AGAIN APC TRIES TO INTERVENE IN HOUSE CRISIS OVER PADDING, INVITES ALL PARTIES

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is meeting today with House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara and some estranged members over alleged budget malfeasance.
APC leaders Tuesday last week met separately with the speaker and former chairman of appropriation committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin, whose allegations over illegal budget alterations sparked the crisis.
The truce brokered by the party had barely completed sitting when two groups formed in the wake of the crisis stepped up their demands for the ouster of the speaker and other House leaders.
The Transparency Group and the Integrity Group, whose goals are almost similar, were billed to meet yesterday but the party asked them to suspend the gathering and come for today’s meeting.
While the Transparency Group isHouse crisis: APC summons Dogara, aggrieved members demanding an external probe into the matter, the Integrity Group wants such probe to be expanded to include all the 10 principal officers of the House.
Both groups are asking the speaker to step down to allow for a thorough investigation into the matter.
Sources told Daily Trust that the party will try to get the speaker and his estranged members to agree not to escalate the crisis more than it already is, as it tries to find a way to end the squabbles.
It was further learnt that the party still feels embarrassed about the happenings and wants to act fast to avoid further embarrassment.
Speaking with Daily Trust, a member of the Transparency Group said: “The party invited us and the other group (Integrity Group) for a meeting tomorrow, so we have to postpone our meeting.
“We know it has to do with the budget issue, but we don’t know if they’ll ask us to backtrack on our position. Whatever they say, we’ll have to decide as a group.”
Tambuwal intervenes
Daily Trust also gathered that the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, would be meeting with the members of the two groups reportedly to also broker a truce.
Tambuwal, himself a former House Speaker, is said to be Dogara’s main man and he was said to have briefed some of his loyalists among the lawmakers to support the speaker in the ongoing crisis.
Last Friday Dogara had said budget padding was not an offence under the Nigerian law after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that he would not resign because he was not found guilty of any wrong doing.
But members of the Transparency Group, which boasts of members across all political parties in the House, said on Saturday that the speaker made surreptitious insertions into the 2016 budget for which he should face trial.
They said they were “appalled and deeply shocked” to hear the Speaker exonerate himself from the budget-padding scandal raging in the House.
“For a person of Speaker’s standing to … come out publicly in defence of an action that is clear negation of federal character principles and a breach of trust is both disappointing and dishonourable.
The House crises began on July 20 when the Speaker sacked Jibrin as chairman appropriation committee for illegally allocating N4 billion projects for his constituency.
Jibrin in turn said the Speaker, his deputy together with chief whip, Alhassan Ado Doguwa and the minority leader, Leo Ogor, have illegally pork-barrelled projects worth over N40 billion into the 2016 national budget.

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