Drama as APC Reps move to assume House leadership

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu TambuwalThe House of Representatives resumed to a mild drama on Tuesday as members of the All Progressives Congress demanded to assume majority control of the 360-member legislature.

The development came as six more Peoples Democratic Party members announced their defection to other political parties on the floor of the House.

Three of the defectors, Mr. Robinson Uwak (Akwa Ibom State); Mr. Ibrahim Garba (Jigawa State); and Mr. Chinenye Ike (Abia State), joined the APC.

Two others, Mr. Tobias Okuwuru (Ebonyi State); and Mr. Peter Ali (Ebonyi State) defected to Labour Party, while Mr. Micah Umor (Akwa Ibom State), joined the Accord Party.

The APC now controls more members than the PDP, hitherto the majority party, owing to rising cases of defections hitting the latter since December 2014.

A total of 179 lawmakers are now in the APC, while the PDP has 162.

Smaller parties share the remaining 19 members, making 360.

However, the leadership positions in the House have remained unchanged with the PDP still occupying the seats of the Majority Leader, the Chief Whip and the Deputy Majority Leader.

But, on Tuesday, the APC caucus moved to assume full control of the House by demanding that the sitting PDP Majority Leader, Mulikat Akande-Adeola, should quit.

The Deputy Minority Leader, Suleiman Abdulrahman-Kawu (Kano State), spoke on behalf of the caucus at the session presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal (APC, Sokoto State).

The PDP camp expressed discomfort with murmurs as Abdulrahman-Kawu cited Orders 6 (19) and 7(27) to demand that the PDP should give up the House leadership to the APC.

“APC is now the majority party in the House. In line with our rules, Mr. Speaker, let us do the right thing with the positions,” Abdulrahman-Kawu stated amid cheers from his APC colleagues.

Although Akande-Adeola and her deputy, Mr. Leo Ogor, attended the session, none of them rose to object to Abdulrahman-Kawu’s demand.

Akande-Adeola was seen removing and cleaning her lenses several times as Abdulrahman-Kawu spoke, while Ogor kept shaking his legs.

However, in a bid to douse the tension, Tambuwal quickly intervened to assure Abdulrahman-Kawu that his point of order was “noted.”

The Speaker went on to clarify that matters relating to the change of leadership of the House were still before competent courts of jurisdiction, awaiting disposal.

He explained that until the courts decided on the issues, the composition of the leadership would remain unchanged for now.

“Your matter of privilege is noted. But this matter is before competent courts of law. So, let us thread softly on it for now,” Tambuwal ruled.

Earlier while welcoming members back after their recess, Tambuwal urged them to redouble their efforts to leave a lasting legacy for Nigerians as their tenure wound down gradually.

The Speaker asked them to work hard to pass the 2015 budget, the Petroleum Industry Bill and the Constitution Amendment Bill soonest.

On the postponement of the general elections by six weeks, Tambuwal observed that much as it might raise credibility questions for the polls, he appealed to Nigerians to come out and vote for the candidates of their choice on March 28 and April 11.

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