More troubles await the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, over his recent defection to the All Progressives Congress, investigation has revealed.
Apart from his security details that were withdrawn by the Nigeria Police Force on Thursday, Tambuwal might be barred from entering either his office or the National Assembly when the House resumes on December 3, PUNCH Newspaper gathered.
This was one of the decisions reached during a meeting held by top officials of the Peoples Democratic Party which had in attendance President Goodluck Jonathan.
Tambuwal had on Tuesday adjourned the House till December 3 after he stunned his colleagues by announcing his defection from the PDP to the opposition All Peoples Congress.
But on Thursday, the Police authorities withdrew his security aides, citing section Section 68 (1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution as amended as reason.
The section reads, “A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the House of which he is a member if –
(g) being a person whose election to the House was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected.”
A top Presidency source told PUNCH on the condition of anonymity that the legal advice before the Federal Government and the leadership of the PDP was that Tambuwal was no longer the speaker of the House in the eye of the law.
He noted that the speaker contravened section (68)(1)(g) by defecting when there is a subsisting court injunction to the effect that there is no division in the PDP.
According to him, the decision to strip Tambuwal of all the rights and privileges of the speaker was taken based on that legal submission.
The source added that the government and the PDP leadership resolved that instead of taking Tambuwal to court for defecting without vacating his seat, he would be the one to go to court when his rights are withdrawn.
He said, “The withdrawal of Tambuwal’s security details is in order. Section 68 (1)(g) made it clear that a lawmaker who defects when there is no division in his party shall vacate his seat.
“The legal advice is that the operational word there is ‘shall.’ That section of the constitution is self-
“There is a subsisting court injunction that there is no division in the PDP and that there is no merger.
“It therefore means that based on that constitutional provision, Tambuwal is no longer a member of the House. Since he is no longer a member, then he cannot be the speaker.
“The withdrawal of his security details is in order. He will even be stopped from entering his office. He is no longer a member of the House.
“Instead of us taking him to court, he will be the one to go to court.”
President Goodluck Jonathan had on Wednesday engaged some leaders of the PDP in a meeting aimed at taking a common position on the matter.
Those who attended the meeting included the National Chairman of the PDP, Adamu Mu’azu; the Deputy Leader of the House, Leo Ogor; as well as governors Gabriel Suswam (Benue); Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa); Ibrahim Dankwabo (Gombe); and Sullivan Chime (Enugu).
Top governmental officials who also attended the parley were the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim; the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki; and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Muhammed Adoke (SAN).