By Chinwe Ochu
OrderPaperToday- A member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Mohammed Musa Soba (Soba Federal Constituency, Kaduna State) has revealed that there is a threat to democracy in the green chambers and efforts should begin now to curb this emerging trend.
In an exclusive chat with ORDERPAPER.NG last night on why 11 lawmakers loyal to Majority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila filed a suit against Speaker Yakubu Dogara on December 14 2015, Hon. Soba said that the move is “democracy in action”.
According to him, “the new rules have vested too much power on the Speaker (Dogara) and that is not healthy for our democracy”, in reference to the power of the Speaker to suspend any member who approaches the mace for any intent, and to suspend for 30 days, any member who fails to obey the directive of the presiding officer vested by the Standing Order of the House back in October 2015.
“This is not about the mace”, the Kaduna lawmaker maintained, “but the dictatorial nature of the new rules which makes it impossible to call the Speaker to order. Nobody has the right under our Democracy to suspend a legislator without recourse to the Constitution.”
Soba, a member of the ‘loyalist’ group is one of the 11 plaintiffs who have dragged the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, before an Abuja High Court, challenging his powers to suspend members, as granted by the new standing orders of the House. Joined in the suit is the Clerk of the House, Mr. Mohammed Sani-Omolori, by the plaintiffs, who are all members of the Speaker’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In the suit, the lawmakers asked that the reviewed Standing Orders of the House be declared null, void and unconstitutional.
The loyalists are supporters of the Majority Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, as the battle for the composition of the House leadership raged.
Other ‘loyalist’ plaintiffs are Hon. Aliyu Sani Madaki (Kano), Hon. Yusuf Bala Ikara (Kaduna), Hon. Abubakar Lado Suleja (Niger), Hon. Lawal Yahaya Gumau (Bauchi), Hon. Rotimi Agunsoye (Lagos), Hon. Aminu Ibrahim Malle (Taraba), Hon. Sunday Adepoju (Oyo), Hon. Ahmed Babba Kaita (Katsina), Hon. Philip Shuaibu (Edo) and Hon. Abubakar Chika Adamu (Niger).