Politics

Jonathan Calls Emergency PDP Meeting Over Tambuwal’s Defection

Following the defection of the speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Tambuwal to the All Progressives Party and bothered by the consequences of his defection, President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday engaged some leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party in a meeting with the aim of arriving at a singular position on the defection.

The meeting took place hours after the House said the PDP, individuals and groups condemning the defection of   the speaker to the APC should not dictate to it on how to conduct its affairs with Leader of the House of Representatives, Mulikat Akande-Adeola (PDP, Oyo) and other principal members of the House who are members of the PDP  ready to challenge Tambuwal over his defection.

he situation made the President to summon the National Chairman of the PDP,   Adamu Mu’azu, to the meeting which had the Deputy Speaker of the House, Emeka Ihedioha; the Deputy Leader of the House, Mr. Leo Ogor; and a member from Delta State, Ndudi Elumelu, in attendance.

Some PDP governors such as Gabriel Suswam (Benue); Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa): Ibrahim Dankwabo (Gombe) and Sullivan Chime (Enugu) were also part of the meeting.

Top government officials who attended the parley   included the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim; the National Security Adviser,   Sambo Dasuki; and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Muhammed Adoke (SAN).

Tambuwal: Jonathan calls emergency PDP meeting

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal

President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday engaged some leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party in a meeting aimed at taking a common position on the Tuesday defection of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal.

The meeting took place hours after the House said the PDP, individuals and groups condemning the defection of   the speaker to the All Progressives Congress should not dictate to it on how to conduct its affairs.

Tambuwal had announced his defection from the PDP before he adjourned sitting till December 3.

The situation made the President to summon the National Chairman of the PDP,   Adamu Mu’azu, to the meeting which had the Deputy Speaker of the House, Emeka Ihedioha; the Deputy Leader of the House, Mr. Leo Ogor; and a member from Delta State, Ndudi Elumelu, in attendance.

Some PDP governors such as Gabriel Suswam (Benue); Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa): Ibrahim Dankwabo (Gombe) and Sullivan Chime (Enugu) were also part of the meeting.

Top government officials who attended the parley   included the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim; the National Security Adviser,   Sambo Dasuki; and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Muhammed Adoke (SAN).

One of those in attendance told one of our correspondents on the condition of anonymity that the meeting centered on how to make Tambuwal vacate his seat as speaker.

“The issue of the Speaker and his exit was one of the fundamental issues discussed at the meeting,” he   said.

The source however did not disclose the decision reached at the meeting.

Another source said that Ihedioha “took the heat at the meeting.”

He did not explain further.

The presence of Adoke and Dasuki at the meeting suggested that they might have reviewed the legal and security implications of the options available to them with the two government officials.

Earlier, Mu’azu had at another meeting   the President had   with a delegation of the Federal Capital Territory Council of Chiefs,   dropped the hint that Jonathan summoned him.

“The President had summoned me for a meeting. I was with him when he wanted to come and receive you and he told me to follow you. I only did follow follow,”

The   Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs,   Victor Ogene, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues,   said Tambuwal did not breach any law in defecting to the APC.

He also noted that there was no provision in the constitution prescribing that the speaker must be elected from among the majority party members.

Ogene cited Section 50 (1)(b) of the constitution to buttress his argument.

He said, “The clear provisions of Section 50(1) (b) of the Nigerian Constitution easily settle the worries regarding the continued speakership of Tambuwal – ‘There shall be a Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves.’’’

He also noted that the speaker was elected as the representative of the “generality of Nigerians” and not necessarily because he belonged to a particular political party.

On the views of some “commentators” that Tambuwal should have vacated his office by virtue of the provision of Section 68(1)(g) of the constitution, he replied that the matter was still awaiting judicial decision.

Ogene added, “It is common knowledge that following the defection of 37 members of the House in December 2013, from the PDP to APC, there has been multiple court cases on the matter, thus rendering it subjudice to discuss any likely outcome.

“Everyone is thus enjoined to await the final judicial pronouncement on the issue of defection, which has afflicted virtually all political parties in the land.”

He warned the PDP   against interfering with the lawmakers’ “privilege” and constitutionally-guaranteed freedom to choose their leaders.

Ogene stated, “Additionally, Order 1, Rule 1 (2) of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives states: ‘ In all cases not provided for hereinafter, or by sectional or other Orders, precedents or practices of the House, the House shall by resolution regulate its procedure.’

“It is in the light of the foregoing that the House wishes to appeal to those who seek to regulate its procedure from outside its hallowed chambers to have a rethink, as the nation’s Constitution, the Standing Orders of the House and precedent – as in the Speakership of the late Edwin Ume-Ezeoke in the Second Republic on a minority platform – have all provided answers to what would have otherwise been a knotty political issue”

However a  PDP lawmaker who is also said to be close to Tambuwal is taking the position of the party to call for Tambuwal’s resignation as a matter of honour and integrity.

“The fact still remains that Tambuwal was nominated from the party that had the majority in the House to stand for the Speakership in the election. People seem to gloss over this and this is what people who understand the dynamics are saying.

“Tambuwal has left the PDP, it’s okay. But he should be honourable enough to vacate the Speaker’s seat and allow a fresh election for a new speaker. Again, nominations would be made from a party that holds the majority but if the House thinks it would nominate a candidate from the minority so be it.”

Speaking on behalf of the House, the Deputy Chairman, Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Victor Afam Ogene (APGA, Anambra),  said those calling for Tambuwal’s resignation are ignorant of the law and the House rules.

“Following several inquiries especially by journalists and some members of the public, it is easy to narrow the concerns to two key issues. One, whether Speaker Tambuwal ought to vacate his seat as representative of Kebbe/ Tambuwal  Federal  Constituency, Sokoto State, by virtue of section 68 (1) (g), of the 1999 Constitution, as amended; and two, if he shouldn’t step down as Speaker, having defected from the majority party in the House to a minority platform”.

“It is common knowledge that following the defection of 37 members of the House in December 2013, from the PDP to APC, there has been  multiple  court cases on the matter, thus rendering it subjudice to discuss any likely outcome. Everyone is thus enjoined to await final judicial pronouncement on the issue of defection, which has afflicted virtually all political parties in the land.

“Concerning calls for Mr. Speaker to step down from the position which his colleagues freely elected him to on June 6, 2011, we wish to reaffirm – even with the pains of almost sounding monotonous – that the speakership of the House, or indeed, any other national elective position, belongs to the generality of Nigerians, and not the political platforms upon which such leaders emerge.

“The clear provisions of Section 50(1) (b) of the Nigerian constitution easily settles the worries regarding the  continued speakership of Tambuwal: “There shall be a Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves”, the above quoted portion of the constitution stipulates. It would therefore amount to an affront on members’ privilege to question their constitutionally-guaranteed right to freely elect their leader.”

“It is in the light of the foregoing that the House wishes to appeal to those who seek to “regulate its procedure” from outside its hallowed chambers to have a rethink, as the nation’s constitution, the Standing Orders of the House and precedent – as in the Speakership of the late Hon. Edwin Ume-Ezeoke in the Second Republic on a minority platform – have all provided answers to what would have otherwise been a knotty political issue,” He said.

 

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