By Levinus Nwabughiogu Hon. Ado Doguwa, from Kano State, is a fifth timer and one of the longest serving members of the House of Representative
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
Hon. Ado Doguwa, from Kano State, is a fifth timer and one of the longest serving members of the House of Representatives.
He was one of those who aspired to be the speaker of the Ninth House. However, early in the week, he stepped down for Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila of Lagos State, as he puts it, to respect the zoning formula of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and declared his readiness to go for any position ceded to the North-West.
Campaigns for the Speakership of the 9th House of Representatives are gathering momentum. How are you preparing for the contest?
With the recent development, I have come to be intimated that the speaker of the House of Representatives of the 9th Assembly has been zoned to the South-West. Be that as it may, being a party man, a loyal person to the cause of the party, a believer in the supremacy of the party, I don’t have any reason again to continue to bid for the speakership of the House of Reps. On that note, I will now like to remain on standby. Just as the speakership is zoned to the South-West, I now wait for the leadership of my party to let us know what has been zoned to the North western party of the country.
This is a zone we have always been proud of and it is a zone that cannot be taken for granted as far as the APC is concerned. Even when we produced the president, we must have to be taken seriously and that is because we have also produced the greatest number of votes for the survival and success of the APC. The president aside, we have committed ourselves and the support of our people to the success of the APC as a party and it has been a 100 % success from bottom to the top
So, I want to believe that the NWC and the major stakeholders of the APC, especially the leader of the party would do nothing but justice to this very important zone. The value of the North Western part of this country in the scheme of things in Nigeria, not just within the APC, is not something that can be taken for granted. So, I now wait as a loyal party member to take a shot at whatever the APC leadership zones to my political zone, the North West zone.
I have all it takes, and all that is required of a leader to qualify as far as parliamentary politics is concerned. I think I am the person to beat as far as the North-West is concerned in the House of Reps. One, I am the most ranking, I am now in the 5th term. I have been in the Green Chambers for the past 29 years. I first started in 1992, during the SDP and NRC transition, the June 12 crisis, even though the dispensation was short lived by a coup. But since then, I have been in the House till now, though I lost election only once in between.
So, as I speak to you, I am the highest ranking member of the House of Reps from the North western part of the country and by extension even from the northern part of the country as a whole. So, this gives me not only the desired experience, not only the intellectual acumen or the necessary exposure, but what you may call institutional memory. I think I have an edge because by parliamentary conventions, ranking is always an important parameter to determine who becomes what and when.
The position of the Speaker is no more our entitlement but let us look for instance, the position of a Deputy Speaker and the least we expect from the APC to do justice to this zone is the House Majority leader. We could qualify for this because the number of members we have from the North-West is about 92 or 93 members, and about 89 of them are members of the ruling APC. This is the only zone where you have more than 99.9% of APC members coming from.
What informed your appearance at Gbajabiamila’s formal declaration?
He invited me by sending me an invitation card, sent me a text and finally came himself to invite me. Whether he did that or not I am under an obligation to attend his event because I am a party man and based on the directive of my party, I have to align with him and my only expectation from the party and from any stakeholder who may be part of any decision to be taken is that this arrangement of bringing up the old order has to be protected down the ladder.
Your colleague, Hon. Jerry Nwagbaosu talked about all inclusive arrangement where you bring in South South and South East. What is your take on that?
Of course, you cannot run a parliament like the Nigerian parliament in a divisive manner. Each time you want to run a parliament, you must be all inclusive because the type of democracy we are running is a federal democracy. Federal in the sense that you have different components that make up the federation. So, as long as you want to run a rancour free administration in every political setting even in the political party as an institution, in the legislature and the government itself, you must be reflective and conscious of all the divisions that we have; ethnic division, tribal division, you have to reflect them, you also have to accommodate even political alliances because you cannot run a parliament like ours one way.
Have you considered the place of the PDP because they have really been watching with keen interest? Do you not think that what happened in 2015 might also play out again?
I think nothing stops the PDP from doing what they are doing. They are opposition party and if they want to make a very good opposition, they have to start from the beginning. So what they are doing is expected of them. I can only wish them well but at the end of the day, they should realise that while we must allow the opposition to have its say, they also have to allow the majority to have its way; this is a number that is undoubted, we have a comfortable majority in the House of Reps and same in the Senate.
So, it is no longer the way it used to be, the strength of the ruling party on the floor of the House by way of number is so unprecedented that nobody can even contemplate a repeat of what happened in the 7th or the 8th assembly. The mother party, APC will ensure all its own legitimate children are made to do exactly the bidding of the APC, the APC and the government of Muhammadu Buhari must get the equation right this time around.
A situation whereby we will have somebody in the PDP or any other party coming to form part of the core leadership of the national assembly will be unacceptable. And I want to confirm to you that efforts are being made and steps have been taken to ensure that these things are checked. Of course we could have some openings in respect of committee leadership, we cannot avoid that. We even have by convention, some committees that are set aside for the minority and they must take their course.
In order to stabilize the House, we must accommodate them in some leadership positions and whether we like it or not experience must always count. So if we have an experienced member of the opposition who is capable of taking any appointment, I don’t think we would be so rigid not to allow that simple flexibility to happen. But we would only be flexible within the context of the control by the ruling party.