Budget-Padding Tracker: Dogara in desperate search for support

As the budget accusation rocking the House of Representatives continues to heighten, Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, is on a desperate search for an additional 28 members to help secure his position as the Speaker, the Nations reports.

Former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, had accused the speaker of padding the 2016 budget. He also revealed that 262 of the 360 members of the House are backing the Speaker.

Dogara is said to have opened a register to keep track of Representatives who were backing him.

However, The Nation reports that Dogara needs 28 signatures from the undecided 98 members to be relatively comfortable in his seat.

The report gave the following breakdown of the 98 Reps who are yet to sign the register: Lagos -18; Sokoto -2; Kogi -1;Bauchi -2; Oyo -6; Kaduna-3; Osun -6; Niger -3;Ondo -4; Taraba -1;Ogun -1; Katsina -3; Kebbi -1;Edo -5; Kano -4;and Benue -1.

The Speaker is facing challenges in the South-West zone but has secured the support of the entire South-East and South-South and Sokoto, Plateau, Benue, Taraba, Kwara, Borno, Ekiti.

 

A source told the Nation that  “About 262 Representatives have signed the register to back Dogara although the target is actually 290 members to Ward off any threat.

“About 98 members have not signed, undecided or on vacation.

“The only challenge Dogara is having borders on poor support base for his Deputy, Yusuff Lasun in the South- West. Out of the 65 Representatives from the South-West, only about 30-36 signed the register. Whereas, Dogara was able to secure 95 per cent signatures of members from the North-East.

“It got to a ridiculous extent that some chairmen of committees from the South-West stayed away from the register. The House leadership considered it a slight.

“At a meeting of pro-Dogara loyalists during the week, the Deputy Speaker was faulted for not embracing his colleagues from the South- West after the House has reconciled.

“Although Lasun gave the details of his rapprochement with Representatives from the South-West, members were not convinced at all.

“Dogara is however doing a lot to persuade Reps from the South-West to forget the past. If the House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila pitches his tent with Dogara, then it will be an easy ride for him.

“So far, there is a lot of pressure on the Deputy Speaker to wield influence on his colleagues from his geopolitical zone to back Dogara.

“Gbajabiamila has a onerous task at hand. The former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Jibrin was on his side before he made a volte face at the last minute. Jibrin’s switch of support earned Dogara the Speakership.

“Members are eager to see whether Gbajabiamila will pay Jibrin back in his own coin or stand by Dogara based on privileged information at his disposal.”

A Rep who supports Dogara reportedly said that “It is going to be a battle to the finish. Some of us have suspended our vacation because of the challenge at hand.

“What I can assure you is that Dogara will survive this battle because he is innocent of all the allegations against him.”

The Speaker and his supporters are said to been reaching out to members of the House for support and backing to avoid losing his Speakership. Dogara was said to have called a planned trip abroad in other to monitor the state of things as the drama around the budget padding allegations continue to unfold.

 

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