The speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria, Aminu Tambuwal, has described the withdrawal omohts security officials attached to him by the Inspector General of Police as a plan to harm him.
- The security personnel were withdrawn on Thursday
- The police say the withdrawal is in line with section 68 of the Nigerian Constitution
- Tambuwal defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress on Tuesday, after months of rumours of the planned defection
- The PDP has majority in the House but it is not enough to impeach Tambuwal
After the withdrawal of the security personnel on Thursday, the police issued a statement indicating that it had withdrawn all security personnel guarding the Parliament Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, the country’s fourth most powerful government official, following his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the opposition coalition – All Progressives Congress (APC).
The statement issued by the spokesman for the Nigeria Police Force, Mr Emmanuel Ojukwu, cited the recent defection by Mr Tambuwal from the PDP to the APC as reason.
“Having regard to the clear provision of section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has redeployed its personnel attached to his office,” the statement read.
In response to the police’s statement, Mr. Tambuwal’s spokesman, Imam Imam, said the police’s explanation was far from the truth.
“The implication of the inspector general of police’s statement is that as sanction for this alleged constitutional breach, he has removed Rt. Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal from office of Speaker House of Representatives,” a statement by Imam read.
The statement pointed out that the question of whether or not there was a division or faction in the PDP had been resolved by Justice Faji of the Ilorin Division of Federal High Court in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/605/2013, in which the court held that indeed there were factions in the PDP.
The statement also stressed that in suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/ 605/2013, the Sokoto Division of the Federal High Court per Justice Aikawa, the judgment of the court was that there was not only division but faction in the PDP, which later merged with the APC.
No longer wanted as Speaker
Tambuwal defected to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) from the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday, a move that gave the opposition a boost in its campaign to unseat President Goodluck Jonathan in February 2015 presidential elections.
He has not yet resigned as speaker, but the withdrawal of the security personnel is a sign that he is no longer wanted by the ruling party as the speaker of the House.
After Tambuwal’s defection, the PDP had asked him to do the needful – vacating the seat of the Speaker of the House of representatives.
The PDP claims that the Speaker was made speaker, having won his seat as a PDP candidate, but the Minority Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, a member of the APC, told reporters on Tuesday that the Speaker was elected through a unanimous vote of members of the House from different political parties, including opposition parties.
He said that the PDP did not have the right to ask him to resign.
Over 250 out of 360 members of the House gave Tambuwal their votes to elect him as the speaker of the House. At that time the PDP had only a little above 200 members in the House before some 37 lawmakers defected from the PDP to the APC late last year.
The defection gave the APC majority, but that did not last, as the PDP formed an alliance with members of the Labour Party, Accord Party and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in a desperate bid to keep their parliamentary majority.
The alliance only gave the PDP the majority but that majority is not enough to impeach the speaker, according to Mr Gbajabiamila