The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, has explained why he could not act on the letter written to him by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) nominating four principal officers for the lower chambers of the National Assembly.
He said on Sunday said that a court process instituted by 30 APC members stopped him from acting on the letter.
He said this in a statement issued in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Turaki Hassan.
During a church service held at the Living Faith Church, Durumi, in the Federal Capital Territory, Dogara also urged Nigerians to pray for the success of President Muhammadu Buhari and other persons in leadership positions in the country.
In his very first reaction to the results of the election in which he defeated former Minority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, by eight votes, he admitted that it was a “miracle” that he won.
He had said that looking at the formidable forces against him before the election, it came as a surprise to him that he emerged victorious.
Dogara had polled 182 votes to defeat Gbajabiamila, who scored 174.
At a separate meeting with former members of the House, Dogara said he assumed full responsibility for the fracas which broke out on the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday last week.
However, he explained that a court process instituted by 30 APC members stopped him from acting on a letter from the party’s leadership, nominating four principal officers.
Enraged APC lawmakers punched one another, tearing clothes and throwing chairs as they fought over the sharing of principal offices in the House.
The leadership of the APC had written Dogara and recommended names to him to announce as Majority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila; Deputy Leader, Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; Chief Whip, Mr. Mohammed Monguno; and Deputy Whip, Mr. Pally Iriase.
But addressing the former lawmakers, Dogara said he could not toe the party’s line because the names did not reflect geographical balancing among the six zones in the country.
He also told the former members that some aggrieved members from the North-Central geo-political zone had already filed a litigation in court on the grounds that the appointments did not reflect the principle of Federal Character enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Dogara added, “Assuming they win the case and the court now rules that that directive of the party breaches the provision of the constitution relating to the federal character.
“So, do we now begin to see somebody vacating his office or principal position so that we can accommodate the court’s ruling?”
According to him, this was his reason for calling for an executive session on Thursday so that all the members could sit in camera to examine the issue.
However, he expressed regrets that his colleagues misread his intention, resulting in the fracas.
“That was why I had to call on the Chairman, Ad Hoc Committee on Media, (Mr. Sani Zoro), to apologise to Nigerians. I have accepted responsibility for everything that transpired and we apologise to the nation,” he stated.
Speaking on how to resolve the nation’s problems, Dogara said, “I want to plead that the problems we have in the country now are not conventional and so conventional wisdom cannot solve them. We need divine wisdom.”
On Buhari and other leaders, the Dogara said, “Without prayers, there is no way we can succeed.
“So, I urge that we offer prayers and supplication for all the leaders, beginning from the President to the least person in authority.”