DAGOGO: Will Reps stand up for its own?
By Adebiyi Adedapo
I am not a lawyer, therefore, my position on this subject matter may not be apt. Nevertheless, it is pertinent to evaluate the response of the House to the arrest and detention of a serving member from Rivers State, Dr Farah Dagogo, who has been remanded in police custody on the order of a Magistrate Court.
At the plenary on Wednesday, another member from Rivers State, Chisom Dike raised a point of order to move a motion of urgent public importance titled, ‘Unlawful arrest, arraignment and detention of Hon. Dr Farah Dagogo, member representing Bonny/Degema Federal Constituency of Rivers State, a governorship aspirant of Peoples Democratic Party.’
But rather than look beyond the immediate political consideration and factor the overall image of the House, some PDP lawmakers attempted to thwart the debate on the subject matter.
This is so because the ‘demigod’ of the PDP, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State is an interested party, and those who want to dodge Wike’s wrath would spare no effort to frustrate any parliamentary resolution in favour of Dagogo.
For the records, Wike declared Dagogo, wanted for allegedly hiring cultists to attack the Peoples Democratic Party’s secretariat in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, 27th April. Within 24hours m, the police in Rivers State arrested Dagogo while appearing for the screening of the governorship aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Port Harcourt.
Eventually, Dagogo, who is now standing trial on two count charges of conspiracy to commit felony to cause a breach of peace and instigate members of a secret cult to disrupt a screening process at the state secretariat of the PDP in Port Harcourt, was arraigned before a magistrate and but his plea was not taken.
The presiding Chief Magistrate, Amadi Nna, after sighting the two counts against the defendant, could not allow the charges, sighting a new rule which did not empower the Magistrate Court to hear a case of cultism and adjourned till 9th May for bail application.
Could this be a deliberate ploy to prevent Dagogo from participating in the PDP primaries? I am particularly not sure that the party would be willing to screen the lawmaker even if he regains his freedom tomorrow. This is a bad omen, that if allowed to stand will be replicated for political interests in the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, quite unfortunately, the House as an institution has left Dagogo in the cold, no formal statement has been made as regards the incident, not even to categorically state that the development is being closely monitored.
When the matter was raised on the floor of the House by Dike, a member of the APC, chairman of the PDP caucus, Kingsley Chinda who is also from Rivers raised a point of order to urge the House not to take Dike’s motion. Chinda noted that it is against the rule of the House to legislate on a matter that is already before a court. The minorityleader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu also toed the same line of argument but Gbajabimila, in his wisdom took the motion to ensure that the leadership of the House offer their intervention through a back door channel.
Is this the best the House could do? What if Dagogo is just being persecuted for daring the powers that be in the state? I certainly expected more from the House and I hope not to be completely disappointed.
While others shy away from the political undertone of Dagogo’s predicament, the deputy speaker, Hon Ahmed Idris Wase hit the nail on the head and for this, he earned respect again.
Was said, “ I still want to appeal, when it comes to the welfare of our colleagues we should be there for one another, I watched Governor Wike’s interview, he was explaining how he was framed up for murder and armed robbery just for him to become a local government chairman and eventually through the Supreme Court, he got the chairman. In the same light with this fellow who is our colleague, I will wish to ask Hon Chinda to report to us here the effort done by the Rivers caucus, regarding sorting out this matter. Whether we like it or not, it has a political dimension, if the man is seeking to be governor, now he has been screened out through whatever means, he is not struggling with his life and to create a good name for himself. I don’t think everybody must go through the same procedure for them to be leaders. We should not allow this person to be damaged beyond repair so that we don’t come back in regrets.”
Nigerians are waiting to see the outcome of the back door diplomacy, we are also waiting to see if Dagogo will be prevented from participating in the PDP primaries just based on mere allegations.