by Stanley Azuakola
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, who recently decamped from the Peoples Democrtaic Party (PDP) and pitched his tent with the All Progressives Congress (APC), dominated the headlines last week as his refusal to resign following his defection led to an unprecedented action by the police which withdrew his security details without any directive from the courts.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is unhappy with Tambuwal, as the party currently has a majority in the lower house but are restricted in their ability to take legal moves against the Speaker like impeaching him. The question people are asking is why can’t the PDP just end the drama and impeach the Speaker? The deputy speaker has a right to write to the speaker asking him to convene an emergency session even though the House is on recess – so why does he not just do that and get over with the impeachment quickly?
1. Because the PDP knows that it does not have the two-thirds of the votes in the House which is needed to impeach the speaker. Unfortunately for the ruling party, impeachment of the speaker is not by a simple majority, but by two-thirds majority. The APC failed the last time to get the majority in the House following the season of defections in the House earlier this year, but they did not fall so far behind.
2. The other problem is that the PDP caucus in the House is not united. It is not just because some of them genuinely like the speaker; it’s mainly because of the politics of 2015. Some of these lawmakers are currently fighting the battle of their lives in a bid to return to the House but are being opposed by their governors or other challengers. Quite a few of them are aware that they would not be getting the party’s ticket. Some are attempting to go to the senate or become governors but do not have good chances. Those ones won’t just support the speaker’s impeachment for free – they want a deal.
3. This brings us to the fact that the Speaker made a cunning political move hen he adjourned the House until December. Why? Because by then several of the PDP lawmakers would have lost and some may even defect to the APC. There is a possibility that by the time the House resumes after the recess, the APC might have gained more numbers, making it almost impossible to make a move against Tambuwal.
4. Finally. did you read about the shield which House members are giving the speaker? Following the withdrawal of his security details, 60 All Progressives Congress members of the House now reportedly move around with him to serve as security. SUNDAY PUNCH reported that the 60 Reps have been accompanying Tambuwal around Abuja to protect him against potential security threats. They drive along with him in a motorcade, and also form a shield around Tambuwal to protect him. Of course that is all political gimmicks. If the speaker’s life is in danger, 60 untrained human shields can do very little to save him. Still it is a show by his colleagues that they are ready to fight on his behalf.
And that will be giving the PDP sleepless nights.