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Battle ahead as Tambuwal formally defects

Finally, Speaker  of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, yesterday formally dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying the decision to change political party became necessary owing to internal crisis in the Sokoto State chapter.This is coming at a time when the PDP and APC members in the House are priming for battle on whether Tambuwal would retain his seat, as Speaker or not following his defection. There are indications that PDP members may make moves to impeach Tambuwal. A two-third of members is required for his impeachment if PDP is to move against him. Though the party commands a majority, it lacks the figure to effect the Speaker’s impeachment.

Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Mulikat Adeola-Akande, told Daily Sun that PDP lawmakers were awaiting directives from the party on what to do over Tambuwal’s defection.

Also, the Minority Leader of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, said the APC lawmakers would stand by Tambuwal.

Announcing his defection, shortly before the end of yesterday’s plenary, Tambuwal said his decision was dictated by emerging political realities in his home state, Sokoto. He declared that APC had become the toast of residents of the state and, therefore, he must go with his people. Thereafter, he  adjourned plenary till December 3.

He said: “Before I hit the gavel on the motion for adjournment, I want to make this formal announcement to this House. Based on the provision of the 1999 constitution and having regards to the development of PDP in my own state, Sokoto State, I hereby announce my membership with the All Progressives Congress (APC).”

“Let me register my profound appreciation to all of you, my colleagues, for the unflinching support you have continued to extend to me for the overall national interest and development of our democracy.”

Reacting to the development, Hon. Adeola-Akande declared that PDP would direct members on the step to be taken.

She said: “This is a party affairs. Members take decision on the floor based on party. So, the party will take decision at the appropriate time.”

Tambuwal’s announcement of his defection on the floor was immediately followed with a shout of “APC! APC! APC!”  by the party’s lawmakers.

Although PDP members were  rattled  by the announcement, some of them mustered strength to counter their colleagues in the APC. They shouted: “PDP! Power; PDP! Power.”

Jubilant APC members moved straight from the chamber to a meeting room where they addressed newsmen on the defection of Tambuwal.

Leader of the party’s caucus in the House and Minority Leader, Hon. Gbajabiamila,  said the Speaker’s move was long expected.

Reading a prepared speech, he said: “We welcome and applaud the Speaker’s decision. Ever since the crises started in PDP, which led to the formation of the ‘New PDP’, and the defection of five PDP governors, 37 PDP members of the House of Representatives to the APC, and the formal merger of the ‘New PDP’ with the APC, we had all along known that this day will come.

“We are proud to acknowledge that the Speaker remains not only a member of the House of Representatives but also its Speaker. This position is consistent with the law and practice in a presidential system of government.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Constitution requires only: “‘Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be elected by members of that House from among themselves.’ Rt. Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has been a Speaker for all the members, all the political parties and for all Nigerians and will so continue.

“As a caucus, we pledge our continued support to the current leadership of the House of Representatives. We will not do anything to destabilise the institution of the House of Representatives so that it will continue to deliver on the mandate given to its members by Nigerians.

“More than ever before, there is need for vigilance and focus on the concerns of the Nigerian people, who elected all of us.”

Asked to state the exact number of APC members in the House, Gbajabiamila said PDP still had majority in the House.

He dismissed the insinuation that the decision to adjourn till December 3 by Tambuwal was to avoid a possible move to unseat him by PDP members.

Another official of the caucus, Hon. Samson Osagie, declared that the adjournment was to enable members participate  in political activities as well as  some sensitive committee assignments.

He said the House had no reason to be afraid of some people, moving against the Speaker because the House had been one.

Stating where the entire House stood on the defection, Deputy House spokesman, Hon. Victor Ogene, submitted that there was nothing wrong with the Speaker joining  APC.

He argued that it was not the first time somebody from the opposition would head the House.

He recalled that in the Second Republic, Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke of the defunct Nigerian Peoples Party(NPP), served as Speaker of the House despite the fact that National Party of Nigeria (NPN) had majority of members in the chamber.

Ogene argued that National Assembly members were swayed by political consideration in taking decision.

Meanwhile, there are speculations that Tambuwal may bid for the APC presidential ticket or Sokoto State governorship ticket.

 

••• His exit is good riddance to bad rubbish – PDP 

 FROM TAIWO AMODU, ABUJAThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the defection of Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, as good riddance to bad rubbish.Reacting to the Speaker’s defection yesterday, National Secretary of the ruling party, Professor Wale Oladipo, said since Hon. Tambuwal’s assumption of office as Speaker, he had always shunned invitations to the party’s functions, including invitation to its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.

He expressed confidence that the PDP would win the forthcoming governorship election in Sokoto State.

Said he: “Good riddance! He is a nomadic politician, who worked against the interest of his party to emerge as Speaker. It is a lesson for our people in South-west and they should ensure that they  vote for President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.

“His exit is good riddance to bad rubbish.  As national secretary, I always write to him, to attend our party functions but he was always giving one excuse or another. PDP won’t miss him. We shall win Sokoto State.”

• • • Speaker should vacate office – Akpabio

FROM TAIWO AMODU, ABUJA

Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum and Akwa Ibom State governor, Obong Godswill Akpabio, has urged Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, to vacate his position.

Tambuwal yesterday dumped the PDP for the All Progressives Congress (APC). Speaking yesterday at the PDP national secretariat, Governor Akpabio advised the Speaker to resign from the position he presently occupies.

He stated: “For me, we had always suspected that the Speaker of the House of Representatives was in name a PDP member but in action, an opposition party member and so, what has happened today is a culmination of what we had always suspected and I do expect that being an honourable member, which he is, I will also expect that as a man of integrity, he knows the right thing to do. That he was elected on the platform of PDP and today he has defected to the opposition and there is no crisis or division in PDP. So, the law is very clear and the Constitution is very clear.

“I want to wish Alhaji Tambuwal well in his new party and also urge him to do the needful, which is obeying the rule of law and I don’t need to speak more than that.

“I would expect that as an honourable member, he would do the honourable thing, which is, of course, that even with the defection, the APC still remains the minority in the House of Representatives and, of course, it is the majority party that produces the Speaker of the House of Representatives and that is why I  said I expect him as an honourable member, even without prompting, to do the right thing. So, we wish him well in his new political party.”

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