Says he is the best candidate for House Majority leader
By Clifford Ndujihe & Levinus Nwabughiogu
But for the role played by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and some leaders, the ruling party’s adopted candidates would have lost the leadership of the Ninth National Assembly as they did in 2015, former Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, has said.
Doguwa, who is arguably the longest-serving member of the National Assembly, having been first elected in 1992, and believes he is the best candidate for the majority leader of the House of Representatives, spoke to Vanguard on the intrigues and engagement that shaped the elections last Tuesday.
In 2015, Senator Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe North), and Mr Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos), who were the APC adopted candidates for the Senate Presidency and House of Representatives Speakership lost out to immediate past Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
However, last Tuesday, the duo, who were adopted again by the ruling party, emerged victoriously. While Lawan beat Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South), Gbajabiamila trounced Mohammed Bago (APC, Niger). Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the party’s candidate for deputy Senate President also won by defeating former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu. Another adopted candidate, Mr Idris Wase (APC, Plateau) became deputy speaker unopposed.
Asked how the APC achieved the feat in the National Assembly, Doguwa said: ‘’What happened was like a build up to what we had long awaited for the agitation and desire of the members of the Eighth Assembly, which for reasons we all know was dashed. The massive election of APC adopted candidates was not unexpected because of the kind of engagement we have had through the various windows of the party. The national secretariat under the leadership of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole did a lot of things that were not done in 2015.
‘’He embarked on engagement with stakeholders left, right and centre and was in constant touch with the presidency. This time around, nobody will tell you that the president was not involved. He was directly involved and that was what gave rise to what you saw on June 11, 2019.’’
On suggestions that the Ninth National Assembly would be a rubber stamp legislature giving the way the leaders emerged, Doguwa disagreed on account of the quality of members of the legislature.
‘’By implication of the institution of the legislature, there is no way you can expect the National Assembly to be a rubber stamp. I am sure it will not be. But that will not in any way make us go in dissonance to the good policies of the executive arm of government. We are one party with a comfortable majority in the House and a good majority in the Senate. The policies and programmes of the government are our policies and programmes. So, while we maintain our institutional independence, we will as well guard seriously the sentiment of our government and political party.’’
On the sharing of other positions such as majority leader, the deputy majority leader, chief whip and deputy chief whip, Doguwa urged the party leaders to reward hard work.
Giving his legislative experience and the support of the North-West zone to the APC, he urged the party to zone the majority leader position to the North-West. He is the only person from the North-West aspiring for the majority leader post.
‘’I would expect the party to remember that I come from a zone that gave the party the highest electoral contribution to the APC. The Northwestern part of the country has the highest number of APC members in the House of Reps. In my caucus, which I led as chief whip, the North-West caucus has almost 92 members even with the recent Zamfara case, we have no fewer than 85 members. So I want to believe that the party would be just, humble to reciprocate the electoral gesture we gave to the party in the last general election,’’ he said.