Posted by News Express | 7 July 2019 | 745 times
A civil rights advocacy group, the One Nigeria Movement (ONM), has faulted the House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, over his handling of the appointment of House Minority Principal Officers, accusing him of turning himself to an emperor by arrogating to himself, the powers to appoint minority leaders in the House as against the position of the leading minority party.
In a press release at the weekend signed by its Convener General, Alhaji Ahmed Sodiq-Mugoro, the ONM said it was appalling that Gbajabiamila could resort to threatening his colleagues, who disagreed with his decision to appropriate to himself, the power of majority of the minority political party to appoint Minority Principal Officers as it has happened in the past, which he (Gbajabiamila) benefited from.
The group said Gbajabiamila must have to tell Nigerians how he emerged as Minority Leader of the House of Representatives in 2007 and 2011 under Action Congress (AC) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) respectively as well as 2015 under the All Progressive Congress (APC).
“Was it through letters from his parties to the Speaker nominating him to lead the minority parties? Were AC and ACN the only minority parties in 2007 and 2011 that Gbajabiamila was nominated as Minority Leader?” the group asked in the statement.
It recalled that as it was the usual practice in the House, the PDP forwarded names of Minority Leadership of the House in a letter dated June 21, 2019 to the Speaker. The letter was duly received on June 26, 2019 and “contrary to the House rule that all correspondence must be read at the plenary, the Speaker refused to read this letter.”
Warning that the House of Representatives under Gbajabiamila was already showing the signs of dictatorship and flagrant disregard for rules and laid down procedures, the ONM apart from speaker and deputy speaker, no other principal officer of the House is picked through election.
The group described the Speaker’s action as a continuation of the APC affront on the constitution of the country, pointing out that those sought to conquer the judiciary was now out to put the National Assembly under their feet.
“Our question is: is it now the duty of the Speaker to appoint principal officers, be it Majority or Minority? As a group whose interest is strict adherence to the rule of law and respect for rights of political parties, we are further miffed that the Speaker has a leader and that leader is in Lagos, watching his political son turning himself to an emperor less than one month of his assumption of office.
“He even threatened a member of the House by saying; ‘If you test the resolve of this House, you will regret it’ and went on to rule out another one who raised a point of order saying: ‘even before you say what your point of order is about, I rule you out of order.’
"This leader that is watching and encouraging Gbajabiamila to arrogate to himself the powers to appoint minority principal officers will tomorrow say he wants to contest the Presidency of Nigeria. We will seat back and watch how Nigerians will allow such a leader that is encouraging his political son to disobey the law will succeed in his ambition to become the President of Nigeria.
“For us as a group, at the appropriate time, we will again remind Nigerians of this leader, who kicked against zoning in Nigeria when it suited him and canvassed support for same when he knew that zoning won’t protect his interests.”
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