By Alex Agbo in Abuja
Ahead of Tuesday’s resumption of the House of Representatives, Monday’s meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and warring factions of the All Progressives Congress members in the House has ended in a deadlock.
It was learnt that the two factions, the one led by Speaker Yakubu Dogara and the other by Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the official candidate of the party for Speakership, stuck to their guns at the meeting.
Signs that the meeting would be stalemated had emerged on Sunday when the pro-Dogara group, at a news conference in Abuja, said the Gbajabiamila group had accepted the positions given them and that the crisis had ended, the pro-Gbajabiamila group quickly held a counter press conference where they declared that nothing had been resolved.
WESTERN POST learnt that at the meeting, President Buhari also pleaded with the lawmakers to toe the party’s position as a way of resolving the crisis.
After Hon. Dogara and his group had thwarted the emergence of Gbajabiamila as Speaker, the APC had proposed Gbajabiamila as the Majority Leader of the House.
The former Minority Leader of the House, Gbajabiamila had returned to the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja again on Saturday to confer with President Buhari ostensibly on the crisis rocking the House. He had first met with President Buhari on Friday over the same issue.
Attempts by the APC through its Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun in a letter to Dogara to cede the position of House Majority Leader to Dogara has also been rebuffed by Dogara who argued in his reply to Oyegun’s letter that such would negate the principle of federal character in the distribution of House leadership position since the Deputy Speaker Hon Lasun Yusuf is from the South-west as Gbajabiamila.
This has sharply divided the House into two major factions, with Gbajabiamila insisting on being given the position of House Leader as compensation.
The failure of Dogara to allow Gbajabiamila in as House Leader has further aggravated the crisis in the House with two lawmakers loyal to Gbajabiamila dragging Dogara to court over the appointment of principal officers.
Friday was Gbajabiamila’s second time and Saturday third time in the Villa to meet with Buhari, after last month’s meeting when he led 29 other colleagues to lay their complaints at a meeting with the President.
Sources said there are two positions been canvassed to get out of the logjam in the House and which may have come up in the discussion between the president and Gbajabiamila.
One is for Gbajabiamila to let go the position of House Leader or for the party to get the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Yusuf from Osun State, to resign to pave way for Gbajabiamila to emerge as House Leader.
Pressure is being mounted on Yusuf at present to resign but Yusuf has said he wont resign. But the Deputy Speaker has said he won’t step down, saying he was elected by a majority House members.
Contacted over Gbajabiamila’s meeting with Buhari, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the president, Mr. Femi Adesina, said he did not know details of the meeting.
Gbajabiamila himself was unwilling to divulge details of the parley with Buhari.
Emerging from the meeting on Friday, Gbajabiamila, who was at the Villa unaccompanied, declined to take questions from State House correspondents, saying he was in a hurry “to see the Chairman”, obviously referring to APC Chairman Oyegun.
Gbajabiamila has been courting the support of President Buhari over the matter. Buhari has expressed support for the party position, saying the party is supreme.