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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Pro-Tukur lawmakers move against Speaker Tambuwal over handling of Baraje-led PDP faction’s visit


Mr Tambuwal was lambasted for treating the visit by the Baraje-led PDP faction as a House affair, and not a single party affair.
House of Representatives members backing Bamanga Tukur as the Peoples Democratic Party chairman, rose against House speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, Wednesday, over his handling of Tuesday’s crisis-ridden visit of the party’s factional leaders to the House, accusing him of deliberately aiding the violent drama.
The lawmakers said Mr Tambuwal’s handling of the visit gave vent to the turmoil that saw members exchange blows, and accused him of jettisoning the senate’s option of receiving the visitors, which would have given him greater control of a House already charged by the crisis in the ruling party.
The legislators gave their rebuke early Wednesday at a closed-door session where members made it clear how embarrassed they were as legislators, lawmakers who attended the session said.
According to the members, Mr Tambuwal was lambasted for treating the visit by Abubakar Baraje and the seven governors opposed to the Tukur-led PDP, as a House affair, and not a single party affair.
For instance, while the Baraje team was received by the senate president, David Mark, assisted by other senators, in his official conference room; Mr Tambuwal allowed the meeting to be held in one of the House’s biggest conference halls where public hearings are usually held.
Fighting broke out after lawmakers supporting Mr Tukur jeered while Mr Baraje addressed the late afternoon meeting attended by Governors Babangida Aliyu of Niger state, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, Sule Lamido of Jigawa, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, Aliyu Wammako of Sokoto and Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara state.
The pro-Tukur lawmakers said that open reception drew in crowd and allowed for a breakdown of order.
At one of the most unpredictable times for the ruling party, when two factions have drawn up supporters including federal lawmakers who believe everything, including leadership change is possible, Mr Tambuwal reportedly offered profound apologies to his colleagues, and urged them to let go of the past.
House spokesperson, Zakari Mohammed, however denied Mr Tambuwal apologized. He said the speaker only urged members to forget the past and focus on their legislative duties.
The tension on Wednesday provided another evidence that the PDP, deeply polarized over a surfeit of issues, remains a good distance from finding the unity its leaders so preach.
As the majority party wobbles in the House, its frustrations are providing a pad for the opposition that has lately gained in numbers with the formation of the All Progressives Congress.
“We are undoubtedly as are most Nigerians pleased with what is unfolding in the PDP. We are pleased not just for us but for the vast majority of the suffering Nigerian masses. In all of these happenings we see the hand of God,” the party caucus said in a statement, read by its leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, at a news conference Wednesday.
The APC members, numbering more than 130 members, said they were pleased with the misfortune of the PDP, and were already in talks with the party’s frustrated members who were willing to move over to the APC.
“..We want to invite our colleagues in the House who found their way into the PDP through craft or deception but who in their hearts are progressive in inclination and bent, and there are many of them, to join hands with us in pursuing our agenda of change and hope of saving Nigeria.
“This is our time, this is our moment. Let us seize it. There is much work to be done but the labourers are few. All hands must be on deck at this critical moment in our nation’s history. We must be watchful and vigilant. We must pray. We must fight a good fight believing that the end of this dark tunnel we have been plunged into is luminous,” the caucus said.
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