Nigeria News
Defection: Tambuwal keeps Reps guessing
Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal

Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal

Anxiety thickened at the House of Representatives on Tuesday over the suspected moves by the speaker, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, to dump the Peoples Democratic Party.

The issue featured in most hushed discussions among members in Abuja, barely 24 hours after Tambuwal attended an All Progressives Congress meeting in his Sokoto home state on Sunday.

The Sokoto meeting was called by the state governor, Mr. Aliyu Wamakko, to discuss the “political future” of the state.

Wamakko is a member of the APC.

There were claims that Tambuwal picked a membership card of the APC shortly after the meeting ended.

Findings showed that though the speaker’s rumoured link with the APC was not new to members, his participation in the Sokoto meeting and the reported picking of a membership card took lawmakers by surprise.

The PUNCH learnt that Tambuwal had kept his game close to his chest so far with not even his confidants in the House had any information on the Speaker’s latest moves.

One source in the House told our correspondent that the “news hit members this morning like outsiders to the House,” as none of them could confirm if indeed the Speaker had picked the APC’s card.

“It is on everyone’s lips; nobody is really sure what exactly took place in Sokoto. Well, the guesswork cannot continue forever; it is only a matter of time.

“All this speculation should come to an end by November,” the House source said.

Another National Assembly source told our correspondent that the Sokoto meeting brought together all persons who had expressed interest in the governorship seat of the state.

The source claimed that the idea came from Wamakko, who was said to be disposed to having a “rancour-free” process for arriving at the candidate of the party for the 2015 poll.

The source spoke further, “They are trying to arrive at a possible consensus candidate.

“That was why they set up a 22-man committee after the meeting to assess all those who have aspiration for future political offices.

“It is after this assessment that the Speaker will make a move; and I think he will truly move (to APC).

“He will first announce his decision to join the APC to his colleagues at the House before going to his ward in Sokoto to get his membership card. As of now, he has not picked any card.”

The PDP caucus is still diplomatic about the issue, trying to play down the anxiety among members.

The caucus is hesitant to comment on speculations that the PDP had directed its members to begin impeachment proceedings against Tambuwal any time he defected to APC.

Deputy House Majority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor, who spoke on behalf of the caucus, stated that the members were not bothered if the Speaker left them.

Ogor also said it would be premature to ask what the caucus would do if the Speaker defected to APC.

He explained that speaking on an issue based on speculation meant that the caucus had “joined the speculation train” like every other person.

Ogor said, “I will tell you that as a caucus, we are not bothered. His defection doesn’t change anything in the party. Therefore, we are not having any sleepless night. This is time for politicking. People are taking their personal decisions. It is about your political future.

“I cannot tell you the caucus will do this or do that when the Speaker has not informed anybody that he has defected. This speculation has been on for months and really, I get tired.

“All I can say is, we cannot place the cart before the horse. Whenever we get to the bridge, we will cross it.”

House Minority Leader and leader of the APC caucus, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, also denied knowledge of Tambuwal’s defection.

He clarified that defection was not done in secret, adding that in the case of the House, it was normally done through a formal communication to members.

Gbajabiamila told The PUNCH that as the APC caucus leader, he was not yet aware that Tambuwal had joined his party.

“I am not aware yet; he has not told me and I don’t want to be talking because people are talking, when I don’t have information to support it. One thing is certain; defection is a public thing that will be announced publicly.

“It doesn’t call for speculation since it will be done in the open. So, I will say wait until he defects”, he added.

However, he said he was elated over rumours that Tambuwal had joined the APC.

The Speaker’s office neither denied nor confirmed that Tambuwal picked the APC membership card on Tuesday.

Click here to read from source.