By EMMANUEL IRIOGBE, Abuja
The nomenclature of members of House of Representatives might not remain the same by the time members resume next week from their long break which commenced in July. This is going by the stand taken by 57 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), members in the House who on Tuesday night issued a release pledging their loyalty to the Abubakar Atiku and Abubakar Baraje’s faction of the party.
The renunciation of their association with the Presidency-led faction of the PDP stems from the very controversial Special-convention the party held at the Eagle Square in Abuja the nation’s capital of August 31.
At that convention, the Bamanga Tukur led-National Working Committee was accused of shutting out delegates of states whose governors were not in the good books of the Chairman and the Presidency. This led to a parallel convention of the Atiku faction at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Center also in Abuja.
In the release made available to Daily Newswatch and signed by the 57 serving members of the PDP in the seventh Assembly which included House Committee Chairman on information, Zakari Mohammed, they congratulated the leaders on the emergence of the new faction.
According to the members; “We, the members of the House of Representatives under the platform of the New PDP, hereby congratulate our leaders on the emergence of the new party.”
“Although a sizeable number of our members who could not append their signatures because of their unavailability in the country will do so immediately on arrival, we the under signed salute and appreciate the courage, sacrifice and resilience and patriotism of our leaders namely: former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar GCON, and the Governors of Kano State, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, AliyuWammako, (Sokoto), MurtalaNyako (Adamawa), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Abdul Fattah Ahmed (Kwara), and Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers), and other well-meaning and eminent Nigerians for leading the way for the emergence of the New PDP.”
On suspected attempts by the Federal Government to checkmate the faction, the members said it “condemned in strong terms attempts by some agents of the Federal Government to use state apparatus to witch-hunt some of these patriots for taking this bold and courageous step.”
While also calling on security agencies and other anti-graft bodies to be professional in their activities and not allow themselves be used by anybody no matter how highly placed for their political ambitions.
Emphasising its readiness to use legal means to actualise their dream, the Rep members said it won’t hesitate to use all instruments of law as provided for in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), to achieve its aim and bring anybody found wanting to book.
In conclusion the group in the statement pledged its loyalty and support to the New PDP “under the able chairmanship of Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, the Deputy Chairman, Dr Sam Sam Jaja, National secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinola and other members of the National Executive Committee.
Members that signed the release include; Abdullahi Balarabe, Abdulmumin Jibrin, Ali Ahmad, Abdullahi Muhammad Wamako, Abdullahi Muhammed Rico, Abdulmalik Usman Cheche, Adamu Bashir, Ahman-Patigi Aliyu, Ahmed Zerewa, Aishatu Ahmed Binan, Aiyedun Akeem Olayinka, Alhassan Ado Garba , Aliyu Madaki, Aliyu Shehu, Aminu Shagari, Aminu Sulyman, Aminu Tukur, Andrew Uchendu, Asita Honourable, Bashir Baballe, Blessing Nsiegbe. Others Include; Dakuku Peterside, Dawari George, Faruq Muhammed Lawan, Gibson Nathaniel, Gogo Bright Tamunu, Haliru Zakari Jikantoro, Hassan Adamu, Hussain Namadi, Ibrahim Ebbo, Ibrahim Tijjani Kivawa, Issa Bashir, Kabiru Achida, Khabeeb Mustapha, Maurice Pronen, Mohammed Sabo, Mpigi Barinada, Muhammad Ahmed Mukhtar, Muhammad Ibrahim, Muhammad Sani Kutigi, Mukhtari Muhammad, Musa Ado, Musa Sarkin-Adar,Mustapha Bala Dawaki.
Others yet include; Mustapha Mashood, Ogbonna Nwuke, Rafiu Ibrahim, Sa’ad Nabunkari, Sani Muhammed Aliyu, Shuaibu Gobir, Sokonte Davies, Sufiyanu Ubale, Umar Bature, Usman Wada, Yusuph Dunari Sule, Yusuph Galambi And Zakari Muhammed.
With speculations rife that Speaker Waziri Aminu Tambuwal has one leg in the PDP and another in the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC), the import of the alignment of these 57 members with the Atiku led PDP is that the rank of members who will be opposed to policies from the executive arm of government has risen.
Putting this number together with APC members in the House may throw up a majority which will leave those still in support of the Presidency in the minority.
The last two years of this present legislature cannot be said to be one that the lower legislative chamber have had a cosy relationship with the executive.
Most Bills brought by the executive to the National Assembly has seen opposition from the House of Representatives, making many Nigerians to see them as being antagonistic to the President Goodluck Jonathan-led executive.
Members would however rather interpret this opposition as the working of democracy. Victor Ogene, deputy chairman, House Committee on Information in a recent interview said their seeming opposition to the Presidency can be seen from the composition of the House which he said is peopled by men that can be described as youthful in their thinking and age.
The implication of the opposition having a majority in the House would definitely spell trouble for the executive.
However, Friday Itulah, an ardent Chief Tony Anenih supporter in the House views this differently.
The member representing Esan North East/South East of Edo State is of the view that what is playing out in his party, the PDP should be expected in a political party as large as the PDP. What goes up he stated must come down. He however cautioned the elders of the party not to fold their arms and watch events degenerate to the extent of the party breaking up. According to him, they, elders must do everything to re-unite all contending forces in the party.
Itulah had a word of caution for the opposition in the land. In his words; “Let the opposition not rejoice because of what is happening in our great party, the PDP. 2015 is still a long time away and the PDP has enough time to re-strategise. As the ruling party, whatever affects the PDP affects the whole country. So, all hands must be on deck to ensure that the party does not disintegrate.”
Many citizens are of the opinion that what members of the House that have chosen to throw their weight behind the Atiku/Baraje faction has done amounts to seeking more relevance in the run-up to the 2015 elections.
“It is a way of making themselves relevant, so as to make those of them seeking to come back to the House, or aspire to become senators or even ministers get those positions of authority, and not to be ignored in the scheme of things. I can assure you, it is all about 2015. They will reconcile, just as they have done in the past.
“I must admit that it is unfair for these legislators to be so selfish and forget about the common people they are expected to represent.” Abubakar Sani, an Abuja based lawyer said when asked to comment on events of the last few days.
Though the leadership of the House is still silent on development in the PDP, the first plenary session to be held anytime next week when the House resumes will determine the direction of the seventh House of Representatives in the present democratic dispensation.