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Buhari gives Reps Marching Orders to resolve crisis within six hours

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the gladiators in the ongoing crisis in the House of Representatives to resolve all pending issues within six hours, ahead of the resumption of house plenary Tuesday.

Mr. Buhari met with the All Progressives Congress, APC, house caucus at the Presidential Villa Abuja, Monday.

One of the members who attended the meeting, which lasted about 30 minutes, told PREMIUM TIMES that the president “did not waste time, but simply reminded members on the need for party discipline”.

“He said he never wanted to interfere in the affairs of the Legislature, but he’s now forced to do so to maintain party discipline,” the source quoted the president as saying.

The source, who declined to be named because he was not permitted to speak to the media on the outcome of the meeting, said Mr. Buhari asked Speaker Yakubu Dogara and Femi Gbajabiamila to hold a meeting with the national chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun and find a solution to the problem within the next six hours.

“The president said it was unacceptable for him to be in office under the APC, and the PDP would be allowed to dictate who occupies positions in an administration he heads,” the source said.

“Buhari urged all members to look beyond themselves and consider the country and the platform under which they were elected.”

The source added that the APC leadership is expected to brief the president on the outcome of the meeting between Messrs. Dogara, Gbajabiamila and Odigie-Oyegun.

The meeting with the lawmakers had ended without a consensus on how to solve the lingering crisis.

Members emerged from the brief talks with the president, insisting on their varied terms as the solution to the crisis. Some lawmakers threatened violence.

The House is resuming Tuesday after nearly a month break.

The prolonged break followed a violent clash on the floor of the chambers after members supporting the speaker, Mr. Dogara, and those backing former minority leader, Mr. Gbajabiamila, engaged in a free-for-all.

Mr. Dogara emerged speaker in defiance of the APC leadership’s decision to anoint Mr. Gbajabiamila for the office.

Since then, the party has insisted Mr. Gbajabiamila be made the majority leader, a proposal Mr. Dogara rejects. The speaker says Mr. Gbajabiamila’s south west region has produced the deputy speaker, Yusuf Lasun.

Ahead of resumption Tuesday, the house warned against violence that may again erupt on the floor of the house.

Mr. Lasun also vowed Monday that he will not step down for Mr. Gbajabiamila as a way of resolving the crisis.

Messrs Dogara and Gbajabiamila were in attendance at the meeting with President Buhari.

Mr. Gbajabiamila, who spoke to journalists first, said the president insisted that the party was supreme and its structures must be adhered to.

“We spoke heart to heart with the president,” he said, adding that this was the first time the two groups had met peacefully.

Mr. Dogara and the party chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, who had extra discussions with the president, later emerged to speak with the press amid heckling from some members who threatened to assault the speaker if he said anything different.

The chairman of the party, Mr. Odigie-Oyegun, who spoke on behalf of the party, said the meeting was a family meeting and was a success, adding that in another three to four hours, there will be good news.

He opted to speak for Mr. Dogara, but the speaker spoke for himself saying he had always been on the side of the party as against the opinion of his other colleagues.

The members are expected to meet with the leadership of the party and come up with names to fill the slots for the principal officers and revert to the president. They are expected to meet with the president later Monday night.

 

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