The-going Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has said that the frosty relationship between the executive arm and the legislature diverted the House’s attention and severally caused the nation to cringe in shame.
Tambuwal made the observation in a valedictory speech, titled: ‘The Power of Unity of Purpose,’ which he delivered as the House prepared to step down as the Speaker after his victory as the governor-elect of Sokoto State for which he will be sworn in on Friday.
The out-going Speaker also boasted that the seventh assembly, over which he presided, was not tainted by allegations of corruption except in a couple of cases, three to be exact, out of which only one is yet to be given a clean bill.
According to him, the attitude of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the ruling party, in trying to manipulate and stampede the legislature into submission, forced it into a cul-de-sac and occasioned the rancour between the two arms of government.
“I must say that the frosty relationship between the executive and the seventh House was an unnecessary distraction and a source of embarrassment to the nation. It was unwarranted that a ruling party with clear majority boxed itself into that situation.
“If the executive fails to recognise the independence of the legislature and expects that it is its rubber stamp, then a frosty relation is bound to follow.
“I would strongly urge the incoming executive arm and indeed the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to avert this unwholesome situation,” he cautioned.
He offered that the legislature must be unencumbered in its quest “to fulfill its duty and obligation to the electorate,” thus adding, “a legislature truly playing its checks and balances role would normally experience friction with the other arms of government and other interest groups who have broken the law or desire to break the law in the course of time.”
He attributed the consequences of this friction between the two arms to the constitutional amendment impasse, the death of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and the inability of the Electronic Voting System to materialise.
Applauding his team of Principal Officers, colleagues, staff of the National Assembly, the Media, Development Partners especially the British Department for International Development (DFID) and UNDP, civil society organisations, political aides and domestic staff for their personal and collective contributions to the success of the seventh House, he thumbed his chest that as the House closes “we go with a sense of substantial accomplishment and much gratitude to Nigerians whose unwavering support saw us through most of our tough decision times.
“In rendering service to millions of people, I admit that I am human and only God is infallible, so I may have caused offense to some. Such certainly was neither deliberate nor intentional, I therefore ask for forgives for any such offense. I assure you that I will forever cherish the tremendous goodwill extended to me these past four years and indeed to the institution of the House of Representatives,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, has officially taken over as the Speaker of the House, a development which confers on him the prerogative of presiding over the business of the seventh assembly of the House until June 5.
Prompted by a motion moved by Chairman House Committee on Rules and Business, Hon Albert Sam-Tsokwa and 21 others, the House suspended Order II, Rule 9 of the Standing Orders of the House, thus giving Ihedioha the nod to take over the remainder of the life of the seventh House, in accordance with Order VII, Rule 25 (1) of the standing orders of the House.
Order 11, Rule 9 of the House provides that: “whenever a vacancy has occurred in the office of the speaker or deputy speaker during a session, the clerk shall report same to the House at its next sitting, and the House shall either forthwith, or at its next sitting, proceed to the election of a new Speaker in the manner herein before provided.”
According to Sam-Tsokwa, since the outgoing Speaker, Tambuwal, would be sworn in as the governor of Sokoto State on May 29, he ceases to be a member of the House and by extension Speaker of the House after taking his oath of office.
As a result, he noted, there was the need not to create vacancy in the office of the Speaker of the House, hence the need for the motion to transfer the powers of the speaker to the deputy Speaker.
The motion, when it was put to vote by Tambuwal, was unanimously supported by majority of members.