By Dapo Akinrefon, Charles Kumolu & Gbenga Oke
LAGOS— ANGRY reactions, yesterday, greeted the uproar which resulted in members of the House of Representatives engaging in a free-for-all over the election of House principal officers.
Notable Nigerians, who expressed disgust over the commotion in the Green Chamber included a Professor of Law and human rights, Professor Itse Sagay, SAN; former deputy speaker of the House of Reps, Mr Austin Opara; a retired Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav; two former members of the House of Reps, Messrs Halims Agoda and Bitrus Kaze; a Second Republic lawmaker, Dr Junaid Mohammed; a member of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Ebenezer Babatope and National Secretary of the Labour Party, LP, Dr Kayode Ajulo.
APC should sanction Saraki, Dogara —Sagay
Constitutional lawyer, Professor Sagay, SAN, called on the leadership of the APC to sanction the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Reps, Mr Yakubu Dogara, for allegedly flouting party directives.
Sagay said: “Honestly, I think Dogara and Saraki should be sanctioned. If the APC does not sack them from the party, they will drag the APC down. If they continue to mix with other APC members, they are going to affect them. Likewise, the whole of APC will be affected. So, the earlier they are clearly cut out in a surgical operation, the better for the country, the better for the APC.”
External forces should remove their hands — Opara
He said: “It is not healthy for external forces to have interference in the parliament matters. They are elected by the people, so they should be allowed to pick whoever leads them because what we have seen so far is the battle between external forces and internal forces.
“The sanctity of the parliament is very important and they should have allowed them to pick their leaders. It is very unfortunate that less than four weeks, serious crisis has enveloped the House, how will they pass bills? So the earlier those interfering remove their hands, the better for this nation.”
NASS crisis may lead to implosion of APC—Tsav
Also speaking, Alhaji Tsav said the crisis in the National Assembly could lead to implosion in the APC.
Accroding to Tsav, “what is happening in the National Assembly is shameful. APC will fail if the party is not careful. I am afraid, the party may eventually implode if the crisis is not tackled. Most of the people responsible for the current crisis are defectors, who came from the PDP. They found themselves in APC because they only wanted to win election.
“They are not fighting because they sincerely want to serve this country. Their fight is as a result of what they expect to get from the various positions they aspire to occupy. The APC crisis, if not resolved, is likely to affect the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari. However, Buhari’s non interference with the matter is commendable and wise because doing that could as well stain his impeccable integrity. It is good that he allowed them to sort themselves out after all he belongs to no body.”
APC is confused — Mohammed
On his part, a Second Republic lawmaker, Dr Mohammed said: “I think APC is confused and I would not want to comment more than that.”
It’s a show of shame — Babatope
For a chieftain of the PDP, Chief Babatope, the crisis that engulfed the lower chamber is a show of shame.
Crisis started too early — Kaze
Reacting to the issue, Rep Bitrus Kaze, who represented Jos East/Jos South federal constituency in the 7th Assembly, said it was unfortunate that the crisis started too early.
Kaze said: “Honestly, the Buhari administration will have a problem managing its relationship with National Assembly with the way things are going and attempt by the ruling party and Presidency to hijack the 8th National Assembly has really compounded the problem. The crisis in the National Assembly started too early and if this continues, this assembly might not be able to do anything at all.”
They should embrace peace — Agoda
Also, former member of the House of Representatives, Mr Agoda, said the crisis could hinder development in the country.
He said: “I think the leadership of House of Representatives should preach peace, ensure some level of compromise and ensure that the integrity of the House is sacrosanct. I can say boldly that they need themselves at every point in time and since a speaker has emerged, everybody should support him and the speaker should also ensure he sees the whole house as his own by bringing everybody together so that they can engage in the process of nation building.”
It’s a shameful act —Ajulo
On his part,LP scribe, Dr Ajulo, described the behaviour of the lawmakers as shameful.
Ajulo said: “It is shameful. When you talk of party supremacy, there should be a divide. There should be a line where that party supremacy should be drawn. Party supremacy should not be taken to the floor of the House. The APC should know that they are not the only ones in the House. The PDP has members, APGA has members. Anyway, this is the first time they got the victory and it is getting to their heads. We cannot use that one as an excuse.”