Reps in rowdy session as R-APC members identify themselves
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—Plenary of the House of Representatives was, yesterday, at different times thrown into commotion as members of Reformed All Progressives Congress, R-APC, sought to show identity to the loud disapproval of their colleagues in the mainstream All Progressives Congress, APC.
The repeated altercation, which interferred with the proceedings of the House, came as Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, strongly rebuffed claims of disunity in its ranks, saying those claiming to have pulled out were never part of the alliance.
Also, yesterday, members of defunct Congress for Progressives Change, CPC, from the South, under the aegis of Southern Mandate, yesterday, identified themselves with the R-APC.
The CPC was one of the parties which collapsed into the APC in 2013.
Meanwhile, Vanguard has learned of increasing agitation of some APC members aligned to the R-APC as they plan to exit the party on which platform they were elected to the House.
Already, many of the members have folded the APC flag in their respective offices.
“Wait and see what will happen in the weeks ahead, just before the primary elections of political parties begin,” a source privy to the developments told Vanguard.
Trouble started in the House of Representatives, yesterday, when Speaker Yakubu Dogara yielded the floor to Bode Ayorinde (Ondo State) to make his contribution to an ongoing debate on a motion by Ossy Prestige from Abia State to prevail on the Federal Government to conduct census by next year.
Introducing himself, Ayorinde stressed that he was a member of the R-APC. His introduction was swiftly challenged by Johnson, who incidentally was himself not too long ago a member of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, before crossing over to APC. He insisted that APC was not factionalised.
The issue prompted spontaneous reactions from PDP members who cheered and booed in response.
In a bid to save the situation, Speaker Dogara told Ayorinde: “We are called Honourable members here.”
After Ayorinde was allowed to speak, the issue resurrected almost immediately when the Speaker, again, called on Rep Tope Olayanu from Kwara State to second a motion.
Olayanu said: “Mr. Speaker, I am a bonafide member of R-APC.”
Again, agitated mainstream members of the APC decried him, forcing Speaker Dogara to again intervene, saying: “Olayanu, I called you to second the motion, not to announce the party you are in.”
For about 60 seconds, the House became noisy with loud cheers and boos by members after which the House proceeded with the plenary.
Atiku meet PDP House caucus
Meanwhile, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was last night set to meet with the PDP House caucus. The meeting was yet to commence at press time.
A source told Vanguard that the meeting was not unconnected with the looming defection and resolve to sell his presidential ambition to the lawmakers.
CUPP dismisses reports of discord
Member of the Steering Committee of the CUPP and National Chairman of the Progressive People’s Alliance PPA, Chief Peter Ameh, described political parties, which have spoken against the coalition as spineless bootlickers incapable of standing for anything good.
He said: “List the names of the parties that have denounced the agreement; just nine political parties calling themselves 22? They were never part of the agreement from inception and were never invited to any of the meetings where discussions and deliberations were held.
Defunct CPC members hail CUPP
On their part, members of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, from the 17 Southern states, under the auspices of Southern Mandate Nigeria, have asked Nigerians to appreciate the leadership of the R-APC for their ability to increase their stake in the Nigerian project.
National Coordinator of the Mandate, Comrade Ikonomwan Francis, told Vanguard that “it was becoming very obvious that All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government had made Nigerians frustrated and hopeless in a manner that they can no longer speak for themselves, while nobody was dogged enough to speak for them.”