Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Dogara’s election, a democratic revolution – Ex-speakers

Former speakers and other ex-principal officers of the House of Representatives on Wednesday advised the leadership of the All Progressives Congress to accept the election of Mr. Yakubu Dogara as the Speaker of the 8th Assembly, which was inaugurated on Tuesday.
The former speakers described the development as a “democratic revolution” which was a result of the legislature insisting on asserting its independence.
The former House officials were led on a courtesy visit to Dogara at the National Assembly by a former Speaker, Mr. Agunwa Anakwe.
However, it was another ex-Speaker, Mr. Umar Ghali-Na’Abba, who spoke on behalf of the delegation.
Na’Abba, formerly of the Peoples Democratic Party, had defected to the APC shortly before the March 28 general polls and he is now a member of the Board of Trustees of the ruling party.
Reviewing the outcome of Tuesday’s election, Na’Abba said, “Lawmakers  yesterday (Tuesday) achieved another democratic revolution against a conventional wisdom of imposition of leaders by political parties.
“This has happened not to spite our party but that the legislature under a democratic setting must be independent.
“What happened yesterday was an effort by lawmakers of both the APC and the PDP to ensure their independence as lawmakers.
“Whatever must have happened, the new leadership must not be castigated and scorned but should be seen as a means of charting a new legislative course for the benefit of all Nigerians.”
However, he urged Dogara and other leaders of the House to quickly put the election behind them by mending fences and embracing the losers so that they could salvage the country together.
He added, “What we need now is reconciliation, because the House as it is now is divided.
“And I believe the process should not be difficult.”
Na’Abba also supported the idea of further amending the 1999 Constitution.
“We believe that the constitution needs to be amended, and this was done by the last Assembly but it never saw the light of day.
“This Assembly must take up that responsibility to revisit the issue of constitution amendment,” he stated.
Dogara assured the past leaders that he would ensure that the House remained stable.
He told his visitors that his victory came as a “miracle” to him, made possible by prayers.
 “I want to say that the victory of yesterday was a miracle, which couldn’t have come about without your prayers and support.
“I want to assure you that this leadership will not disappoint. The advice given will be taken. I also assure you that we will always run to you for counsel whenever we need it.
“History will be most kind to you for your courage, wisdom and patriotism. As part of those who have inherited this legacy of courage from you, we will not let you down,” he told the former leaders.
Dogara assured the delegation that there would be peace among members, contrary to the speculation that they might be divided by the outcome of the election.
He spoke further,”Talk about healing the wounds and divisions that have been caused by yesterday’s event, I  assure you that we have been together and we know ourselves.
“We will come together and mend walls because some people may feel that they have lost. I want to tell them that they have not lost anything, as this remains a leadership that is for all.
“Electoral victory was delivered to the APC because Nigerians were tired of excuses. They can’t wait any longer. And that is why we must as responsible leaders, compliment the efforts of government.”
Besides Na’Abba and Anakwe, others on the delegation were Patricia Etteh, Aminu Tambuwal, Babangida Nguruje and Emeka Ihedioha, Mulikat Akande-Adeola, Leo Ogor, Ishaka Bawa, Muhammed Mukhtar, and Suleiman  Kawu.
Meanwhile, there was calm at the House on Wednesday as Dogara presided over the first sitting of the 8th Assembly after its inauguration.
The speaker set up the Selection Committee charged with the responsibility of appointing members into the various standing committees of the House.
Traditionally, the selection committee is chaired by the speaker.
He also set up a committee to look into the welfare of members and a third committee to review the Standing Orders of the House.
The speaker  also conveyed messages to President Muhammadu Buhari and the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, informing them that the 8th House had been duly constituted and ready to function as required by law.
In another show of peace on Wednesday, former Minority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, who lost the speakership contest to Dogara, congratulated the speaker for the second time.
Gbajabiamila had shortly after the results were declared on Tuesday, walked up to Dogara, embraced and shook hands with him.
On Wednesday, he stood up on the floor and specially recognised Dogara as the speaker by congratulating him again.
The House later adjourned sitting till June 23.
SOURCE: punchng