APC loses another legislator to ruling party
• Both parties even at 173 House members each
CURRENT STATUS OF HOUSE
Party Number of Lawmakers
Muhammad Bello and Jude Okwe
For the second time in one week, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, has been at pains to provide clarification on his party affiliation, stating that it is not in the character of his politics to abandon a political party just because it is in crisis.
Speculation had been rife for several weeks that Tambuwal was preparing to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the party on which he was elected into the House of Representatives, to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
THISDAY had also exclusively reported that the speaker was preparing to announce his declaration for the opposition APC on Tuesday, January 21 when the House resumed from its yuletide recess, but a court order obtained a day before his planned defection by the PDP against him and other leaders of the lower chamber stopping a leadership change stopped him in his tracks.
However, in an interview in Akamkpa, Cross River State Monday evening, the speaker said rather than abandon the PDP midstream, he would prefer to remain in the party to help fix its problems, as that was the hallmark of a politician with principles.
The speaker’s comments coincided with the loss of another APC legislator to PDP yesterday, bringing the number of PDP and APC House members to 173 apiece, while the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has five members, Labour Party (LP) – six, and Accord Party (AP) – three.
Tambuwal stated categorically that he remained a staunch member of the ruling party and had no plan to defect from it either now or in the near future, as one of the qualities of a good politician is his ability to weather the storm.
The speaker was in Akamkpa at the instance of his colleague representing Akamkpa/Biase Federal Constituency, Hon. Daniel Asuquo, who empowered his constituents with motorcycles, sewing machines, scholarship awards and skills acquisition, among other benefits.
Tambuwal maintained that even though some PDP members had defected to the APC, his membership and faith in the PDP remained intact, noting that defection at the National Assembly as currently being witnessed was a two-way thing because some had left the PDP while others were joining it.
“Defection is on two sides. Some members are defecting to PDP while others are defecting to another party. Just recently, a member of the defunct ACN (Action Congress of Nigeria) defected to the Labour Party and members of other parties defected to PDP.
"But the whole party could not stop five governors from defecting. For you to lose governors in five states is quite challenging but I am sure the new chairman of PDP has the capacity to stabilise everything going wrong in the party,” he said.
On his political ambition in the 2015 general election, the speaker said: “I have no intention of declaring until when the time is ripe, but I have committed all of that to Almighty God for Him to guide my footsteps.”
He expressed confidence in the ability of the chieftain and stalwarts of the PDP to resolve the crisis that has engulfed the party, saying the new national chairman had demonstrated a new spirit that would bring about reconciliation and urged all to support Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu to succeed.
He commended Cross River State Governor, Mr. Liyel Imoke, for his initiative and also for stabilising the PDP in the state, adding: “The Cross River State caucus is a wonderful family in the National Assembly.”
Commenting on the implementation of the budget, he said the duty of the legislature was to appropriate funds, while that of the executive is to utilise the estimates approved accordingly.
“It is not our responsibility to implement budget but we facilitate the passing into law of budgets,” he added.
He commended Asuquo for the elaborate empowerment programme in his constituency, saying the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Interior had taken the right steps so far in alleviating poverty in his constituency.
In a related development, the effort by the APC to wrest the majority status and leadership in the House of Representatives suffered a setback yesterday when it lost one of its members from Nasarawa State to the PDP.
Hon. Haruna Joseph Kigbu jettisoned APC for the PDP, saying his decision to quit his former party, which has other legislators from his state and is the only state where the erstwhile Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) clinched the governorship election, was based on wide consultations.
The defection letter read at plenary by Tambuwal elicited excitement from some PDP members who chanted the party slogan as the announcement was made.
Kigbu’s defection was the second from APC in the last two weeks, as two other party members from Adamawa State, Hon. Titsi Ganama and Hon Haske Hananiya, had defected to the PDP.
PDP in turn had also lost one more of its members on the same day to APC, while the solitary member elected on the platform of Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) also crossed carpet to APC.