Reps Dismiss Plan to Remove Tambuwal, Others


The Federal House of Representatives on Thursday allayed fears over rumoured plans to remove its principal officers despite the exodus of members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

As at December 2013, 53 PDP members joined APC, which currently displaced PDP to opposition party in the House.

While responding to questions on the likelihood of change on the presiding officers in the House, Sam Tsokwa, chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business declared that all the principal officers will retain their seats irrespective of their political affiliations.

The lawmaker cautioned against undue agitation for declaration of the seats of those who defected to APC as vacant, noting that PDP is a major beneficiary of series of defections from some political parties since democratic governance came on board in 1999.

'Like the open letters, we are also into a season of defections and rumours of defections from one party to another. Cross carpeting, as it is commonly known, is neither a new phrase in democratic-party lexicon nor a new phenomenon in Nigeria since 1999. 

'Indeed, it is on record that the ruling party has benefited from defection or cross carpeting of not fewer than four governors and numerous legislators to it since 1999. It is time, therefore, to advise that we stop overheating the polity by not unnecessarily fuelling the imaginary embers of defection-linked political crisis. 

'Nigerians ought and, indeed, deserve to know that apart from the 1999 Constitution, there is no legislation in Nigeria against cross carpeting or defection.  Indeed, the constitution subtly endorses cross-carpeting or defection, for which see sections 68(1) (g); 109(1) (g); 135 and 180 of the 1999 Constitution.

'For the avoidance of doubt, the leadership of the House of Representatives as is embodied in the presiding officers emerged from the popularity of the candidates on the one hand and the popular votes of members on the other, and not strictly on party lineage. 

'Therefore, defection or no defection, the leadership of the House of Representatives remains intact, having enjoyed and is still enjoying the confidence of the members.                                 

'Nigerians are hereby assured and reassured that defection or no defection, the House of Representatives remains, and shall so remain, Nigeria's House of Representatives bound together by one solemn constitutional duty, that is 'to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation or any part thereof...' The House has a date with history as encapsulated in its Legislative Agenda and this date it must keep faith with in the overall interest of Nigeria'.