The National leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, welcomed the defection of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, and advised him to resign as speaker because he was no longer a member of the ruling party.
After almost one year of speculation and hob-nobbing with APC leaders, Tambuwal, yesterday, formally dumped PDP for the opposition party.
Reacting to Tambuwal’s defection, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, in a statement said the honourable thing for Tambuwal now is to resign.
Metuh said: “The National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party has met with PDP leaders in the House of Representatives concerning the defection of the Speaker. After a thorough consideration of the matter, the NWC came to a conclusion that the Honourable Speaker, as a responsible elected officer, knows full well what is needful and honourable of him since his new party is in the minority.
“We are not unmindful of the fact that Honourable Tambuwal became Speaker on the platform of the PDP as the political party with the majority of seats in the House of Representatives and that this incontrovertible fact has not changed.”
Tambuwal, who had put all his colleagues and political associates on their toes since 2013 over where he belongs, formalized his defection to the APC, yesterday, via a two-paragraph letter.
As soon as Leader of the House, Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola and the Deputy Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor, moved for adjournment and journalists stood up to leave the gallery, Tambuwal started reading his decampment letter.
The Speaker waited till the end of the day’s legislative business in the House to announce his movement to the opposition party. Before the Speaker’s announcement of his decampment to the APC, the House had passed a motion to immortalize Dr. Stella Adadevoh and compensate the families of the health workers who died after contracting the Ebola Virus Disease. The motion was sponsored by Olajumoke Okoya-Thomas.
Tambuwal said: ”Before I hit the gavel on the motion for adjournment, I want to make this formal announcement to this House. Based on the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, and having regards to the development of PDP in my state, Sokoto State, I hereby announce my membership with the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“Let me register my profound appreciation to all of you, my colleagues, for the unflinching support you have continued to extend to me for the overall national interest and development of our democracy. May Almighty God continue to guide us all.”
Deputy Leader of the House, Leo Ogor, in a swift reaction to what transpired on the floor of the House and the threatened unity of the Seventh Assembly said:
“What happened today was quite unexpected. But again, that decision was a personal decision and has no major implication on our political party. The PDP members of the House will look at the situation and take a position in respect of the defection. He is gone, fine. And he emphasized that his decision borders on his local politics. That is to say borders on the interest of his people and his constituency. But, all said and done, he came through a political party which was PDP. So, by the provision of Section 68 (g) of the constitution, which is still before a court of jurisdiction, we await the ruling of the court on the matter. And I think this is one great opportunity for us to call on the Judiciary. It is also an arm of government; justice delayed is justice denied.
“And it is a subject matter before them, it behoves on them to make the necessary interpretations so that we can lay this issue to rest in respect of defection. It is extremely important. But for us as members of the PDP, we believe that we will continue carrying on the responsibilities of our party.
“We will watch further, and definitely will see what happens. Let’s look and see how he manages the House. We will watch him with eagle eyes and interpret every action that he takes.”
“Let me emphasize here that the Speaker has left. Because he has gone does not mean that the PDP does not control the House. He sits down there as the presiding officer, we run the affairs of the House, and as people who control the House, we must go the extra mile to protect the interest of our party. We are not going to lose our sleep because Tambuwal defected to the APC.
“I think we need to be mindful of the constitution. According to the constitution, you would need a two/thirds majority to remove a sitting speaker. Do we have two/third? That is another matter we need to ponder. We will face the party and give our explanations, but I can assure you that the party’s interest will be fully protected.”
For now PDP has 195 members while APC has about 159 and the other parties share the remaining six seats.
In her reaction, House Majority Leader, Mulikat Akande-Adeola (PDP, Oyo) said: “This is a party affair. Members take decision on the floor based on party. So, the party will take decision at the appropriate time.” – Vanguard.