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Tambuwal: APC Reps head for court today
Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal

Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal

The horse-trading over the defection of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, continues on Monday (today) with the   All Progressives Congress Caucus in the House heading for the court to stop the plot by the Peoples Democratic Party to   force   the speaker out of office.

The APC Caucus Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, dropped the hint just as The PUNCH learnt on Sunday that the PDP national leadership had summoned the party’s members in the House to an emergency meeting on Monday (today). It was gathered that meeting which will hold at the Wadata Plaza headquarters of the party was to further fine tune the strategies   for booting out Tambuwal.

Gbajabiamila   said, “We are ready for the PDP and all those people. They have their plans; we have our own as well.

“Our prayers in court will be similar in a way to those sought by the speaker, but different in other ways. Everything will be in black and white; we are coming out with a statement soon after filing our case.”

APC Reps are also expected to hold a meeting today (Monday) at their party’s national secretariat in Abuja.

Chairman, House Committee on Justice, Mr. Ahmad Ali, said, “We are holding our meeting; PDP will hold theirs too as I hear.”

The Speaker, who on October 28 announced his defection ,   had on Friday filed a suit before the Federal High in Abuja asking it to halt any plan by the PDP to remove him from office.

He also challenged the power of the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba, to withdraw his   security aides on the grounds of the provisions of Section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The PUNCH   gathered   that the reported plan by the PDP   caucus   to reconvene the House   on Tuesday (tomorrow) may not materialise.

Tambuwal had adjourned the House to December 3 soon after he announced his defection . But the   PDP, expressing displeasure over the speaker’ defection, had reportedly directed it caucus to   resume legislative proceedings under the leadership of the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha.

However, as of Sunday, there were no indications that lawmakers would return to the chambers on Tuesday (tomorrow).

Although investigations showed that no member of the House had been communicated with the matter, PDP lawmakers were summoned to the Wadata Plaza national headquarters of the party   for   an emergency meeting with PDP leaders on Monday(today).

Findings showed that the meeting would likely take a position on the exact action the party PDP wanted its lawmakers to take.

When contacted on the possibility of the House reconvening on Tuesday, the Deputy House Majority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor, replied that the PDP was yet to take a concrete stand on the issue.

He said, “The PDP lawmakers will meet on Monday (today); invitations have been sent out. So, we are going to the meeting. The party will take a position; everything depends on what will be the party’s position.”

Asked if the caucus would go ahead to reconvene the House if directed to do so by the PDP leadership, Ogor advised The PUNCH to wait for the position of the party.

It was gathered that the PDP might have chosen to thread softly on the matter since   Tambuwal had asked for the protection of the judiciary.

Investigations also showed that the PDP caucus would be in a “tight corner” reconvening the House without involving the leaders of other caucuses in the House.

The Standing Orders of the House provide that the speaker can only reconvene the House in consultation with the caucus leaders.

Order V(18), sections 1 and 2 of the Standing Orders states, “Whenever the House shall stand adjourned to a date not fixed and it is represented to the Speaker by the leaders of the political parties in the House that the House shall meet on a certain day at a certain time, the Speaker shall give notice accordingly and the House shall meet on the date and at the time stated in the notice.

“Whenever the House stands adjourned either to a date fixed by Resolution or Rule of the House, and it is represented by the leaders of the political parties in the House to the Speaker that the public interest requires that the House should meet on an earlier or a later date or time than that on which it stands adjourned, the speaker may give notice accordingly, and the House shall meet on the date and at the time stated in the notice.”

The APC caucus has already   stated   that it has no intention of calling for such a meeting or attending any.

A member of the caucus said, “Of course, you don’t expect Tambuwal, in these circumstances, to oblige any call to reconvene the House or agree to sit with caucus leaders for the purpose of reconvening the House.

“He is the speaker, he adjourned the House till December 3. You expect him to overrule himself mid-way to please the PDP?”

When contacted, Gbajabiamila said , “Our rules are very clear on this. If the House is to be reconvened, I should know. I am a party leader; going by the provisions of our rules.

“So, I know that we adjourned to resume on December 3.”

Meanwhile, more reactions have continued to follow the withdrawal of the security aides of Tambuwal and the threat by the PDP to ensure his removal if he fails to resign as speaker.

Those who spoke on the developments on are a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana; the Buhari Campaign Organisation, Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed and Senator Magnus Abe.

While Falana asked the acting IG, Suleiman Abba, to resign for his   partisan roles, the BCO said the reactions of the PDP-led Federal Government and the Police to Tambuwal’s defection signposted the danger   ahead of the general elections.

The SAN reminded Abba in a letter   that the treatment meted out to the speaker   was never given to a number of political office holders who defected from other parties to the PDP.

He said the IG’s actions and utterances had “exposed the police to unwarranted ridicule as Nigerians are not unaware of the fact that when the Ondo State legislators elected on the platform of the Labour Party defected to the PDP last month.”

He recalled that the security details of the speaker of the state House of Assembly, Jumoke Akindele, were not withdrawn when she led her colleagues to dump the LP for the PDP.

Falana said, “In the same vein, Ahmadu Fintiri, the Speaker of the Adamawa State House of Assembly and his colleagues   defected from the PDP to the APC and have since returned to the PDP.

“You did not have cause to declare their seats vacant. Neither have you withdrawn the security details of the   Fintiri.”

Also, the BCO Coordinator in Ondo State, Bola Ilori, said the role of the police in Tambuwal’s defection posed a threat to   democracy and the unity of Nigeria.

Ilori told journalists   in Akure on Saturday that the Nigerian Police as a creation of the constitution, belonged to the Nigerian people irrespective of their political affiliation.

Like Falana, he said, “It is a known fact that the Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly   defected from the LP to the PDP this same month without the police striping her of her security details.

“This act of withdrawing the security details of the speaker, House of Representatives without a court order is a proof that the Nigerian police under the current IG portrays the force as the armed wing of the PDP.

“One wonders why the police had to adopt a different approach when a high official like the fourth citizen of Nigeria who defected from the PDP to the APC.”

In Ilorin, Kwara State Governor Ahmed said   the action of the police amounted to a usurpation of the duties of the judiciary.

Ahmed spoke during the swearing-in of members of the reconstituted Kwara State Judicial Service Commission.

The governor said in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Abdulwahab Oba, that,   “It is the business of the judiciary and not that of any other arm or organ of government to interpret laws of the land and the legal implication of political action such as cross carpeting.”

Also, Abe said even though the PDP was working through the back door to have Tambuwal impeached, he was sure that “nobody can remove him.”

He added during the launch of the sensitisation campaign for the collection of permanent voter cards   in Bera, Gokana Local Government Area on Saturday, that the PDP did not have 240 lawmakers in the House to be able to effect the removal of the speaker

The lawmaker said,   “The only way they can remove him is if they can garner 240 votes on the floor of the House. The PDP cannot get that number of lawmakers in the House to remove him. As you are aware, the speaker   has left the PDP to join our party for the same reasons that made us to leave the PDP for the APC.

“People are leaving because there is no justice, integrity and honesty in what they are doing in the PDP. People are leaving the PDP because they do not abide by the rules that we all have agreed to govern our actions.”

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