Speaker House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole

By Emeka Mamah &Luka Binniyat
ABUJA—AS the seven-day ultimatum to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, by a group of representatives tagged the Progressives expires tomorrow, the Speaker’s camp and the Progressives were, yesterday, perfecting their ‘war’ strategies.

Vanguard learnt, yesterday, that Bankole’s loyalists, and the Progressives had been meeting at various locations in Abuja, on how to outwit each other.

The Bankole camp, according to a member who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity, was bent on seeing that members of the Progressives were suspended as soon as the House reconvened on June 22.

It would be recalled that some members of the House of Representatives had, last Wednesday, in Abuja, alleged that the Speaker was corrupt and that he lacked leadership qualities. The group, which called itself the Progressives, gave Bankole a seven-day ultimatum to resign, adding that if he failed, it would reveal incriminating documents against him, before handing him over for prosecution.

Order 10 Rules 4-6 of the House Rules, empowers the Speaker to suspend any erring member from the House for not more than 104 legislative days (three and half months) and the suspension can be renewed indefinitely.

Thus, the Speaker has the discretion to keep the Progressives out of the House till the life of the Present National Assembly expires in June 2011.

And the Progressives, Vanguard gathered, were aware that if Bankole was not removed as Speaker, they would suffer fatal injuries when he regained full control of the House.

One of the members of the group told Vanguard on phone yesterday: “There is hardly a mid-way solution to the problem. If we don’t force Bankole to resign, then we would have no choice than release the documents we have on him next Wednesday, so that the law will take its course immediately. There is no way that he would not go on with what we have against him.”

Asked why the so-called incriminating documents were not made public or sent to the relevant government bodies, the source said, it was a protective measure. He said: “We want the world to be informed about this, first, so that it is not buried by compromised government officials.”

From what is on ground, if Bankole refused to resign when the House reconvened, there would be showdown.

Labour cautions Reps

Meantime, Labour, has cautioned the  Representatives against sacking their  leadership, saying that Nigerians were not in the mood for any diversion now.

General Secretary of the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria and the Vice President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Issa Aremu said this in an interview in Kaduna, yesterday.


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