Plot to impeach Tambuwal hits a dead end

Semiu Salami
Semiu Salami

The plot by some members of the House of Representatives to impeach the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal hit a dead end on Saturday as it became extremely difficult to muster the statutorily required two-third majority for Tambuwal’s removal.

Reports about an impeachment plan against Tambuwal spread on Friday following an allegation by the Abubakar Baraje-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party that the Presidency had dangled a N2.5 million carrot before lawmakers to remove Tambuwal.

The faction alleged that Tambuwal’s sin against the Presidency was that he received the Baraje group during a visit to the National Assembly on Tuesday to brief members on why they pulled out of the main PDP led by  Dr.  Bamanga Tukur.

On Friday, some lawmakers in favour of the impeachment against Tambuwal, reportedly held a meeting in Abuja,  to strategise on the said plan.

Our correspondent learnt that getting lawmakers together to draw the required number to impeach Tambuwal might, had become a Herculean task for the plotters.

Presently, the House is believed to be fragmented into about four groups. There is the New PDP group made up of 57 members officially, but which claims to have 108 lawmakers.

In the All Progressives Congress caucus, there are 137 members in the records of the House, while there are a few members in Accord Party and the All Progressives Grand Alliance members, who opted not to join APC.

The PDP as a block, before the crisis, had 208 members.

“Right now, there is confusion on the exact number of PDP members either in the New PDP or in the Old PDP. If the New PDP has 108 as they claim, then there are 100 members left in the Old PDP; if it is 57, the membership of the New PDP is less,” one of the lawmakers told our correspondent in Abuja.

However, sources claimed that not even everybody in the Old PDP accepted the idea of moving against the Speaker. Two influential members of the Old PDP told our correspondent that even though they were unhappy with the Speaker’s decision to receive Baraje and the seven governors with “glee”, impeachment was not on the table yet.

“Our interest is that we want a united House that can work for the good of the country. Let us continue to work in harmony like we have done in the last two years under the leadership of Tambuwal. The Speaker should not try to come under pressure to divide the House. We have told him this much,” one of the sources stated.

The Deputy Minority Whip, Garba Dhatti, said that with over 137 members on the Speaker’s side, there was no way any impeachment plot would succeed.

“Impeaching the Speaker is not as simple as electing the Speaker. To elect the speaker, you need a simple majority, but to impeach him requires two-thirds majority. Two-thirds of 360 is 240. Where will they get that number from? No single group can impeach the Speaker, that is what we have to realise before we even start talking.

“So, if these people are fragmented, will they get the number? At best, they will only succeed in causing trouble in the House and no more. They don’t have the number to remove anybody,” he said.

The spokesman of the House, Zakari Mohammed, said  impeaching Tambuwal might be the wish of some forces outside the National Assembly,  stating that the idea would only remain a dream.

“You don’t impeach the Speaker outside the floor, you bring it up in the House. This House is united under the leadership of the Speaker; the House is not involved in this talk of impeachment. It may be the wish of some people outside, but for us as a House, we are focused on our legislative duties”, Mohammed stated.

Also, the Office of the Speaker described the impeachment plot as “speculation.”

The Special Adviser to Tambuwal on Media and Public Affairs, Imam Imam, said as far as Tambuwal was concerned, the impeachment talk was speculation. “It is pure speculation.You know the Speaker does not react to speculations.That is our position and that is all we have to say,” he added.

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