Monday, November 3, 2014 1:38 pm
A furious PDP, behaving like a woman scorned by her lover, plots the ouster of Aminu Waziri Tambuwal as Speaker of the House of Representatives in the aftermath of his defection to the opposition All Progressives Congress
Although Aminu Waziri Tambuwal’s defection to the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, had been long anticipated, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was rattled to its foundation, with its leadership brainstorming on strategies to remove him from office as Speaker of the House of Representatives. The first indication of how deep an injury the speaker’s defection caused the party was the speed with which the party’s national working committee met, just within minutes after he dumped the party. Tambuwal had told colleagues he was joining the APC to seek election as governor of his home state, Sokoto. To foreclose moves for political maneuvering and intrigues, the Speaker also announced the adjournment of plenary till 3 December.
Rising from the emergency meeting, the national working committee called on Tambuwal to resign as Speaker, pointing out that he only became the speaker by reason of his membership of the PDP which is the majority party at the House; and that the party has not lost that majority status. The party’s national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, urged Tambuwal to do the needful by resigning from office to enable the PDP, which commands majority in the House, to produce a new speaker: “After a thorough consideration of the matter, the NWC came to the 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”
Another organ of the party, the PDP Governors’ Forum, led by Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, also met immediately. It berated Tambuwal for dumping the party and called for his resignation as the speaker: “He should do the needful, as there is no crisis in the PDP. Right from time, Tambuwal has only been a member of PDP only by mouth. He has been associating with the opposition. The PDP is in the majority in the House and the constitution says that the speaker of the House of Representatives should come from the majority party.”
Less than 24 hours after these separate meetings by these organs of the ruling party, the Presidency, mindful of the potential adverse effects of the Speaker’s defection on the political fortunes of the PDP, especially in the forthcoming elections, also convened a meeting with the leadership of the party, along with some governors and leaders of the House of Representatives, who themselves had earlier on held an emergency meeting to strategize on the procedure to adopt to challenge the speaker over his defection.
The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mulikat Akande-Adeola of the Oyo State chapter of the party, led other principal officers of the party in the House to the meeting at the Presidency. She was the party’s choice for Speaker in June 2011 before Tambuwal rallied forces within the PDP and other opposition parties to defeat her for the post, in contravention of the party’s zoning formula. She led the Deputy Speaker of the House, Emeka Ihedioha; the Deputy Leader, Leo Ogor; Chairman, House Committee on Health, Ndudi Elumelu, amongst others, to the meeting.
Others in attendance at the meeting included the party’s national chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, members of the national working committee, Governor Godswill Akpabio, Governors Henry Seriake-Dickson of Bayelsa, Gabriel Suswam, Benue; Ibrahim Dankwambo, Gombe; Sullivan Chime, Enugu, and the Federal Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke.
An impeccable source told this magazine in confidence that the only agenda on the table at the meeting was the strategies to adopt in tackling the upset caused the party by the defection of Tambuwal, a high ranking government official, in the face of the forthcoming general elections.
Early last Thursday, just some hours after the meeting at the Presidential Villa ended, bits of the strategies adopted by the PDP leaders to deal with Tambuwal over his defection came to the fore as the President allegedly ordered the withdrawal of his security personnel. As the Number Four citizen in the hierarchy of protocol in the country, the Speaker is entitled to high-level security made up of men from the Police, Civil Defence Corps and the Department of State Security, SSS. They jointly provide security to the Speaker and his immediate family at all material time.