Reps finally settle for Doguwa, Elumelu as principal officers

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•PDP insists on Chinda, summons minority leader, others

TRACKING >>The House of Representatives has finally settled for Alhassan Ado Doguwa to occupy the seat of the House Leader in deference to the directive of the Adams Oshiomhole-led All Progressives Congress (APC).

The decision, yesterday, put paid to speculations that Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, who presided over proceedings in a peaceful atmosphere, might cave in to pressure from a section of the lawmakers rooting for Aminu Sularman Goro.

The number four citizen also unveiled Comrade Peter Akpatason as Deputy House Leader; Tahir Mohammed Monguno as Chief Whip while Mrs. Nkeiruka Onyejiocha was named Deputy Chief Whip.

The announcement was applauded by members of the dominant APC as against the scenario on Wednesday when members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were sharply divided over the declaration of Mr. Ndudi Elumelu (Delta: PDP) as Minority leader.

There was, however, a mild drama as Mr. Kingsley Chinda (Rivers: PDP), nominated by the Uche Secondus leadership, took the seat traditionally reserved for the minority leader, even as dozens of sergeants-at arms jealously guarded the mace, the symbol of authority of the legislature.

Gbajabiamila, who congratulated the principal officers, went on to constitute a 10-member ad hoc committee on ethics and privileges chaired by Akpatason to probe Wednesday’s rowdy session that greeted Elumelu’s announcement.

He had ruled Mark Terser Gbillah (Benue: PDP) who attempted to raise the issue of recognising Chinda as minority leader out of order, just as he decried the rowdiness.

The Surulere 1 Lagos legislator thereby reiterated his commitment to the protection of the institution during his tenure, adding that he would be bound by the decision of the Akpatason-led committee.

He spoke in response to a point of order raised by Daniel Asuquo (Cross River: PDP), who while expressing the support of the caucus to the House leadership, called on aggrieved members to sheath their sword in the interest of Nigerians.

Doguwa, who thanked his colleagues for his elevation, extended a hand of fellowship to members of the opposition parties in the chamber led by Elumelu.

He assured Nigerians that the House would engage the executive arm constructively in the overall interest of country.

Chinda, however, quietly walked out of the green chamber before the end of proceedings.

Meanwhile, the last may not have been heard on the issue, as the Wadata Plaza secretariat of the PDP yesterday insisted that Chinda remained its choice for the seat of minority leader and would do everything legal to achieve it.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, the party’s Board of Trustees chairman, Senator Walid Jubril, disclosed that all organs of the political grouping were working to resolve the crisis.

Besides, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP may have resolved to suspend Elumelu and a few other members.

It was learnt that this was part of the decision taken at its emergency meeting yesterday.

Elumelu was alleged to have worked with Gbajabiamila and others to sabotage the party’s decision on the choice of candidates for the minority leadership positions in the lower chamber of the National Assembly.

However, the meeting resolved to give a fair hearing to the affected lawmakers by inviting them for questioning.

Consequently, the NWC has invited them to appear at its national secretariat in Abuja 10a.m. today.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party listed the other legislaors to attend the parley to include Wole Oke; Lynda Ikpeazu; Anayo Edwin; Gideon Gwadi; Toby Okechukwu and Adekoya Abdul-Majid.

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