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30 Jul 2017

House of Rep Members Gang Up Against Dogara Over His Support for Buhari

Members of the House of Representatives are planning to revolt against Speaker Yakubu Dogara for turning the House into a rubber stamp for the executive arm.
President Muhammadu Buhari shakes Speaker Yakubu Dogara
A rebellion is building up in the House of Representatives against Speaker Yakubu Dogara,according to multiple sources in the Green Chambers of the National Assembly, The Nation has reported.
The report claimed that members are angry over Dogara's soft spot for the Presidency as the Speaker has turned the House into a rubber stamp for the executive arm.
According to The Nation, they are also angry that constituency projects are not being implemented by the Executive,and want to know why about 50-60 per cent of them (members) have not been assigned their official cars.
Other members also expressed anger over the alleged lateness in payment of their salaries and allowances. Dogara has been left shocked by the development and has launched a counter move to calm frayed nerves. It was gathered that the whole drama started on Wednesday when some members of the House took him up on the various issues at an Executive Session.
It was learnt that a ranking member from Kano State led the protest by faulting the House leadership’s alleged romance with the presidency instead of asserting the independence of the chamber.
The members alleged that their support for the presidency, especially ailing President Muhammadu Buhari, was not being reciprocated by the latter.
They also complained about how ministers had been treating summons by committees with disdain. They were particularly irked by the alleged unwillingness of the Executive to implement constituency projects in the 2016 budget.
Members claimed they went through hell to get the constituency projects executed.
A top source said: “Since he was elected, the Speaker has never had the type of revolt he witnessed during the week from members.

“The matter got to a point that some members at the plenary on Wednesday refused to stand up in deference to the Speaker in order to usher him into the chamber.

“Even on Thursday, some members extended their annoyance to voting during the debate on amendments to the 1999 constitution.”
Another ranking member gave said: “Some members from the North-West actually led the revolt at the Executive session. They accused Dogara of ‘leaning so much to the Executive’ such that the House was being turned into a rubber stamp.

“They gave a long list of constitutional violations by the Executive which the House ignored because of Dogara’s rapprochement with President Muhammadu Buhari and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

“They queried why the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola will come out publicly to deride the House without any sanction. They cited cases of ministers and chief executives of MDAs not honouring House summons.

“Also, the MDAs, especially ministers, elect to implement constituency projects based on their whims and caprices. But they have always forgotten that the budget is a law.

Some of us are tired and frustrated.

“The Speaker has been persuading us to be patient but we are not delivering dividends of democracy to our constituents. What we now get is stoning of some members by their constituents.
Another member from the South-South said: “Well, some of us actually complained bitterly about welfare matters. We are two years into our tenure and about 50-60 per cent of our members have not been given official cars.

“The complaint we have been getting borders on the fact that the Peugeot model cars have been ordered from abroad but yet to arrive. It is insulting that we have to be lobbying to get official cars which will be paid for from our entitlements.

“We believe that something was fundamentally wrong with the award of the contract for the cars by the House Services Committee.

“There was no communication on what has really happened. Unfortunately, the leadership has been tolerating the House Services Committee.”
A member from the North-West said: “It has not been funny because we get our salaries and allowances late.

“We protested to let the Speaker know that we are suffering in silence. If the Speaker had not handled it with maturity, we would have changed all the principal officers.

“Of what use is backing President Buhari without meaningful projects in our constituency?

“Many of us preferred the Senate antagonistic method because it is working for that chamber. This was why we took on Dogara since the beginning of the week.”
But a principal officer said: “When Dogara opened up at the session, it was realized by members that he has not been pocketed by the presidency. His leadership style is that of consultation and not confrontation. He thinks service delivery to Nigerians should be the priority of lawmakers and not feud with the Executive.

“The same Speaker said he had engaged the Acting President on Fashola matter and Prof. Osinbajo directed the Minister to go and apologize. He obeyed the directive on Friday.

“In the last few months, the Speaker has been to the Villa to iron out issues amicably between the two arms of government.”
On the welfare of members, the principal officer said: “I think it has to do more with the failure of the House Services Committee than the problem with the Speaker. He was shocked to hear some of the complaints.”
Findings confirmed that following assurances from the Speaker, members jettisoned plans to “team up with the Senate” against the Executive.
“Dogara has sued for calm; we are giving him benefit of the doubt. He is a good listener but we need action.”
A member from the North-East said: “We have heard from Dogara and his team.We are awaiting action on their pledges to address our complaints. We love the Speaker, we have temporarily sheathed the swords.

“We have all collectively resolved not to join the Senate to fight the Executive because some of the issues are really too personal.

Some have to do with sheer politics and ambition. We won’t be part of it.

“But the House leadership has suffered a jolt, the situation might never be the same henceforth. We love Dogara but we cannot sacrifice the interest of our constituents.”
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