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•Speaker plots taking 20 APC Reps to rival party
•Ruling party awaits defectors from Benue, Ekiti

The battle for the control of the House of Representatives by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  is gathering steam following the  expected formal defection  of Speaker Yakubu Dogara  to the opposition party.

Dogara who has ceased to identify publicly with the APC for some time now was, on Thursday, presented with PDP’s nomination form by some of his constituents from Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa federal constituency in Bauchi State.

The APC remains the majority party in the House with members putting its strength between 181 and 192 and that of the PDP at between 156 and 165.

APGA and ADC have five members each, SDP has two while UPP and Accord have one each while one seat is vacant.

Although  the two chambers of the National Assembly are currently on recess, The Nation gathered that key players in the APC and the PDP are doing everything possible to ensure that their party is in control of the House  till  the end of the eighth session of the NASS.

Sources said about 20 APC Reps who are  loyalists  of the Speaker are willing to switch camps with him once he moves.

The aim is to make the PDP the majority party in the House so that Dogara can retain his position as Speaker.

The APC is nothing relenting either.

Sources said the party is determined to retain its majority in the House and is expecting a sizeable number of  PDP defectors mainly from Ekiti and Benue States.

Sources close to Dogara believe it will be difficult to remove him in view of the sheer number of votes required to do so.

Section 50 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended stipulates that two-thirds or 240 votes in the 360-seat House of Representatives are required to remove the Speaker.

Though, the Leader of the House and of the APC Caucus, Femi Gbajabiamila has maintained silence on the matter, a number of APC lawmakers feel that Dogara should not be sitting on the chair of the Speaker when the House returns from its current recess.

When asked to express his reaction to Dogara’s defection and the next steps being contemplated, Gbajabiamila only sent a terse text message: “No comment for now.”



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