MR Uzo Azubuike, Chairman of House Representatives Committee on Public Petitions in this interview dismissed the rumoured impeachment moves against President Goodluck Jonathan and the House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal. Azubuike, who is also a member of the Unity Forum,UF, in the House also noted that his group would support President Jonathan should he decide to run for a second term in office.
BY CHARLES KUMOLU
WHAT is your reaction to comments that your group, Unity Forum, is staying out of media spotlight because of an agenda towards changing the leadership of the House of Representatives and probably, impeach President Goodluck Jonathan?
The rumoured attempt by anybody to effect a change in the leadership of the House of Representatives is one of the most ridiculous rumours that can ever be peddled. Let me say first that before we went on recess, we saw a certain drift in PDP that was affecting the coherence of PDP in the House. We now floated an association that we called the PDP Patriots who took it upon ourselves to ensure sustained support for PDP, for President Goodluck Jonathan, for the programmes of PDP that has formed the government of the federation and at the same time, ensure peace and stability in the House of Representatives.
We are aware that the leadership we have in the House today was elected voluntarily by the House and that members of the House are satisfied with the leadership of Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and Emeka Ihedioha, with Mulikat Akande as the Leader of PDP in the House and the Leader of the House. We saw the need to ensure that there is stability in the House and stability in the government of the federation and there cannot be stability in the government of the federation if it does not enjoy the support of the House. Our objective was to build synergy between the party, PDP which we belong to and the House of Representatives, so that in that in the House, PDP will be speaking with one voice and that we have a ready forum for consultation by the leadership of the nation under President Jonathan.
How did the group metamorphose into the Unity Forum that includes non-PDP members?
While we were on recess, there was a problem in the PDP arising from the last mini convention of the party and some people now said they are new PDP and we felt that if there is a disagreement within the party, it should not be brought into the chambers of the National Assembly. Party issues are not supposed to reflect in the National Assembly and that the National Assembly should remain one. That was why when this other dimension came that PDP itself was split, we now came up with the Unity Forum. Under the Unity Forum, we have three beliefs. The Unity Forum is now wider than PDP, but it was still a transformation of the Patriots. Its formation became necessary when we realised that there are other groups too, working on their own. We felt that if what we all want to achieve is harmony, then we have to bring all the groups together. So, we now brought all those groups together. But that unity has attracted the interests of other people who are not in PDP and we have come up with three tenets. One is to mobilize support for the government and programmes of President Jonathan and ensure that his policies get the support of the House of Representatives. Secondly, to mobilize support for the leadership of Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Emeka Ihedioha and Mulikat Akande, and thirdly, to mobilize support for the Bamanga Tukur-led PDP.
What is your take on allegation that you are probably building so much influence so as to be able to eventually change the leadership of the House?
That is the belief of people who don’t really understand the working of the House. What we believe in is unity and stability and the stability we want to achieve is stability in the Executive and stability in the legislature. So, there is no quarrel to the best of our knowledge, between the leadership of the House and the leadership of Executive that will warrant anybody to either choose the leadership of the House or leadership of the executive.
The way the House is, if the presiding officer fails to rule according to the dictates of the majority, his impeachment needs no protocols. So, we have come to realise that it is our duty to protect the leadership by ensuring that we always have the number, we are vocal and visible to direct opinion of the House towards the policies and programmes of the government we believe in. So, our coming together to support the executive led by Goodluck Jonathan is by no means in conflict with our position to preserve the leadership we have in the House.
You would have observed that on the day that there was fracas in the chambers, immediately after that fracas, a strong member of this group – the Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Customs, Hon. Kingsley Chinda, a committed supporter of President Jonathan, was the one who moved the motion for a Vote of Confidence on Tambuwal and the House carried it! Not a single person said nay.
How is your group looking at the issue of the new PDP and what are you doing to resolve the crisis?
We believe that the resolution is beyond our group. It is a matter which the leadership of the party and the presidency have been working hard to resolve. You are aware that they have been holding series of meetings and we have confidence that they will be able to resolve it.