NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER, Says Muhammed Bago Over The Purported Adoption Of Femi Gbajabiamila By Adams Oshiomhole’s APC Against The Zoning Formula Of The Party.

Hon. Muhammed Bago.

Following yesterday’s (Tuesday, April 16, 2019) purported zoning and micro-zoning of the office of Speaker of the incoming 9th House of Representatives by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, there has been varied reactions by a cross-section of Nigerians, including members-elect, party stalwarts, political commentators and journalist’s.

           
For us in the Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago Campaign Organization, we view the development as a poorly choreographed political orchestra aimed at using the hallowed precincts of the Presidential Villa to anoint a candidate from the South west geo-political zone.

But, as attested by some members-elect who attended the late night dinner, and collaborated by newspaper reports of the event, President Muhammadu Buhari was smart enough to see through the charade, leading to his open reprimand of the APC National Chairman for discussing unnecessary details that were unknown to him, saying that his understanding of how to proceed was that all zones would meet and discuss zoning.

“I do not expect you to come into the open and say this much, Mr. Chairman’’, President Buhari reportedly said after Oshiomhole pronounced Hon. Femi Gbajamiamila as the anointed candidate of the party.

For us, therefore, there is no retreat, no surrender, in our demand for equity and justice in the zoning arrangement, and the ultimate desire of many members-elect to be allowed to choose their own leaders.

Indeed, our quest for inclusivity has rather than been stifled only gained further traction, especially against the realization that the template which our National Chairman relied upon in arriving at this curious choice remains hazy.

Consequently, a flurry of posers are immediately thrown up, to wit: In arriving at this divisive decision, was the National caucus of the APC consisting of President Buhari, his deputy, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, APC Governors, Board of Trustees (BOT) members and party stalwarts, including contenders for the office of Speaker and other leading members of the legislature from the party carried along?

If this question is answered in the affirmative, it would, therefore, be interesting to let Nigerians know on what date such a parley took place, who moved the motion for zoning and micro-zoning, who seconded it, and who voted for and against such proposal? 

As a matter of fact, what better indication of lack of amity among National Working Committee (NWC) members of the party in arriving at this torrid decision, than the position of the Deputy National Publicity of the APC, Hon. Yekini Nabena on the  day the contrived decision was announced.

Nabena, a member of the NWC had clearly ruled out the North west and the South west in the sharing of elective offices in both Senate and House of Representatives.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, Nabena said: ‘’The Deputy Senate President should be zoned to the South south while the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives should be zoned to the North central and South east in any order agreed by the party’s leadership.

‘’The South west already has a slot filled by the Vice President. In any case, the South west does not necessarily translate to Lagos or Ogun state. This is sentiment widely shared by our members from the zone’’, Nabena said.

Warning that our “actions and inactions will have serious implications on party unity’’, the APC deputy national publicity secretary urged the party to adhere to the principle of federal character which is a constitutional requirement, in determining the leadership of the national assembly.

Flowing from the above, it is our contention that our party is being goaded towards the same ignoble path which led to the 2015 fiasco, which the National Assembly leadership tussle turned out to be. Lawmakers cannot be coerced into being lawbreakers, as the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, states in section 14 (3) that “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the Federal Character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few state or from a few ethnic or sectional groups in that Government or any of its agencies”.

We, therefore, condemn this obvious attempt to drag our party through the same tortuous path of 2015, all in a bid to sustain a legacy of imposition aimed at entrenching one man’s imperious dynasty.

Until - and unless - the right thing is done, we reiterate our commitment to the pursuit of equity, justice and the independence of the legislature.