Speaker of the House of Representatives, Right Honourable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal yesterday said he joined the All Progressive Congress (APC) in continuation of the great sacrifice for Nigeria and to ensure the development of constitutional democracy in the country.
“This is in continuation of the great sacrifice for Nigeria and also the need to ensure the development of constitutional democracy”Tambiwal said.
The Speaker, who presided for just the second time in the last few weeks since the House resumed in June, formally dumped the PDP Tuesday following the motion for the adjournment by the Leader, Hon. Mulikat Adeola (Oyo state) and seconded by the Deputy Majority leader, Leo Ogor.
“In pursuit of the 1999 constitution and in view of the political developments in my state (Sokoto), I wish to formally inform you of my membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC).,” he said and announced that the House has adjourned to December 3 even as the House broke into laud cheers.
Members in jubilation embraced each other, rub palms while the shout of “APC, APC, APC, we shall sweep them away rented the air” as the Speaker, who demounted from the seat to join the members on the floor, was mobbed by joyful members of his new party- the APC, while others of the PDP walked behind rather dejectedly.
APC caucus in the House, said they have welcomed and applauded the decision of the speaker to join the APC, saying the speaker’s position is consistent with the law and practice in a presidential system of government.
With this new development, the PDP still remains the majority party with 189 members while the opposition APC has 160 members.
In a swift reaction yesterday, the PDP urged Tambuwal to leave office following his official defection from the party to the APC.
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP made this call, noting that the Speakers defection to APC was in recognition of his constitutional right of association.
The PDP requested the Speaker to do the needful in view of the fact that his new party is still in the minority of the House. This was contained in a statement issued by the Publicity secretary of the PDP, olisa Metuh.
The NWC said it has met with PDP leaders in the House of Representatives concerning the defection of the Speaker, and concluded in its deliberation that the Speaker should act honourably.
“After a thorough consideration of the matter, the NWC came to a conclusion that the Hon. Speaker, as a responsible elected officer, knows fully well what is needful and honourable of him since his new
party is in the minority”, he threatened.
“We are not unmindful of the fact that Hon. 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.” The statement said
Also reacting to the action of the Speaker. Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Goodswill Akpabio, said the Speaker must recognize the fact that his party is still a minority in the House of Representatives therefore it was for him to act accordingly and resign his office as speaker.
He said that he has always known the Speaker as an a PDP man in name but APC in action and he has proved it to the world charging him to be honourable and resign especially as the PDP was not in any sort of crises.Akpabio also wished the Speaker well in his new party.
However, the Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila (Lagos state), did not agree with the PDP,saying that the defection was long expected and a development that they (APC) welcome and hope would further boost and strengthen their support base across the federation.
“We welcome this development. We had hoped this day will come and it has eventually. Right Honourable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal remains a member of the House and the Speaker. The constitution stipulates that members elect their Speaker from among themselves.
He dismissed insinuations that the lengthy adjournment was deliberate to ensure that the Speaker retains his position.
In the same vein, Samson Osagie, the Minority Whip stated that the decision to adjourn was in the interest of all parties because of the primaries.
Also, House deputy majority leader, Rep Leo Ogor (PDP Delta), said the speaker’s decision was a personal decision and has no major implication on political party.
Hon. Victor Ogene (APGA Anambra state) also said the Speaker’s defection to the APC would deepen democracy, unite members, and boosts their understanding and practice of constitutional democracy.