Following the defection of the Speaker of the House of Representatives from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 called an emergency meeting of the PDP in order to take a common stance on the issue of the defection of the Speaker, Punch reports.
The House had earlier asked the PDP, individuals and other groups calling for the resignation of Tambuwal to desist from dictating how it ran its affairs.
Asides the PDP Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu, some members of the house were in attendance including Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha, Deputy Leader of the House, Leo Ogar and Ndudi Elumelu, a member from Delta State.
Others present included Governors Gabriel Suswan (Benue), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa): Ibrahim Dankwabo (Gombe) and Sullivan Chime (Enugu).
Also called for the meeting were Anyim Pius Anyim, the Secretary to the Government; Attorney-General of the Federation, Muhhamed Adoke (SAN) and National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
One of the participants of the meeting who pleaded anonymity said: “The issue of the Speaker and his exit was one of the fundamental issues discussed at the meeting,” adding that Deputy Speaker Ihedioha “took the heat at the meeting.”
Adoke and Dasuki’s presence at the meeting has suggested that the president and the PDP were looking into the legal and security implications of Tambuwal’s defection.
The House had on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 condemned the PDP and some commentators for calling for Tabuwal’s resignation as Speaker saying they were obviously ignorant of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and the House’ standing orders.
Speaking on the matter, the Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Victor Ogene said Tambuwal had not broken any law by defecting to the APC, adding that there was no law barring the Speaker from being selected outside the ruling party.
In Ogene’s words: “The clear provisions of Section 50(1) (b) of the Nigerian Constitution easily settle the worries regarding the continued speakership of Tambuwal – ‘There shall be a Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves.’’’
“It is common knowledge that following the defection of 37 members of the House in December 2013, from the PDP to APC, there has been multiple court cases on the matter, thus rendering it subjudice to discuss any likely outcome. Everyone is thus enjoined to await the final judicial pronouncement on the issue of defection, which has afflicted virtually all political parties in the land.”
He further stated: “Additionally, Order 1, Rule 1 (2) of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives states: ‘ In all cases not provided for hereinafter, or by sectional or other Orders, precedents or practices of the House, the House shall by resolution regulate its procedure.’
“It is in the light of the foregoing that the House wishes to appeal to those who seek to regulate its procedure from outside its hallowed chambers to have a rethink, as the nation’s Constitution, the Standing Orders of the House and precedent – as in the Speakership of the late Edwin Ume-Ezeoke in the Second Republic on a minority platform – have all provided answers to what would have otherwise been a knotty political issue.”
On his part, PDP’s National Vice-Chairman (South-South), Cairo Ojugboh said: “PDP is a very disciplined party. If you come and steal in the PDP and use the PDP to elevate yourself and get into office when the time comes, God will get you out like the issue of Tambuwal.
“You can see how God has exposed him. PDP will do everything within the law to regain its seat and that is what we are going to do in Edo and Rivers States as well. We are going back to the South-South to regain our seats.”