The allegation that five members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, collected $1million each to defect to the PDP, last Tuesday, has split the House into two camps.
The two warring camps comprising of APC and PDP Reps however did not exchange blows, it was a conotative war.
The Interim National Publicity Secretary of APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed had alleged, in a statement, after the Reps defection to the PDP that the defected members collected $1m each before dumping APC.
PDP Reps however did not consider this a joke; they saw it as a grand design to rubbish them.
Armed with a copy of one of the tabloids that published the Mohammed statement, Hon Kingsley Chinda, PDP, Rivers, moved a motion on the floor of the House on Wednesday.
Chinda brandished the newspaper where it was alleged that lawmakers that defected on Tuesday were given $1million each to dump APC.
He said:”The integrity of all lawmakers of this assembly before the electorate is at stake if the statement credited to the Interim National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr Lai Mohammed, is not investigated immediately.
“There is need to get to the root of the matter by the Ethics and Privileges Committee and whoever is found guilty should be sanctioned.
“This was how the governor of Nasarawa State, Tanko Al-Makura, last week, alleged that the lawmakers in his state that defected to PDP were bribed with N50m each”.
The Rivers lawmaker went on: “It will be shameful if this matter is not investigated immediately as it will adversely affect all the good things the 7th Assembly has done. “
Ruling on the issue, the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, mandated the Committee on Ethics and Privileges to probe the matter and submit its findings within two weeks.
However, Deputy Majority Leader of the House, Hon Leo Ogor, said the money for defection allegation levelled against the defected lawmakers was “a complete nonsense as there was nothing like that. “
He said, “First and foremost, it is very alien that APC is crying wolf.
”When 37 members of the House defected to the APC, what happened or are they saying that they were bribed too?
”It is very unfortunate that APC today is singing a different tune”.
”They are now finding themselves where they actually belong.
” Secondly, I think it is important that their so-called political grandstanding is taken outside the National Assembly.
”They are not helping the electorate that elected members of the House to come here and represent them.
”And when they came, they swore to an oath of allegiance.
” Their oath of allegiance is to defend the Constitution and serve the Nigerian people, not serving interest of some political parties.
”The talk of people being influenced is absolute nonsense and nobody in his rightful mind will want to make such comment.
” There was nothing of that nature, let he or she that alleges prove. You know that he that alleges is saddled with the responsibility of proof.
”The question I ask is, the other people who defected from PDP, which is still a subject matter before a competent court of jurisdiction, are they saying they were also bribed? Or is it because the reverse is the case that they are now crying?
”They were the ones celebrating and busy trying to take over the House. I tell you one thing knowing the person of President Goodluck Jonathan, he won’t give you a dime for anything, I can swear on that. He believes in transparency, due process and respect for the rule of law.
”Those defecting from APC have realised that if they stay in APC, they won’t win election and every politician who wants to be relevant must win election. Those allegations are totally unfounded, nobody can substantiate them. At the moment, they are more like people losing a battle, they are drowning in the middle of the ocean.”
Also, the National Unity Group, NUG, comprising of APGA, LP and ACCORD members, have vowed to tackle APC with all legal means they could lay their hands on.
In the statement by the leader of the group, Hon Bitrus Kaze, PDP, Plateau, NUG threatened to deal decisively with the matter.
Kaze said,”We are not surprised at their desperation but we are determined not to allow these weighty allegations to be swept under the carpet. We have since raised a breach of privilege on the floor of the House and the matter has been referred to the House committee on Ethics and Privileges the report of which is expected in two weeks”.
He however stated that the group would follow up on this matter to its logical conclusion, adding that while Nigerians have become used to the regular doses of untruths by the APC spokesman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, “we are shocked, dismayed and disappointed that the governor of Nassarawa State, Alhaji Tanko Almakura, will condescend to such a despicable level to lie on a national television that the members from Nasarawa State were financially induced to defect to PDP.”
APC members however held a meeting, on Thursday, apparently to checkmate the onslaught of the NUG members. This development could be a pointer to another round of battles on the floor of the House.