The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, has suddenly found himself in a dilemma, where finding solution to his impending defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is also part of the problems hindering his defection.
This is because, for long, the speaker’s body language, utterances and political associates have pointed to the fact that his defection from PDP to APC is simply a matter of time. However, the defection might not come easy after all, due to a combination of factors that might have dire consequences on his political career, if he eventually decides to defect.
Those issues have contributed in ensuring that the speaker, who won the election to the House of Representatives under the PDP banner, remains in a tight corner, invariably mounting more pressure on him due to the shrinking time available to make his move.
A credible source from Sokoto State says the state governor, Alhaji Aliyu Wammako, has succeeded in convincing the speaker to “shelf his desire of contesting for the presidency, but come home and contest for the governorship of Sokoto State under the APC.” This probably influenced the decision of the Sokoto State APC stakeholders to zone the gubernatorial slot to Sokoto South senatorial district where Tambuwal comes from.
The heightened rumour of his defection reached a crescendo last week when Wamakko told the APC members that the speaker had been in support of the party’s activities since its formation.
“I want to inform all stakeholders of the APC gathered here that Tambuwal has been with us since formation of our great party. We told him to remain in PDP until the day of nomination of the party’s governorship candidate. And today is the day,” Wamakko said.
However, the on-going court case at an Abuja High Court, instituted by the PDP, seeking to have the seats of the lawmakers that defected from PDP to APC vacant, is one among several issues that has created a tough situation for the speaker. PDP’s contention is that since the lawmakers were sponsored and had won election on the platform of the party, the court should declare their seats vacant since they have moved to another party.
Even though the case is still at the lower court, a source very close to the speaker told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the endless possibilities of how the PDP could work with the court against him are making him cautious on how and when he defects.
“The truth of why the speaker has still not formally defected is basically because of the fear of how the court could be used against him. Forget about the fact that the court case against the defected lawmakers is still in the court, if the PDP decides that they want to get him through the court when he defects, I am assuring you that you will instantly see judgements flying left and right against him and all those lawmakers who defected to the APC,” he said.
This is buttressed by the fact that a high court had in a previous judgement delivered on October 8, 2013 held that there was no division in the PDP to warrant the lawmakers defecting to the APC.
Another issue hindering the immediate defection of the speaker, according to our source, is pressure from certain key northern elements asking him to stay put. Their reasoning is that his position as the speaker of the House of Representatives strategically confers on him a position to ensure that the PDP doesn’t engage in any attempt to illegally temper with the constitution of the country and confer an extended tenure to President Goodluck Jonathan.
Also, the issue of moral implication of the speaker defecting from a party that sponsored him and ensured he became the speaker of the house to another party is another reason making the speaker to carefully weigh the implication of his defection. The source said, Tambuwal being a morally upright politician feels he might loss some of his credibility by simply abandoning the PDP that made him a speaker.
Lastly, the source told LEADERSHIP Sunday that even though the PDP does not have a huge majority in the house that could pose an impeachment threat if he eventually decides to defect, the possibility of what the PDP could do, even without a two-third majority requirement to facilitate his removal, could go a long way in taking out some pounds of flesh from him.
However, the PDP caucus within the House of Representatives has remained diplomatic on the matter, even refusing to confirm or otherwise, reported moves to begin impeachment proceedings against Tambuwal if and when he defects to APC.
The Deputy House Majority Leader, Leo Ogor, stated last week that, “I will tell you that, as a caucus, we are not bothered. His defection doesn’t change anything in the party. Therefore, we are not having any sleepless night. This is time for politicking. People are taking their personal decisions. It is about your political future.
Continuing, Ogor said, “I cannot tell you the caucus will do this or do that when the speaker has not informed anybody that he has defected. This speculation has been on for months, and really, I get tired.
“All I can say is, we cannot place the cart before the horse. Whenever we get to the bridge, we will cross it.”