Law News
Tambuwal: Court stops moves to reconvene Reps sitting

THE raging battle for the soul of the House of Representatives were fought at all fronts yesterday, including the law courts. An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court issued an interim order of injunction stopping the House from reconvening until Friday when a motion ex-parte lodged before it by the embattled Speaker of the House, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, will be heard.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed, who gave the order, further directed the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, its Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’Azu and five other defendants in the matter, to appear before the court on that date to show cause why the reliefs being sought by the Speaker should not be granted.

Tambuwal and Goodluck Jonathan

The court ordered all the parties to maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of the motion before it, saying the order was necessary so as to preserve the ‘Res’ of the matter brought before it by the Speaker and his new party, the All Progressives Congress, APC.

This came on a day President Goodluck Jonathan directed the 195 PDP members of the House to ensure Tambuwal’s removal. Some aggrieved PDP Reps, it was gathered, have started making moves to elect Bashir Adamu to replace Tambuwal, who dumped the PDP for APC, last week.

Meanwhile, the 160 members of the APC in the House have dared the presidency and the PDP to do their worst, boasting that they have the capacity to handle any situation.

The court order

Moving the application yesterday, counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr. Sunday Ameh, SAN, told the court that despite the pendency of a substantive suit filed by his clients last Friday, the defendants were still plotting to remove Tambuwal as Speaker of the House.

According to him, the PDP had summoned all its members at the House of Representatives, including the Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, with a view to persuading them to reconvene the House for the purpose of discussing Tambuwal’s removal as speaker and member of the House.

He contended that Order 5 Rules 18(1) (2) and (3) of the House Standing Rules empowers the Speaker to reconvene the House by directing the Clerk to notify members, saying it will be unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void for the PDP to move to reconvene the House without the approval of the Speaker.

Aside PDP and Mu’Azu, other defendants in the suit, which has the APC as the 2nd plaintiff, are the House of Representatives, the Deputy Speaker of the House, the IGP, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the Attorney General of the Federation.

Specifically, the plaintiffs had in their motion ex-parte, prayed the court to abort moves by the PDP and its Chairman, to illegally and unconstitutionally reconvene the sitting of the House.

Tambuwal, in the motion filed through the chambers of Mr. Jubril Okutepa, SAN, told the court that since the day he defected to APC, the PDP has continued to perfect strategies with a view to not only ensuring his removal as the speaker, but to also declare his seat as a member of the House vacant.

Alleging that the defendants, “have the propensity to act with impunity and in total disregard for due process “, Tambuwal insisted that only a quick intervention of the court could stop the “evil plot” against him.

Besides, he alleged that the defendants, “in further demonstration of their unconstitutional conduct”, connived with the Acting Inspector General of Police, Sulaiman Abba, and withdrew all the security details attached to him as the Speaker of the House, a development he said has exposed him to bodily harm.

Therefore, the plaintiffs prayed the court among others for “an order of interim injunction restraining the Defendants/Respondents herein either by themselves or agents, proxies or otherwise howsoever from taking any steps or further steps to abrogate or diminish or take away or interfere with or infringe the 1st plaintiff’s rights and privileges as the Hon Speaker and as a member of the 3rd Defendant/ Respondent pending the hearing and determination of the motion for interlocutory injunction before this court.’’

Why Jonathan wants speaker removed

Meanwhile, President Jonathan has directed PDP lawmakers to ensure that Tambuwal is removed from office.

Mallam-Aminu-TambuwalSources close to the presidency revealed that the president who could not hide his anger told some ranking members of the House at a meeting at the Presidential Villa on Friday night to immediately start moves towards Tambuwal’s ouster. He blamed them for allowing the speaker to exhibit such control over them without protecting his interest.

Said the source: “We had to apologise to him and promised to carry out his instructions to remove the speaker. Towards this end, we’ve summoned all our members to reach Abuja today (yesterday) unfailingly to attend a meeting with our party leaders.”

Jostle to replace Tambuwal begins

Impeccable sources told Vanguard that a four-term lawmaker, Bashir Adamu (PDP, Jigawa) has been tipped to replace Tambuwal.

Also being considered is Usman Kumho, but from all indications he does not have a strong support base to become speaker.

Why we won’t impeach Ihedioha

On the grand design to impeach Emeka Ihedioha, the deputy speaker, the source said “it is virtually impossible because we can’t lose two strong PDP lawmakers. We’ve lost Tambuwal. So, Ihedioha remains for now and that is not really our challenge.”

Plot to impeach Tambuwal ‘ll fail unless…

However, another PDP lawmaker said that even if PDP heeded the call to give automatic tickets to lawmakers as widely reported, the idea to impeach Tambuwal would fail.

Reason: none of them is ready to play politics of impeachment at the moment given the fact that every lawmaker has returned to his constituency to fight for tickets.

“Look, they are only playing politics. I can tell you that no PDP lawmaker is ready to vote for Tambuwal’s impeachment. Even if there would be anything like that, it can’t be now.

PDP doesn’t have the number to remove Tambuwal –Nwuke

Also lending his voice, an APC lawmaker from Rivers State, Ogbonna Nwuke, said that the PDP lawmakers did not have the required two-third majority to oust the Speaker.

He said: “Let me say this to you. It’s not possible for PDP lawmakers to muster two third majority. They don’t have it. The only way they can get that is if some APC lawmakers decide to betray the party. But that is not possible.”

PDP meeting

At press time, the PDP meeting was on-going. Vanguard gathered that one of the issues slated for discussion was automatic tickets for all PDP lawmakers to enable them work towards removing Tambuwal.

Those expected at the meeting included members of of the Board of Trustees (BoT), National Working Committee (NWC), PDP Governors Forum, Attorney General of the Federation and PDP caucus in the House.

Leave us alone, face our economy, APC Reps advise PDP

Also yesterday, APC members from the court venue where they went to restrain PDP from reconvening the House, advised the Federal Government to concentrate on the economy and leave the leadership of the House alone.

The arrowhead of the lawmakers, Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos), who addressed the press berated the PDP for resorting to self-help and using the police to withdraw the speaker’s security details.

He wondered why the PDP is over-reacting over Tambuwal’s defection, who he said exercised his fundamental and constitutional right to freedom of association.

We’ve the capacity to handle any situation –APC Reps

Also speaking after the APC briefing, Chairman House Committee on Finance, Abdulmunin Jibrin (APC, Kano) said: “We members of the APC are in shock because when the Speaker officially moved, we had thought that there would be some kind of celebration in the Presidency and of course, the PDP because they have never done anything to pull the speaker close to them. We in the APC worked hard on the speaker. We showed the Speaker that we are going to provide him a home, and eventually the speaker moved to the APC.”

“And now there is all sort of scheming going but the most important thing is that the speaker has nothing to lose. We have nothing to lose.”

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