Nigeria News
Tambuwal’s Impeachment Plot: PDP Reps Give Conditions To Jonathan, Party Chair


Amid reports that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) is desirous of reconvening a session of the House of Representatives to commence the process of removing Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, federal lawmakers elected on the platform of the party have given stringent conditions to do so.

But the thrust of the conditions, the minimum of which is the promise of return tickets for them in 201, might be rejected by both the ruling party and President Goodluck Jonathan, LEADERSHIP learnt.

Tambuwal last week dumped the ruling party for the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) and immediately adjourned the House till December 3, 2014.

Since the speaker’s defection to the APC, reports have been rife that the ruling party, which had asked Tambuwal to step aside as speaker, was mulling a plot to unseat him. Tambuwal is already in court to forestall any such move by the PDP.

It was gathered that today’s meeting between the national chairman of the PDP and the federal lawmakers would centre on some of the conditions the latter had stipulated in order for them to move for Tambuwal’s scalp.

Apart from the issue of automatic tickets for their 2015 return, other commitments the lawmakers want the PDP leadership to make include a promise to assist those of them who are aspiring to be senators as well as those who have indicated their interest to be governors in their states.

LEADERSHIP gathered that at a preliminary meeting between the PDP caucus in the House and the leadership of the party, with President Jonathan in attendance, deputy speaker Emeka Ihedioha was said to have had an altercation with the Akwa Ibom State governor Godswill Akpabio who had accused PDP members in the House of Representatives of playing the second fiddle by allowing the opposition to have a field day.

Ihedioha was said to have fired back at Governor Akpabio, reminding him that as chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, he and his colleagues had done nothing to motivate PDP federal lawmakers, unlike their counterparts in the APC.

The timely intervention Mu’azu was said to have saved the day as he immediately initiated today’s meeting where the issues are likely to be ironed out.

Regardless, today’s meeting might run into some hitches as the lawmakers have insisted on the conditions being met.

LEADERSHIP reports that the return bids of more than half of the PDP lawmakers in the House of Representatives are threatened owing, in some cases, to disagreements between them and their governors.

…Tambuwal meets APC Reps caucus in Lagos today

But barring any last minute change of plan, Tambuwal will hold a high-level scheduled meeting with the APC caucus of the House in Lagos today.

The meeting is expected to deliberate on the next course of action to stave off possible threats to Tambuwal following his defection.

The speaker had also adjourned plenary to December 3 immediately after his defection, a development which the APC caucus attributed to the need to allow members to participate in the ongoing build-up to party primaries.

A source close to the speaker said that the PDP caucus in the House was yet to communicate its purported intention to reconvene plenary as proposed at a clandestine meeting held last Friday, led by Ihedioha.

The PDP leadership is said to have commenced lobbying some lawmakers who are believed to be loyal to Tambuwal in order to win them over for a smooth operation.

The speaker, according to sources, travelled to Lagos for today’s meeting without any security detail.

…Presidency to assess loyalty of PDP aspirants

The presidency has concluded plans to make all aspirants under the PDP undergo an assessment to ascertain their loyalty to President Goodluck Jonathan in the run-up to the 2015 general elections.

The assessment entitled, ‘Presidential Support Base Programme,’ would serve as a signpost as to whether or not aspirants would merit the support of the presidency ahead of the election.

This move is an initiative of the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs in conjunction with Nigerian Economic and Political Action Committee (NEPAC).

NEPAC director-genera, Dr. Godson Nnaka, in a statement yesterday noted that the assessment would ensure that only those with tendency to maximum loyalty to President Goodluck Jonathan were supported to win elections.

The statement added that the assessment would evaluate and shortlist aspirants on classified basis.

The aim of the assessment by the presidency is to foreclose defections by elected PDP officers, an apparent reaction to Speaker Tambuwal’s defection to the opposition last week.

Besides the speaker, five hitherto PDP governors had since joined the APC alongside members of the national and states assembly.

“The objectives of this programme is to identify, evaluate and shortlist aspirants on classified basis, who if supported to victory will maintain maximum loyalty and be part of a strong support base for President Goodluck Jonathan beyond 2015,” Nnaka explained.

He added that the assessment would be conducted in the six geo-political zones for National Assembly and Houses of Assembly aspirants, while Abuja would host gubernatorial aspirants.


Only Tambuwal, principal officers can reconvene House

– Reps

The alleged plot by the PDP to have the deputy speaker, Hon Emeka Ihedioha, reconvene the House to begin impeachment proceedings against Speaker   Tambuwal for defecting from the PDP to the APC has suffered a setback as the House of Representatives yesterday stated that it lacked the power to do so.

The lawmakers stressed that the House could only be reconvened after all leaders of political parties in the House, especially the majority and minority leaders, give approval for the House to be called back from recess.

In a press statement signed by the chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon Zakari Mohammed, yesterday, the lawmakers noted that the House Standing Orders, which is a guide to proceedings in the House, states emphatically that the speaker may approve a date to reconvene the House from recess after leaders of all the political parties in the House notify him that public interest requires that the House should meet on an earlier or a later date or time than that on which it was supposed to resume.

The statement read in part, “The procedure for reconvening or re-assembly of the House is contained in the House Standing Orders made pursuant to Section 60 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which empowers the House to regulate its own procedure, including the procedure for summoning and recess of the House.

“This means that the leaders of all the political parties in the House, especially the majority and minority leaders respectively, MUST consent before the representation is made to the speaker who has a discretion to agree or not”.

The House spokesman said the explanation of the proceedings became necessary following intense media focus on the adjournment and media inquiries on the appropriate procedure for recalling the House from recess.


Nothing should happen to Tambuwal, NLC warns

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has demanded the immediate restoration of Speaker Tambuwal’s security detail and all the rights and privileges that accrue to his office.

The union, in a statement by its general secretary, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, stated that it was appalled by the withdrawal of his security details, ostensibly because he had defected to the opposition APC.

“The act is shameful, distasteful, unconstitutional and demonstrates our parochial sense of power and very little knowledge of history,” the union stated.

It stressed that no part of the Nigerian constitution said that the speaker must come from the majority party.

“Section 50(1)(b) only says, ‘There shall be …a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves…” the NLC argued.

Giving instances, the NLC stated that in the Second Republic, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke, was elected from the ranks of the Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP), the third strongest party after Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and the ruling National Party of Nigeria (NPN).

The statement reads in part: “We it appropriate to cite the examples of Mimiko and Ali Modu-Sheriff, governor of Ondo State and former governor of Borno State respectively. Their security details were not withdrawn when they defected to the PPD.

“It gives us concern that our political leaders are determined to learn very little about democracy and always seem too keen to overheat the polity over things that count for little. The police and other security agencies complicit in this disgusting conduct should hold their heads in shame.

“For those who take pleasure in converting to personal use, public/state institutions, today’s men soon become yesterday’s men. What goes around, comes around.”

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