of power from one
democratically elected President to the other, BusinessDay findings
revealed.

Also listed on this week’s Notice Paper, are: a bill for an Act to
amend the National Tobacco Control Act, 2015, to address the lacuna
that may be easily exploited by tobacco industry in Nigeria and to
cure certain defects in the Act, ensure its effective implementation
in Nigeria.

The lawmakers are also expected to consider the debate on the bill for
an Act to establish the national security trust fund which seeks to
provide for the maintenance of a Trust Fund that will cater for the
procurement of military security infrastructure and technology for
security agencies in Nigeria, as sponsored by Rimamande Shawulu
(PDP-Taraba).

As captured in the Notice Paper, the bill for an ‘Act to provide for
the management, administration, operation, regulation and supervision
of payment, clearing and settlement systems in Nigeria’ as well as a
bill for an Act to repeal the Advertising Practitioner’s
(Registrations, etc) Act and enact the Advertising Practitioner’s
(Registrations, Licensing, etc) bill and establish council for
Advertising Practitioners as the apex regulatory authority for the
Nigerian Advertising profession and practice will be also be
considered.

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