The member representing Tai/Eleme/Oyigbo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Dr. Barry Mpigi recently defected along with 37 members of the House from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He spoke to Dennis Naku on why he dumped APC, the failure of the Muhammadu Buhari government to handle insecurity in the country and why he believes Governor Nyesom Wike deserves a second term.
You were a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) until recently?
I was a member of the reformed All Progressives Congress (r-APC) before defecting to the PDP and my name was number two on the list. I was presented to the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives to inform him of my willingness to go back to the PDP where I originally belonged.
What exactly does the R-APC represent?
The R-APC was a faction of the fictionalised APC.
That means you have defected from the APC?
Yes. I have left the APC.
So, why did you dump the APC?
I left the APC because of its factionalisation and the impunity level of the APC in Nigeria. I defected to save Nigeria. The APC is in crisis.
Can you explain what you mean by factionalisation?
In Rivers State where I come from, we have the Magnus Abe faction, the Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi faction and the R-APC faction that I hitherto belonged. The centre could no longer hold.
Can you throw more light on what you mean by impunity?
Nigeria needs to be safe for all to live in. Each day on earth, people are being killed everyday in Nigeria. Armed robbery is on the increase. Just imagine armed policemen blocking the Senate President from leaving his official residence. Autocracy is taking over as if we are in a military regime. As it is, like minds are coming together to rescue Nigeria in 2019.
Where you a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)?
Of course, yes! Most of those crying wolf now including Rotimi Amaechi because we left the APC were together with us in the PDP before we defected to the APC. We even formed the new-PDP before we joined the APC. We can always apologise to the PDP for moving over to the APC. So, we are back home.
Why did you leave the PDP?
We left the PDP in an attempt to rescue Rivers State at that time. We tried a model which we thought would work for Nigeria, but that model failed us. We can always apologise to PDP.
What were your grievances for leaving the PDP?
For me, what made me to leave the PDP in 2014 are far smaller when compared to what made me to leave the APC for the PDP. I am assuring those still out there that the PDP is a better place to belong. And that is why we have apologised to the PDP that we took a wrong step and we are now back home.
To be more specific, why did you leave the PDP?
My people were not getting anything from the PDP at that time. My people are now benefiting from the state government. Things are now happening in all 23 local government areas in Rivers State because a grassroots man is in charge of the state government.
Would you say your group gave the new National Chairman of the APC enough time to mediate in settling whatever grievances you had against the leadership of the APC?
I cannot talk about the APC and Adams Oshiomhole because I am not a member of their party anymore. I can talk of the Rivers State Chairman of the PDP, Felix Obuah; I can talk of the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus. But I cannot talk about Oshiomhole that is bullying the whole country as we speak: claiming he is even more powerful than the President of the country. If that is what they mean by Change, good for the APC. We are more concerned with the positive change that is taking place in the PDP right now.
You were very vocal in the support of Senator Magnus Abe’s governorship ambition which has led to a glaring conflict between your camp and Amaechi’s group which could affect your chances of getting an APC’s ticket in 2019.
Senator Abe is an individual; I am also an individual. So, I don’t want to talk about Abe and his political party. I can talk about Governor Nyesom Wike who is my friend and who is doing very well for the people of Rivers State. I can talk about the 4, 432 polling units in the state; I can talk about the 319 wards and 23 local governments areas in Rivers State as it affects the PDP. I can talk about the infrastructural strides of Governor Wike because I am working with Wike. I do not want to talk about Abe and his political party.
So, you defected for purely political reasons?
I defected because democracy is at play in the PDP. You need to do what you think you are competent in doing. You need to do what you have been asked to do. I am doing it for the people of Eleme/Tai/Oyigbo Federal Constituency to be specific. I am doing it for the people of Rivers State and I am doing it for Nigerians.
Governor Wike just flagged off a road construction in Tai which was abandoned about 50 years ago; a road that was abandoned by the Amaechi administration. My people will benefit from using the road now. Members of the APC and PDP will use the road and that is because of my personal relationship with Governor Wike. So, I am not doing it for Barry Mpigi. I am doing it for my people and it is a positive change and positive development that my people can see. Our people in Tai have agreed to work for the PDP so that we can attract development to the area.
The contentious national legislative re-run of 2015, and the re-scheduled re-run elections for Rivers South East Senatorial District and the Eleme/Tai/Oyigbo Federal Constituency in 2016, pitched you and Senator Abe against the Rivers State Chairman of the PDP, Felix Obuah, leading to heated arguments from both parties at that time. How do you intend to manage this sour relationship now that you are back in the PDP?
Felix Obuah has been my long time friend and we worked tirelessly together when I was in the PDP. I was duly elected by the people and the court of law has also affirmed the legitimacy of my election. What is past is past. What is important is to move Rivers State forward.
Are you sure that the PDP will retain the governorship seat in Rivers State in 2019?
Governor Wike is doing very, very well and his projects will speak for him. For a governor that has done so much for his people, the only way to appreciate him is to return him to Government House in 2019. Governor Wike has already covered 50 per cent of the 100 metres race for the 2019 governorship election.
The other parties are yet to even pick a governorship candidate. They are bickering among themselves. They are factionalised while the PDP and Governor Wike remain focused on developing Rivers State and impacting in the lives of the people.
Gbajabiamila Wants Assemblies To Rescue LG System
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, has urged State Houses of Assembly to save the Local Government Area system in Nigeria from imminent collapse through its instrument of law making.
The speaker made the appeal at the opening of a one-day round-table with Speakers of State Houses of Assembly in Lagos yesterday.
Declaring the round-table open, Gbajabiamila, represented by Mr Idris Wase, the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, said a revitalised local government system would bring about effective governance.
He said that for a more robust 9th Aassembly, there was need for State Houses of Assembly to invest in knowledge acquisition by running short and long term courses in areas such as budget implementation and related programmes so that through oversight engagements, they could insist on real value for money on contracts awarded for the well-being of citizens in whose mandate they stood.
Gbajabiamila disclosed that the National Assembly would commence its process on the work of its constitutional review committee.
“In that process, there will be need for synergy between the NASS and State Houses of Assembly.
“There is need for caution. The caution lies in our collective efforts to ensure that the work of lawmakers, be it in state or national, do not suffer any infringement.
“We must not only be seen to be working but work in a way that our work will speak for us. Of particular note is the need to point out the sanctity of the National Assembly do not suffer any infringement,” Gbajabiamila said.
He commended the organisers of the round-table, saying the timing was apt given that the 9th National Assembly was just concluding it’s preparation for proper take off in its four years duration.
In a goodwill message, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislators of Nigeria, urged relevant stakeholders to intensify efforts toward implementation of the constitutional provision of financial autonomy to state legislature and judiciary with a view to strengthening democracy.
“It is well over a year that President Muhammadu Buhari gave assent to financial autonomy for both state legislature and judiciary in the last constitution review,” the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly said.
Obasa, represented by Mr Abel Peter Dia, Taraba Speaker, urged the lawmakers to be active participants in the round-table.
Also, the Oyo State Speaker, Mr Adebola Ogundoyin, said the lawmakers as democrats want the laws implemented which was part of the reasons for the round-table.
“There are a lot of local government areas issues. We intend to resolve them once and for all and all arms of government.must sit to agree on the implementation,” he said.
Earlier in his address of welcome, the Director of National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, organisers of the round-table, said the conference was the first since the 2019 election.
He said the lawmakers had enormous responsibilities to the Nigerian people in the spheres of ensuring good governance, providing a forum for grassroots representation and oversights.
Kwara Assembly Dissolves Three Agencies
The Kwara House of Assembly yesterday dissolved three statutory commissions inaugurated by the last administration.
The three dissolved commissions are the Kwara State Civil Service Commission, Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission (KWASElC) and the state Assembly Service Commission.
The dissolution followed a request by GovernorAbdulRahman AbdulRasaq in his correspondences to the House read on the floor of the House read by the Speaker, Danladi Yajubu-Salihu.
The governor, in his three messages requesting the approval of the House for the removal of Chairmen and members of the three statutory commissions, said he relied on Section 201 Sub-section one and two of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He said that the chairmen and members of the commissions had been given fair bearing, but found them incapable of discharging their statutory functions as a result of gross misconducts.
The Speaker directed the Clerk of the House, Hajia Halimah Perogi, to conduct voting for members on the request of the governor .
The voting indicated that the required two-third majority supported the removal of the chairmen and members of the three commissions.
According to the governor’s message, the members of the Kwara State Civil Service Commission were Alhaji Sakariyah Onimago (Chairman), Samuel Bamisaiye, a member, Alhaji Sharook Mohammed, a member and AbdulSalam Agbaje-Opobiyi,a member.
Those removed at the Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission (KWASEC) were Eleja Taiwo-Banu (Chairman), Jimoh Gabriel-Yemi, a member, Nasuru Ayo-Lawal, a member, lssa Abdul-Kayode, a member, Dr Dele Kayode, a member, Saidu lssa-Abdulllahi, a member, and Adesina Mohammed, a member.
The members of the dissolved Kwara State Assembly Service Commission are former Speaker of the Kwara Assembly, Babatunde Mohammed, Nimota Aduke-lbrahim, Atolagbe Alege, Babako Mohammed and Alex Bankole.
The Speaker directed the clerk to communicate the dissolution of the three statutory commissions to the governor.
Dep Gov’s Impeachment: Kogi Assembly Urges CJ To Constitute Panel
The Kogi State House of Assembly has requested the state Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah, to constitute a seven-man Panel of Inquiry to investigate allegations of gross misconduct against the Deputy Governor of the state, Elder Simon Achuba.
The Assembly made the request in a resolution reached at plenary yesterday in Lokoja, following the adoption of a motion by the Majority Leader, Abdullahi Bello-Balogun (APC-Ajaokuta).
The motion called for an investigation into the allegations, which is a second step toward impeachment of the public officer.
Presenting the motion, Bello-Balogun said the motion was sequel to issuance of a Notice of Allegations to the deputy governor on August 8, 2019.
He explained that the deputy governor evaded service of the Notice of Allegations on him and also directed that none of his aides should receive any correspondence from the Assembly on his behalf.
Bello-Balogun said that the prayers calling for investigation in the motion were in line with Section 188(3) which stipulated that the House should resolve by motion, supported by not less than two-third of members, to request the Chief Judge to set up the seven-man panel to investigate the allegations.
According to him, the deputy governor’s open vilification of Governor Yahaya Bello and the State Government as well as the alleged discrete and open support for candidates of the opposition parties during the Presidential, National and State Assembly elections in February and March, amounted to gross misconduct.
Supporting the motion, the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Mohammed (APC-Ankpa), described the situation as worrisome and the motion as appropriate.
Mohammed said that the seven-man committee should be made up of persons of impeccable character as outlined in the country’s constitution.
Ruling on the motion, the Speaker, Prince Matthew Kolawole, said questions as to ascertain the number of members who supported the adoption of the motion was 19 and more than the required number of 17 members
Kolawole, therefore, directed the House to communicate to the Chief Judge to within seven days constitute a panel to investigate the deputy governor.
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