Tambuwal Throws PDP, Presidency into Confusion
Nation – House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal’s yet unclear political future has sent panic into the Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
They are worried about how to handle Tambuwal, should he defect to the All Progressives Congress(APC) to vie for Sokoto State governor.
The Presidency and the PDP are believed to be planning to take control of the House once Tambuwal moves to APC.
In line with the agenda of the Presidency and the PDP, Majority Leader Mulikat Adeola-Akande has resuscitated her ambition to be the second woman Speaker of the House.
It was learnt that she is nursing the ambition to complete Tambuwal’s tenure and roll over in 2015 if she is re-elected into the House.
But most Representatives have rejected plans to force Tambuwal to step down.
They argued that no law or House Rule says Tambuwal must quit office, adding that it is just a global “parliamentary practice” for a ruling party to produce either the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
They are pushing for the retention of Tambuwal as the Speaker after defecting to the APC.
Tambuwal is under pressure from the people of the state to run on the platform of the APC, which is the ruling party in the state.
There were indications last night that the Speaker might bow to pressure to contest for governor.
Beyond Sokoto politics, the battle has shifted to the House of Representatives.
A source in the House, who pleaded not to be named, said of “the Speaker confided in his backers, strategists, friends and associates in the House that he might join the governorship race. It is obvious that his people are persuading him to be the next governor of Sokoto State,” the source said.
“The governorship slot is zoned to Sokoto South where Tambuwal hails from.
“Even if he attempts to seek the ticket on PDP platform, he will be denied the opportunity in view of the cat and mouse game between the House and the Presidency.
“The challenge before the House is the aftermath of his movement to the APC that we are trying to manage. You know the Presidency and the PDP may not want him to continue to lead the House as the Speaker.
A principal officer also gave an insight into how the House is trying to manage Tambuwal’s aspiration to keep the chamber intact.
The source said: “We are meeting on Wednesday (yesterday) night to look at all options available to us. The House has to choose between partisanship and merit. We want Tambuwal to continue in office.
“But the Presidency and the PDP are already planning against any attempt to retain Tambuwal by the House. They are saying that Tambuwal must step down once he has defected.
“Definitely, the battle line is drawn between those for and against Tambuwal.”
Another principal officer said there was no section of the 1999 Constitution or any House Rule that says that the ruling party must produce the Speaker.
Section 50(1) (b) of the Constitution 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 among themselves. Order 1 Rule 2 and Order 2 Rule 3(1) are also silent on whether or not a Speaker should be from the Majority or the Minority; or whether a Speaker should step down or not.”
“So, ordinarily, he is not expected to vacate his office as the Speaker to contest for any office in 2015. But since he is aspiring to another office under the platform of the APC, the ruling PDP will want to make an issue out of it,” the source said.
PDP is insisting that going by the House precedent, it should produce the Speaker as the party with majority of members.
Besides, the PDP may cause a crisis in the House by trying to apply Section 68(1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution to force Tambuwal to vacate his seat. Although there are pending suits against members who defected from PDP to APC, the Presidency and the ruling party have been looking for an opportunity to take a pound of flesh.
“We do not want the 7th House of Representatives to end its legislative year abruptly or in chaos. We are trying to get the best for the House,” a source closed to the Speaker said.
The Presidency and the PDP are being careful in their approach to “the Tambuwal matter” because the 2015 budget is yet to be presented and any chaos in either of the chambers in the National Assembly will adversely affect the system.
“Also, this is an election year with the Presidency targeting more votes from the North. The way and manner Tambuwal’s case is handled may have some implications for Jonathan’s chances,” said another source, adding:
“But a pronouncement by the court may be the way out but there are appellate courts where you have to queue for justice.”
Asked what the House will do if the Presidency and the PDP have their way, a House principal officer said: “We have our Plan B. We are trying to reach consensus on Hon. Adamu Bashir from Jigawa State because he is ‘amiable, amenable and accommodating’ as Tambuwal.
“This is just Plan B, we hope we will not get to this stage at all.”
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