N'Assembly: PDP, LP, Others Unite to Confront APC
An alliance of lawmakers from different political parties emerged at the House of Representatives on Monday with an avowal to protect the Nigerian democracy and nation. The lawmakers in the alliance called their group, National Unity Group.
The NUG, dominated by the Peoples Democratic Party lawmakers, has the Labour Party, Accord Party and the All Progressives Grand Alliance members in the House coming together to confront opposition All Progressives Congress, which had vowed to ground the Federal Government.
The new group's slogan is “No to Anarchy” and it vowed to meet the APC's threat with “robust resistance.”
But the APC lawmakers in the House, in their initial reaction on Monday, have said they will wait for members of the group on the floor of the House.
The APC's national leadership last week had directed its members in the National Assembly to “block” all legislative proposals by President Goodluck Jonathan. Among Jonathan's urgent legislative proposals before the National Assembly at the moment is the 2014 budget.
At a media briefing attended by the Majority Leader of the House, Mrs. Mulikat Akande-Adeola, on Monday, a PDP member from Plateau State, Mr. Bitrus Kaze, who read the text of the briefing, said, “More importantly, we want to put on record that along with the vast majority of Nigerians, we resolutely say no to anarchy, as being fomented by the newly-registered APC.”
The NUG said that the directive by the APC's leadership was an act of “impunity” and that the opposition party was “trying the patience of Nigerians.” It called on APC lawmakers in the National Assembly to ignore the directive of their party leaders who were accused of plotting to ground the economy of the country.
The new group vowed to do whatever was within its powers to stop the APC lawmakers from carrying out the directive of their party.
The NUG text read in part, “That any attempt to tamper with the 2014 budget and hence the Transformation Agenda of the Jonathan administration, will be met with robust resistance. “No Nigerian anywhere will stand by and watch an opposition, greedy with mischief and power lust, frustrate the hopes of tens of millions of Nigerians with regard to healthcare, schools and universities, agricultural grants and projects, foreign investment promotion, water supplies, road works, utilities and other obligations of Nigeria as a responsible nation, whose duties are enshrined in Chapter II of the 1999 Constitution. “If this budget is not passed, there will be hunger in the land, and the APC's plan for anarchy would have succeeded.” The group added that while the APC “hid” under the cover of the political crisis in Rivers State to issue its directive, it ignored the situation in Ekiti and Ogun states, “where APC factions have violently engaged themselves as sitting APC governors try to foreclose challengers.” The NUG also observed that in Kwara, Borno and Kano states, “APC thugs are forcibly taking measures against the PDP.” The group denied that the NUG was a merger of the four parties. It described itself simply as a “multi-party platform.” The group parried questions on the numerical composition of the NUG, but insisted that the APC's plan to be the majority party in the House “will remain a mirage.” When asked to clarify the mode of resistance to be offered by the NUG, a member of the group, Mr. Friday Itula (PDP, Edo State), replied that it would be by using the numerical rating of the parties. He however did not give the numerical rating of the parties. On current standing, the APC has 172 members known officially on the floor. The PDP bandies between 166 and 171 members. LP has 10; APGA, five; and Accord, four. The implication of the alliance between the four parties is that they will control a joint majority of between 185 and 190, depending on whether 166 or 171 is used as the current figure for the PDP. In this way, the NUG plans to neutralise the APC when decisions are to be taken on major issues before the House. But, investigations showed that APC members were banking on the support of some 30 PDP members whom they described as “PDP in garb, but APC in spirit” to block the Presidency's legislative proposals. Before the NUG briefing, some members of the PDP, who called themselves “Concerned Lawmakers,” had also urged their APC colleagues to ignore the directive to shut down government operations. “Nigerians have in the past been taken unawares when such threats were dismissed as mere ranting of aggrieved politicians. In fact, we call on all security and intelligence agencies to as a matter of duty, pick up any Nigerian or group of Nigerians who make seditious comments inciting the public to violence or self-help justice,” said the group, which is led by Mr. Yakubu Barde (PDP, Kaduna State). Mr. Kyari Gujbawu (PDP, Borno) and Ms. Ka'amuna Khadi (PDP, Borno) are also members of the 'concerned lawmakers.' The lawmakers also attended the briefing by the NUG.
The APC caucus in House told The PUNCH that it was not afraid of the alliance between the four parties. “We are ready for them and we will meet on the floor,” the Minority Leader of the House and APC Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, stated. He said that by “rushing” to form an alliance with the three other parties, the PDP had confirmed that it had “indeed lost” the majority leadership of the House. Gbajabiamila said, “What they have done simply means that the APC has truly made a serious impact; we are not bothered because we will meet on the floor. “Let PDP not celebrate for too long because you don't know where the heart of the person you entered into alliance with is. “They may identify with you publicly, but when it comes to voting in the House, they will vote where their heart is.” Source: Punch