BY SONI DANIEL, REGIONAL EDITOR, NORTH
Trouble appears imminent in the House of Representatives, as members get set to resume from vacation tomorrow.
The bone of contention is that the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, must support President Goodluck Jonathan wholeheartedly or be ready to give way for a core loyalist to take over the proceedings of the House.
The Presidency and Tambuwal have not been on the same page since he was accused of romancing with the opposition when he granted audience to the breakaway faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, led by Abubakar Baraje, last month.
Although supporters of the President in the House moved against what many saw as ‘an open’ endorsement of the group by the Speaker, there are allegations that a major plot is being hatched to remove Tambuwal from the exalted post.
Worried by the sharp division in the House arising from the Baraje and G7 governors’ visit and the controversy generated, Tambuwal is said to have set up a ‘small peace committee’ to pacify aggrieved members and restore confidence in the leadership.
However, a source close to the peace committee told Vanguard that members had been more divided than before as a result of differences among those loyal to Tambuwal and the President.
It was learnt that when the two groups met to make peace, the pro-Jonathan lawmakers shocked Tambuwal’s loyalists by coming up with three stringent conditions, which the Tambuwal group rejected.
The anti-Tambuwal lawmakers in the House are reported to have asked Tambuwal to allow for an independent auditing of the amount of money so far released to him since he took over as Speaker in 2011.
The pro-Jonathan group also asked Tambuwal to steer clear of the Rivers State House of Assembly crisis and allow the police to re-open the state legislature for business.
The group also demanded that Tambuwal should explain why members of the 7th Assembly were being paid a paltry N27 million per quarter as against the N45 million that their 6th Assembly counterparts were getting under the Dimeji Bankole leadership.
They argued that they have been cheated by the leadership which reduced their pay when the Federal Government had not reduced the statutory N150 billion being paid to the National Assembly yearly.
However, a staunch supporter of President Goodluck Jonathan in the House of Representatives, Mr Uzo Azubuike, has said that neither the President nor the Speaker is under any impeachment threat.
Azubuike, who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Petition, told Vanguard exclusively that the main aim of the President’s loyalists in the House was to strengthen peace and unity as well as ensure that the PDP, which is the majority party, takes its rightful position in major decisions-making.
The Aba North/Aba South Federal Constituency Representative said that as people, who believe in the unity and development of Nigeria, they had already floated a group within the PDP members known as “Unity Forum” to work for the advancement of the cause of Nigeria.
Asked if all the PDP members in the House of Representatives were members of the forum, Azuibuike said that at least most of the members of the party were involved in it but did not elaborate.