Wednesday, 27 November 2013

How APC plots to take over House of Reps

Progressives Congress (APC) has reportedly mapped out a plan to ensure smooth take-over of the leadership of the House of Representatives, following its merger with five aggrieved governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP).
Members of the lower chambers of the National Assembly elected on the ticket of the PDP from the said five states, who had been operating on the platform of New PDP (nPDP), also formally became members of APC, by virtue of the merger, on Tuesday.
Though seven PDP governors of Adamawa, Rivers, Kano, Sokoto, Kwara, Niger and Jigawa began the merger discussion with APC leadership, Niger and Jigawa governors dissociated themselves from the merger when it was announced on Tuesday.
A top source involved in the merger also disclosed to the Nigerian Tribune that the new development would ultimately give APC a simple majority in both chambers of the National Assembly and would be explored to take over the leadership of the House of Representatives, while the plan was reportedly to leave the Senate leadership intact for PDP.

The source reasoned that while the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, had been unabashed in his romance with APC long before the merger, such could not be said of the Senate President, David Mark, who had reportedly maintained a studied neutrality in the PDP crisis that led to the exit of the five governors.
It was learnt that after the defecting PDP representatives had openly recognised themselves as APC members, a motion would be moved that the speaker could not be allowed to belong to the minority party.
The arrangement, according to the source, would see Tambuwal still parading himself as a PDP chieftain until a formal request was made on the floor of the chamber, compelling him to either switch party or step down as the speaker.
Tambuwal had solidly stood by Sokoto State governor, Aliyu Wamakko during the PDP crisis, with a source alleging that the speaker had been a silent member of the APC since his governor started romancing with the opposition leadership.
Many APC top-shots were also clamouring for his entrance into the presidential contest in 2015 against President Goodluck Jonathan, long before the merger was consummated on Tuesday.
When the source was reminded that the seats of the defecting lawmakers, including Tambuwal’s, could be declared vacant by PDP under the extant laws, Nigerian Tribune was told that the plan had also been catered for, with the embattled national secretary of the PDP, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, as the opposition joker.
It was learnt that with the judicial return of Oyinlola as PDP’s lawful scribe, he would be asked to continue to lay claim to the position, despite his obvious movement to APC.
He would also, according to the plan, continue to write to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in his capacity as PDP’s national scribe, simply to prove to the electoral body that there was crisis in the PDP, which would legally empower the federal lawmakers, including Tambuwal, to cross-carpet to the APC without the risk of having their seats declared vacant.
When reminded that such arrangement did not work for Ondo State senator, Ajayi Borrofice, who moved from Labour Party to ACN and now APC and had his seat declared vacant by the courts, the source noted that that in LP’s case, those who left the party like his erstwhile chairman, Olaiya Oni, did not institute any legal actions.
The source added that in the case at present, Oyinlola did not only institute a court case, he was returned as the lawful secretary by a competent court of law, with the PDP yet to file neither an appeal against the judgment nor a stay of execution of the judgment.
It was also learnt that it was easy for the leadership of APC and aggrieved governors to reach agreement on the merger because four of the governors were on the second and final term, with senatorial tickets said to have been promised them.
The fifth, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State, it was learnt, would be allowed a second term on the APC platform, though there were indications that a new deputy governor might emerge from the camp of the original APC members.
Instead of congresses in those five states, harmonisation of party positions and sharing of elective positions might be adopted for seamless integration.
Meanwhile, known allies of former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, among the defected governors were said to have defied Obasanjo’s directive not to join APC, due to what a source in the know called “political battles of their lives for survival.”
Nigerian Tribune was told that the inability of the leaders, including Obasanjo, to talk Jonathan into accepting their demands and the increasing hawkish posture of the president made the trio of Governor Wamakko, Governor Murtala Nyako and Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to take the political plunge, though Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu and his Jigawa counterpart, Sule Lamido, also Obasanjo’s boys, pulled out of the arrangement at the last minute.
Nyako, who was almost single-handedly made governor by Obasanjo, was said to have reasoned that with the will-power with which PDP’s national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, was pursuing his son’s rumoured governorship ambition and the unshaken backing from Jonathan, he would be made to lose all political relevance if he remained in the PDP, which Obasanjo might not be able to do anything about.
Though the trio had age-long political foes to co-habit with in APC, they were said to have preferred the opposition’s comfort to the heat in PDP, which they felt had gone beyond the reach of the former president to douse.
A top chieftain of the APC described the five governors as “those chased into APC by war.”
APC spokesperson, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, however, on Tuesday, described the merger as historic and balance of power in the country.
According to him “it is an historic day. With this development, there is a new balance of power.
“This is not only from the point of view of governors, it is also going to change the power dynamics in the National Assembly.”
Source: Tribune

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