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Published On: Mon, Nov 3rd, 2014

We’ll resist illegality, APC Reps vow

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nigeria_reps_in_first_sessionBy Ikechukwu Okaforadi & Umar Puma

The All progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers in the House of Representatives have vowed to resist the plans by the Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, to reconvene the House contrary to the House rules.

To this end, the opposition lawmakers threatened to impeach the Deputy Speaker if he dares to reconvene the House without following the House guidelines.

The Deputy Speaker will meet today with the National Chairman of PDP, Adamu Muazu, to discuss how to reconvene the lower chambers for the purpose of impeaching the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, and installing the Deputy Speaker.

To avert this impeachment threats on the Speaker, a reliable source told Peoples Daily in confidence that the lawmakers loyal to Tambuwal are currently strategising to impeach the Deputy Speaker instead.

Tambuwal’s security details were recently withdrawn by the Inspector General of Police, believably on the directives of the Presidency, which has been described as a prelude to the Speaker’s impeachment by the PDP lawmakers in the House.

Confirming that the PDP leadership is plotting to sack Speaker Tambuwal, the House Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the plans by the Deputy Speaker to reconvene the House is an absolute illegality, expressing confidence that the APC lawmakers would resist any move by the Deputy Speaker to reconvene the House.

He wondered where the Deputy Speaker and his group got their powers to reconvene the House without the Speaker, saying it is against both the House rules and the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“I don’t know how they intend to reconvene the House. It is an illegality, only the Speaker can reconvene the House”, the House Minority Leader, Gbajabiamila, told Peoples Daily.

In a veiled caution to the Deputy Speaker over the illegal moves to impeach the Speaker, the Minority Leader also said “I warn that anybody trying to perpetuate illegality will be consumed by it. He will end up in the belly of the tiger”.

He also said that while the PDP lawmakers are meeting on how to perpetuate their illegality, the APC lawmakers and some PDP lawmakers who are with the Speaker, are also meeting, saying “when we get to the decision time, we will know who is superior”.

Moreover, the Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Suleiman Kawu, told our correspondent that according to the House Rules, even the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker alone does not have the powers to reconvene the House when there is an adjournment.

He said it is only the party leaders in the House, who make up the principal officers that usually meet and agree on when to reconvene the House, while the Speaker officially informs the rest of the members.

“Only party leaders have the right to reconvene the House, not even the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker alone. There are laid down procedures to either close the House or reconvene it. Those rules must be adhered to very strictly”, the Deputy Minority Leader said.

Similarly, Rep Ali Ahmad (APC Kwara), said according to the house Rules, it is only the Speaker that will adjourn to a date and it is represented by the leaders of the political parties in the House that the House should reconvene at certain day or time.

“The Speaker shall give notice accordingly and the House shall meet on the date and at the time stated in the notice. Whenever the House stands adjourned to the date fixed by resolution or the rule of the House, it is represented by the leaders of the political parties in the House to the speaker”, according to him.

Our correspondent also learnt that some PDP lawmakers who are sympathetic to the Speaker, have refused to attend the PDP Reps meeting scheduled with the National Chairman, on the grounds that the agenda of the meeting is illegal.

This has further reduced the number of PDP Reps who are expected to impeach Tambuwal, given that the two/third majority requirement for the impeachment is two hundred and forty members, whereas the PDP currently has about 190 members in the House.

This figure, apart from being a far cry from the 240 majority required for the impeachment of Speaker Tambuwal, some of the PDP members of the House have further signaled their unwillingness to be part of the meeting to discuss how the PDP would remove Tambuwal.

Only Speaker can reconvene House- Reps spokesman

eanwhile, the House has explained that it is only the Speaker who has the discretion to convene the House.

Hon. Zakari Mohammed (APC, Kwara), who is also the House’s Chairman on Media and Publicity, explained this in a statement yesterday.

He said the House adjourned sitting of its plenary to allow members go for pre-budget oversight activities in preparation for the 2015 Budget, and to meet the political calendar of all the political parties, Mohammed said: “This adjournment was unanimously approved by all the Principal Officers of the House without dissent.

 

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