Speaker Dimeji Bankole yesterday launched moves to stop “the progressives” pushing for his sack.
Minority Leader Mohammed Ali Ndume, who described the Bankole-must-go lawmakers as “plotters”, accused them of using fictitious documents to dent the Houseâ€™s integrity.
But the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) supported the lawmakers, urging Bankole to resign for alleged fraud.
Bankole was said to have met in camera with some members to put a lie to the claim by “the progressives”.
The group is accusing him of corruption and highhandedness, among others.
At the meeting, the Speaker reportedly explained why he would not collapse budgetary allocations to jack up allowances of members from N27million per quarter to N42million.
A source said: “The Speaker has embarked on one-on-one lobbying of members, which is acceptable in a democracy. He has reached out to some of our members on vacation abroad. Politics is about dialogue.
“Since Wednesday night, some of us have had cause to attend some meetings and the Speaker has appreciable backing.”
A respected House member, who spoke in confidence, said: “Well, I can tell you that the threat against Bankole is more imaginary than real. We know the stock-in-trade of these “disgruntled members”.
“From our meeting, these so-called progressives cannot go far because in fairness, most members are satisfied with the performance of the Speaker.
“There is no perfection anywhere in the world, but we have launched counter-moves and I can tell you that the pro-Bankole members are in the majority.”
Another source added: “The issue of seven-day ultimatum cannot work because aggrieved members are expected to come properly before the House.
“They cannot take undue advantage of our recess to abuse the House rules as if we are in a military era. What they are expected to do is to table their grievances on the floor of the House and we will discuss it.”
Ndume told reporters in Abuja that the House refused to sanction those whose activities were detrimental to its stability because the leadership believes in working as a collective.
He said members of “The Progressives” had at one time or the other had weighty issues pending before the House leadership which warranted stiff penalties.
The House pardoned them after intervention by peace-loving members, he said.
“I look at the set of people who issued that ultimatum to the Honourable Speaker and discovered that they are the same set of members raising the same issue at different times. They are colleagues to whom we ascribed much of integrity and high sense of acumen, law and order. We are not to join issues with them on the pages of newspapers and so we are seizing this opportunity to call them to order because enough is enough.”
According to Ndume, the House leadership would not allow a crack in its fold or among members.
“What we had expected is that any member who had issues against the leadership would come forward and table such issue before the gathering of members most especially during the plenary, if only for the House to take common decision on such.
“We had done that before and several times too. That is why we hold executive sessions to resolve key issues common to the interest of every member. The law has never allowed any member to vent his or her anger on the pages of newspaper while ignoring the proper channels for doing so.”
Ndume said those listed in the media as aggrieved members who issued the ultimatum still have a chance to make peace with the leadership between now and resumption of the House.
Spokesperson of the progressives Dino Melaye denied that the group is parading fake documents.
“My reaction is simple. Do they have celestial powers to read the future? Or how did they know that our documents are fake?”
Melaye said the House should prosecute any member of the group found to be involved in any deal, adding:
“It is shameful that the House leadership can harbour criminals. Everything they are saying is cheap blackmail … Why are they proposing an amnesty if they have weighty security reports against us?”
To CNPP, Bankole should resign because of the alleged fraud perpetrated under his leadership.
CNPP told reporters in Abuja that the acquisition of 380 Peugeot cars by the House was fraught with fraud.
It claimed that N2.3billion was paid for the cars when the top of the range 407 ST pack sport Peugeot could have been bought at a lesser price.
Its National Secretary Willy Ezugwu accused the House of wasting public funds in the power and other probes and ending up compromising itself.
CNPP said it was at a loss why the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had not done anything about the issue, adding: “Which section of EFCC Act is Mrs. Farida Waziri, EFCC chair, relying on when she gave the excuse of reporting the matter of fraud to Mr. President, hence delaying the prosecution of those invited.”