Shola Oyeyipo dialogues with Hon. Timothy Golu, the federal lawmaker representing Pankshin/Kanke/Kanam, Plateau State in the House of Representatives on the recent statement by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole that the All Progressives Congress would not share principal offices and chairmanship of juicy committees with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party members
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole recently urged his party members to dominate leadership of the 9th National Assembly, as one of the arrowheads of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives, what is your view on that statement?
He is talking rubbish. None of them is a member of parliament and when the election will take place none of them will be there. They are only talking to impress so that the president will say this man is loyal. They are just playing to the gallery. He doesn’t know what happens here. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not involved. Nobody fills forms for the election. It is the members who select their leaders. Somebody can wake up that day and contest.
Apart from the presiding officers that are the Senate President, the Deputy Senate President, the Speaker and his deputy, which can go to any political party, there are offices reserved constitutionally for all parties; majority party and the minority party.
Even at the state level, you will see that almost all parties will get their own share in the arrangement of the minority offices, but at the National Assembly, the constitution provides that a leading opposition party is the minority party, so it takes all; Minority Leader/ Deputy; Minority Whip/Deputy. In the state, they would have given All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) one position and then another party that has a reasonable showing for another position, but that does not happen here so that they can consolidate and do the job well. It is not possible to cross from the opposition and take such positions. That is why they call them Majority Leader and Deputy Majority Leader, coming out of the majority party; and then you have the minority.
But for the presiding officers, anybody can be. That is why we have Senator Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President. We had wanted to make Leo Ogor, the Deputy Speaker of the House that time but we didn’t want to breach the friendship agreement we initially initiated. If not, the same people who voted for Dogara; the same number, were ready to vote for Leo Ogor and so we would have had the same situation we have in the Senate.
Does your party have a stake in who becomes the next speaker?
That is what I am saying. A PDP man may emerge as the Speaker of the 9th assembly. It is not necessarily about majority.
How can that happen?
When Dogara came out, how many APC people voted for him? Only about 40 and he became Speaker. That is why they refer to him as PDP Speaker. Bukola Saraki, how many APC people voted for him? Only about 15 and that is why they say he is PDP Senate President. So, this time around, they will see the PDP person in his own real colour because the way they are going about it, they are trying to intimidate. Meanwhile, PDP has about 42 Senators, so they only need an APC man who will bring 15 Senators and that is all.
And if you are in their shoes would you subscribe to an Ahmed Lawan that is being imposed by the presidency to become your Senate President? No! Peoples like Senator Danjuma Goje and the rest of them can go into the race. Just get 10 or 15. PDP is ready to go as one block.
You don’t seem to consider the wish of the leaders of the ruling party, who want their preferred candidates to emerge
This is not Federal Executive Council (FEC). This is the National Assembly. We have a gallery. Everybody sits down and can watch what will happen. It is not FEC where they ask everybody to go out and then they take a decision and it is final. No APC man or party can sack an elected APC Senator. People know these things. After their elections, it is the party that will start begging them. It is the presidency that will start begging them. They don’t know how they won the election. What they are saying outside is to cow. You can’t cow anybody at this level.
When Jonathan wanted Mulika, the members voted for Tambuwal; when Buhari wanted Femi Gbajabiamila, the same thing happened. This time around, they are going to do the same thing to shoot the candidate of the presidency out. They would have kept quiet. Coming out to do this thing was even the worst of strategy for the APC. They have exposed themselves. The way I see it, the candidacy of Ahmed Lawal and Femi Gbajabiamila are dead on arrival.
Look at what Oshiomhole is saying; that all chairmanship positions are going to APC. All these kinds of things means that you will have a dummy that will do anything they want. You think the PDP members, most of them who are even more experienced than the APC Senators and APC House members would come here and sit under a stooge? Remember, everything goes the same way; whether it is a bill, whether it is a motion, whether it is to spend money without appropriation, whether it is foreign relations without any law; all these will follow. Except the National Assembly is not inaugurated. The President will not be at the inauguration of the National Assembly. He doesn’t have a vote. The Vice President doesn’t have a vote. No minister has a vote. Oshiomhole cannot come close. So why was he saying this type of thing? How are you going to announce that nobody should contest? You cannot block anybody; whether he is for Femi Gbajabiamila or for Lawan. I don’t know why they play with national issues.