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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

In case Tambuwal joins APC…

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KOLAWOLE DANIEL takes a look at Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal and the implication of his rumoured presidential bid on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) next year, for his Speakership of the House.

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SPEAKER, House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, served as the Deputy Chief Whip of the House in the Sixth Assembly, while his deputy, Honourable Emeka Ihedioha, was the Chief Whip. But, their election as Speaker and deputy Speaker in the current Seventh Assembly session raised dust within their party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as both of them emerged as leaders against the zoning formula of the PDP, which gave the position of Speaker to the South-West and the current House Leader, Honourable Mulikat Akande-Adeola, was nominated, as the annointed candidate of the party for the plum position.

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The emergence of the duo as the leaders of the House did not go well with the party’s leadership to the extent that, at a point, Tambuwal and Ihedioha had to pay a courtesy call to the leadership of the PDP to plead their case. However, relationship between the Speaker and the ruling party appears frosty, while his deputy has been able to worm his way back to the heart of the party or so it appears now.

On Tambuwal’s part, he has been linked with the All Progressives Congress (APC). It will be recalled that the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) that merged with other opposition parties to form the APC played key role in the emergence of Tambuwal as Speaker.

In recent times, reports from the Speaker’s camp have indicated that the Speaker is planning to dump his party for the APC, where his governor defected to after leaving the PDP. Unconfirmed reports also indicated that all other things being equal, Tambuwal, appears set to run for a plum office on the ticket flag bearer of the opposition party in the election slated for February 2015.

On the Speaker clinching the ticket of the party, a source told Nigerian Tribune that, such idea is being mooted by key stakeholders in the party, who are said to be of the opinion that Tambuwal’s candidacy will be more appealing to Nigerians.

The source further disclosed that, the major hindrance against Tambuwal getting the ticket might be some vested interest within the opposition party, who are said to be strongly interested in the ticket.

A member of the House from the APC, who wanted to remain anonymous, confided in Nigerian Tribune that the Speaker has already been making consultations and as well mobilising for his structures, through some members of the House who are loyal to him.

It was, however, learnt that some members of the opposition party in the House were also impressing it on the Speaker to throw his hat in the ring with the promise of making a case for the Speaker before the key leaders of the party in ensuring that the he gets the party’s mandate to run for the presidency.

Another source told Nigerian Tribune that, though the Speaker was yet to decamp to the opposition party, some state governors on the platform of the party were in support of the bid to throw up Tambuwal as the presidential flagbearer of the party in the election.

Already, major contenders for the party ticket for presidential elections have been named as members of the yet to be inaugurated BoT of the party.

Tambuwal, while speaking on whether to contest for presidency or the governorship of his state come 2015, said, “I am still consulting my primary constituency on these crucial matters which affect me, Sokoto State and Nigeria generally. I will come back and engage my people. All politics is local and I will make my final stand on these topical issues known to Nigerians at the most appropriate time”.

A few weeks back, posters of the speaker and his deputy, Emeka Ihedioha, appeared on the streets of Abuja declaring their presidential and vice presidential ambitions respectively. Curiously, the posters had the logo of the APC, against earlier speculation that Ihedioha is vying for the number one seat in Imo State under the platform of the PDP.

A press statement signed by the Speaker’s Special Adviser on Media, Imam Imam, did not debunk the ambition but expressed worry over the timing of the posters, which he stated breached electoral laws.

While thanking those responsible for the posters for considering him fit for that high office, he said, “Let it be known that since the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has not given the go-ahead for those interested in elective positions to start mobilisation, it is inappropriate for any person or group to print campaign posters and have them placed in strategic locations in any part of the country.

In what appeared to be a well-orchestrated plan by Tambuwal for the second time this year, he met with former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, in Abeokuta, Ogun State. Obasanjo is perceived to be in cold relationship with President Goodluck Jonathan over his re-election bid. Tambuwal had met Obasanjo in February at a meeting which was also shrouded in secrecy.

Asked whether it had any connection to the rumoured presidential ambition of the speaker, Imam said the meeting was a closed-door one and that he, therefore, could not comment on that aspect.

Also during the February visit, Tambuwal sang his undying love for the PDP, saying he remained part and parcel of the party.

Tambuwal has been said to be involved in “anti-party” activities due to his open criticism of President Jonathan’s administration as well as “fraternisation” with members of the opposition.

It will be recalled that, at Vanguard Personality of the Year Award ceremony, held yesterday in Lagos, former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, stirred fresh controversy when he admonished Tambuwal to seek higher office. Babangida hinged his admonition on the hope of good leadership and assurances of delivery of democracy dividends that Tambuwal represents.

With the composition of the House, the PDP controls the majority of the House while the APC is in a distant second.

The list of the lawmakers from the House that defected from APGA to the PDP included the former state governorship aspirant on the platform of APGA and Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Environment, Hon. Uche Ekwunife; Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Capital Market, Chris Emeka Azubogu and three other lawmakers from the state.

If Tambuwal defects to APC, his Speakership remains a puzzle that will be solved when the House returns from its annual recess on September 16. As of the last count, the PDP has about 190 members against APC’s 160. In addition, members from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) inAnambra State have defected to the PDP, just as their counterparts from the Labour Party (LP) are possibly going to join the umbrella party, with the imminent defection of Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State to the PDP. If done, this will give the PDP an added advantage and put it in a comfortable majority position to ward off threats from the APC.

Speaking to the Nigerian Tribune on a condition of anonymity, an APC lawmaker in the House said Tambuwal’s Speakership would be threatened should he move to the opposition party from the PDP which has majority of members in the House.

The lawmaker anchored his view of the changing mood of the House, particularly those who had earlier assured the speaker that they would go with him to the APC but were now blowing cold over the matter. He added that the earlier assurance, which was to ensure Tambuwal’s speakership is maintained, had changed because the pro-Speaker PDP lawmakers were now considering their individual political survival, especially now that election is less than six months.

“My candid advice for Tambuwal will be to run for the governorship of Sokoto State which he will win hands down. It will be a tough battle for him to aspire for the presidential ticket of the APC which is already parading the likes of Atiku and Buhari.

“But if he guns for the presidential ticket and defects from the PDP, there will be deployment of brute power by the PDP to get him out as Speaker of the House. But if the PDP is not hell bent on using raw power, then the chances that he will keep his seat as speaker are high,’” the lawmaker said.

Source: http://tribune.com.ng/quicklinkss/politics/item/15406-in-case-tambuwal-joins-apc

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