The Speaker, House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, is set to clash with the leadership of his party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, following the party’s request, yesterday, that he declare the seats of all 37 House members that defected from the party to the All Progressives Congress, APC, vacant.
Meanwhile, the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who is fighting moves by the party’s governors and some stakeholders to shove him aside fought back yesterday, saying his antagonists were inspired by their determination to stop the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan, a plan he said, was bound to fail.
His assertion nonetheless, Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State in a terse statement, yesterday, called on President Jonathan to intervene in PDP affairs before the party is destroyed by what he described as an inept leadership under Tukur.
PDP, in a statement, said the claim of the defectors that they had obtained a court injunction stopping the Speaker and Senate President from declaring their seats vacant was false.
The statement by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said: “We have, after a careful review, discovered that this claim is false. For the avoidance of doubt, the order of the court clearly says that status quo be maintained, which means the affected members shall remain members of the PDP.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Section 68 (i) (g) clearly spells out the consequences of cross carpeting when there is no division in any party.
“We wish to re-emphasise here that the courts have pronounced, and INEC has concurred that there are no factions in PDP.
“Since the affected members have renounced their membership of PDP, we call on the Presiding Officer in the House of Representatives to declare the 37 seats vacant without any further delay.
“This action shall be in adherence to our grand norm, which is the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).”
There were, however, indications yesterday that Speaker would ignore the call, putting him on a collision course with the party leadership.
A source close to the Speaker told Vanguard yesterday: “There is no way that the Speaker can act on the call or are you not aware of the court injunction obtained by the 57 members stopping the Speaker from declaring their seats vacant?”
Told of the PDP’s argument that the court injunction required all parties to maintain the status quo, the source said “Yes. Maintain status quo depends on the interpretation of who it favours.”
Besides, the movement of 10 of the 11 members of the House from Sokoto State, it was learnt, may have also tied the hands of the Speaker given his close relationship with the 10 members who are from his home state.
With the defection, Tambuwal is the only member of the Sokoto State delegation to the House still on the PDP ticket.
Jigawa gov’s appeal
Meanwhile, Governor Sule Lamido of of Jigawa State called on President Jonathan to save the party.
In a statement entitled Is it Too Late to Intervene, issued by the Jigawa State Director of Press, Alhaji Umar Kyari said: “I am short of words to express my pain. It is agonising to see the party built in every home, in every village, town and city all over Nigeria with lots of sweat and sacrifice being destroyed.
“Is it too late for the leader of the party to intervene and save our party? Nigerian democracy must not be truncated.”
Meanwhile, Tukur has said the PDP crises were due to blind ambitions to stop Jonathan from re-election in 2015.
He said: “The crises we are witnessing in PDP are about 2015. The promoters are members who wanted to be President at all costs; they are those who wanted to be Vice President at all costs and those who wanted to seek re-election as governors.”
He spoke, yesterday, when a delegation of PDP youths from 19 northern states led by Mr. Galadima Yahya, paid him a solidarity visit at his Wuse 2 residence in Abuja.
Tukur said: “The electorate in the North will elect Jonathan. If you go to them, they will tell you ‘when those who are forming various parties were in power, what did they do for us?’”