Mr. Yakubu Dogara, a strong contender for the post of the speakers of the 8th House of Representatives, has voiced out on Thursday that he might not agree with the zoning arrangement of the All Progressives Congress if it would not guarantee “fairness and justice.”
Dogara, a Bauchi State (North-East) representative is considered the main challenger to House Minority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila (Lagos State), for the seat.
Gbajabiamila looks like the likely candidate for the speakership after APC’s big-wigs have allegedly agreed within the itself to zone the seat to the South-West.
The party also reportedly agreed behind the scenes to allow the North-East, where Dogara hails from, to produce the Senate President.
But, on Thursday, Dogara came out clearly to say that the Senate and the House were two different chambers and that a decision taken in respect of one could not be imposed on the other.
The APC lawmaker spoke just as a new group, nicknamed The Patriots, emerged to demand that the candidate for the speakership must pass an “integrity test” as against an individual emerging on the basis of party zoning arrangement.
Dogara described the North-East as the poorest geo-political zone in the country that required the backing of other zones in the sharing of political offices.
He also stated that the reported prospect of the zone producing the senate president did not in any way affect his aspiration.
He addressed a news conference where he said, “We represent the aspirations of a zone that is the poorest in the country.
“There are candidates from other zones that already hold leadership positions in the APC, yet they are running for the position of Speaker. Why are questions not being asked in their own case?”
Dogara admitted that the APC must be passing through a difficult period in taking a position on the issue, but he advised the party to be guided aright so as not to hurt the feelings of members.
At least 22 members, including Peoples Democratic Party lawmakers, backed Dogara on Thursday as he spoke.
Among them were Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Zakari Mohammed (Kwara APC); Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Mrs. Nkiruka Onyejeocha (Abia PDP); Adams Jagaba (Kaduna APC); Mr. Emmanuel Ekon (Akwa Ibom PDP); Binta Maigeri (Gombe PDP); Mr. Ezikiel Adaji (Benue PDP); Mr. Abubakar Kannike (Kwara APC); Mr. Linus Okorie (Ebonyi PDP); and Mr. Herman Hembe (Benue APC).
Dogara, a lawyer and third-timer, said his reason for joining the race was because “Change”, the APC’s slogan, to him, meant “simply to work.”