Home OPINION COMMENTARY Politics Of Speakership Of Reps: Dogara’s Chance, By Simon Reef

Politics Of Speakership Of Reps: Dogara’s Chance, By Simon Reef

Yakubu Dogara
Yakubu Dogara

Few days to the inauguration of the 8th session of the National Assembly, the permutation over who becomes the Speaker of the House of Representatives has become too obvious as to where the pendulum will swing, regarding who becomes the speaker. With the formal withdrawal, by Abdulmumin Jibrin, from the race in favour of Yakubu Dogara, both zones have now closed ranks for the speakership.
Identifying the attributes of the Bauchi-born lawmaker as the reason for his decision to withdraw from the race and support his candidature, Jibrin noted that Dogara “is a man who epitomises personal discipline, a man who has the full conviction of his faith and a man who has strong family values. “He played a critical role in stabilising the House after the defection of the 37 legislators from PDP to APC. He is a cognate member with a wide parliamentary experience and extensive understanding of the rules and workings of the House.”
The decision by Jibrin to step down for Dogara shocked political pundits who had since predicted heady days ahead for all aspirants who have been engaged in consultation for the coveted seat.
Reputed to comprise members who have always stood on what they believe to be the best for the country, the refusal of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) to be involved in zoning key offices of National Assembly has afforded the Reps another rare opportunity to elect the most acceptable candidate that is capable of carrying everyone along.
There seems to be a consensus across geo-political zones and party affiliation that for the vibrant and untainted era of former Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal to be re-enacted, a personality that has lived above board and left footprints of commendable performance profile in legislative duties is imperative. And Dogara fits the bill.
A third timer, the Bauchi-born lawmaker, is reputed to possess a commendable pedigree in academics, having obtained a law degree from the University of Jos, and a masters degree in International Commercial Law from the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. This academic laurel, coupled with his 22 year experience as a lawyer, has assisted him to tremendously shape and influence his work as a legislator.
Coming from the North-east geo-political zone that has been described as heavily marginalized at the point of political office distribution, not a few believe that the emergence of Dogara as Speaker is capable of addressing the injustice of the past. Having delivered the second highest votes to the APC after the North-west, Dogara’s chances is bolstered across party lines, as his candidature has broadened the bridge of consensus and united the House for a common goal.
Beyond the rays of definite hope to clinch the speakership position, Dogara has not relented, as he has embarked on intensive consultation with elected members of the House, and articulating his point of focus if elected to head the House.
In a letter he wrote to the elected lawmakers, and dated June 1, 2015, Dogara was categorical in saying that his aspiration to lead the House is hinged on the need to provide a visionary leadership as espoused by former Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal who ensured that the Parliament was united with the Nigerian people and worked together to ensure the desired change.
Reminding elected members of the historic decision by the House of Representatives to remain independent, Dogara recalled: “The House has charted a course for itself of being independent and devoid of any external interferences, but this was only achieved after members defied the powers that be and overwhelmingly voted for leadership of their choice on June 6, 2011.
“Now, a new dawn is here. History beckons. Our destiny is in our hands; here comes a chance to continue on this noble path of making hard choices, not easy ones, thereby freeing ourselves and the institution we cherish from internal and external shackles.
“As members of the 8th Assembly, we have a golden opportunity in our hands to consolidate on the numerous achievements of the 7th House of Reps, especially as it concerns its independence. This is the only way by which we can secure the destinies of our constituents who have invested their confidence in us.”
Considering the chances of deepening and sustaining the present democracy, the need to have someone who is firm and free from manipulation by external factors is necessary and important. Having being a part of that historic event that put a stop to external interferences in the election of leaders for the House, there can be no better person who can re-enact that momentous and iconic moment that remains indelible in the history of the National Assembly.
Among the contestants for the speakership, Dogara remains the only one that has clearly laid out plans for what he intends to achieve for the lower chamber of the National Assembly if elected. Among his top priority list is to ensure a united and an independent House of Representatives that will cooperate with other arms of government in providing good governance for the common good.
Dogara has promised to promote the equality of members and ensure that membership of committees are based on cognate experience and relevant career interest of members. Apart from promising to introduce electronic voting as a regular feature of the House, the Speakership aspirant has promised to carry everyone along in the vision of providing conducive atmosphere for legislative duties.
The leadership qualities of Dogara have attracted endorsements from various geo-political zones in the country and place him far above other contestants. As the bourgeoning popularity of the lawmaker from Bauchi State continues to soar few days to the inauguration of the 8TH Session of the National Assembly, some of the contestants have come to realise that the race is already lost and won. Against the backdrop of challenges facing the new administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, many people agree that what is needed is consensus across party affiliation to ensure the emergence of a firm hand that can provide effective and accountable leadership to assist in making laws for the nation.
If cognate experience in leadership is all that is required to clinch the position of the speakership, then there is no doubt that Dogara is poised to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives. Dogara, after all, is an epitome of knowledge; he is widely read and widely travelled and has the capacity to swing the pendulum in his favour. His performance track record since he was elected as member of the House of Representatives in 2007 speaks volume.
A glance at what he has done since 2007 when he came to the House shows that he had held the position of Chairman, House Ad-hoc Committee on Nigerian Customs Service Probe Panel. He also chaired the Ad-hoc Committee on Disbursement of Public Funds by the Bank of Industry. In handling these and other assignments, he embraced probity, sincerity and time tested principles of humility to achieve results. Little wonder, the House Services Committee which Dogara served under former Speaker Dimeji Bankole and Aminu Waziri Tambuwal was without any scandal, as the lawmaker ensured everybody was carried along.
With the 8th Session of the National Assembly around the corner, we do not need any soothsayer to predict where the pendulum will swing to. By his footprints and pedigree on the job, Dogara is far ahead in the race for the coveted seat.

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Reef, a media practitioner based in Abuja can be reached on: simonreef927@gmail.com [myad]

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