Thursday, October 30, 2014

HOW DID WE ALLOW THIS TRAGIC SET BACK HAPPEN? : Boko Haram Captures Mubi Town In Adamawa ... LeadershipNews

Lt.-Gen. Kenneth Minimah, 
Mubi, the hometown of Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Alex Badeh, has finally fallen into the hands of the Boko Haram sect.
The town, which is the second largest town and one of the commercial hubs of the state, is now under the control of insurgents, according to fleeing residents.
Reports from the town indicate that following the annexation of Mubi town, a fierce battle has ensued between Nigerian troops and the insurgents after the troops were initially overpowered and chased out of Michika local government where they were operating before.
The Nigerian troops reportedly tried to put up a stiff resistance against the incursion of the insurgents but had to succumb to the firepower of the insurgents and flee their barracks which the insurgents annexed and went on to steal assorted weapons.
After this, the insurgents attacked the prison yard in the town and set the inmates free. They also burnt down Mubi police station and other area commands of the town as they went about bastardising all institutions and symbols of authority and hoisting their flags in various locations in the town.
At the time of filing this report, the insurgents were are said to be heading towards the emir’s palace.
The emir, Abubakar Isah Ahmadu, however, was lucky not to be in town when the incident occurred as he was still in Saudi Arabia being the state’s Amirul Hajj, but some of his family members are feared trapped in the palace.
Reports indicate that thousands of residents fled into the bushes and hilltops to the escape the rampaging insurgents. Fleeing residents said they saw many corpses on their way to the bush while many others are through Digil.
When contacted on phone, a fleeing employee of the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, one Mr Medan, confirmed that thousands of residents had fled into the bush, adding that “I’m currently speaking to you from the bush.”
Reports also indicate that many of the fleeing residents who tried to cross the Nigeria-Cameroon border were stranded as the Cameroonian gendarmes stopped them from entering their country.

Dozens feared killed
Dozens of Mubi residents are feared killed in the Boko Haram attack on the town.
Reports indicate that a fierce battle had earlier in the day taken place in the town as Nigerian troops put up a last-ditch effort to prevent the commercial town from falling into the hands of the insurgents.
Fleeing residents told journalists that the Nigerian Air Force had started pounding the insurgents with helicopter gunships, with the sound of explosions and gunfire filling the town.
There is apprehension that the repercussions that may result if the insurgents finally capture the town would be colossal as it would lead to a massive humanitarian crisis with hundreds of thousands residents displaced.
A fleeing resident, Mr Peters Joshua, told our reporter on phone that, already, thousands of people had fled Mubi while others had run into the bush to escape the battle raging between the troops and the insurgents.
“Thousands of people have deserted Mubi and neighbouring towns as people scattered into different directions with some heading towards Cameroon Republic as others heading to Yola and Maiha towns while many ran into the bush,” Joshua said.
Another source said that the Boko Haram insurgents also overran from Madagali town to Bazza town,
“They are having field day. Following the intensification of hostilities, I had to sneak into Michika town to pick my aged mother, but, surprisingly, only insurgents were in the town; there were no soldiers around,’’ he said.
Residents of Maiha town have also claimed seeing soldiers heading towards Yola as thousands others who escaped from Mubi headed towards the town.
“We saw soldiers’ vehicles fleeing towards Yola, the state capital,’’ said a local source in Maiha.
The latest attack on Mubi is believed to be an attempt by insurgents to consolidate their grip in the Adamawa North Senatorial Zone having captured Madagali and Michika local governments of the state about two months ago.
Reports indicate that the insurgents had an upper hand on the soldiers, who were on the fringes of Michika town following the earlier success the troops recorded against the insurgents, forcing them to retreat into the nearby villages.
Residents of Uba town, sandwitched between Adamawa and Borno states, have reported that the insurgents had earlier forced the Nigerian troops to beat a retreat to Mubi en route the town.
“The insurgents seemed to have an upper hand against the Nigerian troops as they forced the soldiers to retreat to Mubi from parts of Michika that had been annexed by the insurgents,” a resident of Uba told reporters.
A fleeing resident of the area, Mallam Sani Garta, said the insurgents were giving the Nigerian troops a run for their money in the renewed offensive.
“The insurgents gave the soldiers a hot chase yesterday as they retreated from Mubi. The soldiers passed us in a hasty manner before the insurgents followed them in quick succession, lending credence that they are chasing away the soldiers.
“While passing through the town, the insurgents shot many people leading to the deaths of some people, and people escaped into the nearby bush while others headed towards Maiha and Hong local governments,” the resident said.
The state governor, Bala Ngillari, has asked the people of the state, particularly those in the affected areas, to remain calm as security agents are trying to address the situation.
“This development is unfortunate. His Excellency has met with security chiefs in the state. People should remain calm; security agents are on the top of situation,’’ Mr P.P. Elisha, the director press and public affairs to the governor, said.

Boko Haram hoists flags on Mubi
Boko Haram militants have also hoisted the sect’s flag and imposed a curfew in Mubi.
A resident who spoke with the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Malam Ahmad Sajo, said he could not reach his family and parents as the sect had dismantled some communication equipment in the town.
“The attack forced many people in the town to flee to neighbouring towns of Adamawa for fear of possible attacks from the terrorists who now operate freely without confrontation from security operatives,” Sajo said.
The agency reports that the insurgents have already taken over Mararaba Hildi, few kilometres to Mubi town and Uba local government of the state, prompting a mass exodus of the residents and troops.
Residents told the agency that soldiers were seen leaving with their armoured cars and rifles to escape the advancing Boko Haram insurgents.
“The militants arrived around noon (yesterday) after successfully attacking neighbouring towns in an overwhelming attack that began last night,” fleeing resident said.
“Troops guarding the barracks initially exchanged fire with the militants but fled after more militants arrived in the area with heavy firepower.
“It is just a pity that we are not telling ourselves the truth, because there is nothing like ceasefire with Boko Haram. People are just suffering and somebody is out there playing politics with their lives.
“It was just a pity that I was driving and could not take the picture of those fleeing soldiers. This country is in serious trouble,” he added.

DHQ keeps mum
Meanwhile, mum was the response from the military.
The director of information, Defence Headquarters, Major General Chris Olukolade could not be reached through his phone and we received no reply from the text message sent to him.
But a security source said the military should not be held responsible since there was a presidential order asking them to respect the ceasefire pact between the federal government and the sect.
“What do you want us to do when the president and the commander-in-chief ordered us to respect the ceasefire agreement between the federal government and the terrorists. If the order is withdrawn tonight, terrorists are in trouble. If it is true they have taken over any part of the country, we will not welcome that,” the source said.
Another source noted that the latest attacks by the insurgents despite the purported ceasefire deal showed a disagreement among their ranks.
“With this new development, it is an indication that the leadership of the terrorists has been factionalised and this is why we should be at alert because a faction of those criminals are not in support of the ceasefire. But it all depends on the federal government,” he noted.

ECHOES FROM THE SCOAN TRAGEDY : Collapsed Synagogue building not registered, approved by Lagos govt ... PremiumTimes

The Synagogue Church building which collapsed early September killing 116 people was never registered or approved by Lagos State authorities, a hearing into the cause of the disaster, heard Thursday.
The Lagos State Government said the collapsed guest house within the premises of the church, had no building permit. The building collapsed on September 12, killing more than 100, majority of them South Africans.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Olutoyin Ayinde, made the information known while testifying at the ongoing Coroner’s inquest into the incident.
Mr. Ayinde told the inquest chaired by Oyetade Komolafe that investigations carried out by the ministry showed that the six-storey building had no approval.
“From our records, we saw the approval in the name of Synagogue Church of All Nations dated Jan.26, 2004,” he said. “The approval was just for the main auditorium of the church. It was an approval for a five-floor development.”
He said on a visit to the site, a government team discovered that the building had been raised to an eighth floor; making the additional three floors illegal structures.
“For the collapsed building, we did not find anything relating to it in our records. It does not have our approval,” Mr. Ayinde said.
The commissioner also expressed safety concerns over the additional floors being constructed at the church auditorium.
“In the ongoing construction, there is a lift shaft that is being developed and one of the columns is not taking off from the ground floor. It is erected on a water tank.
“I don’t know if an engineer certified that but it should be investigated,” he said.
He added that the state government had developed an electronic document management system, EDMS, that captured all the building plans in the state from 1990 to 2012.
Mr. Ayinde said that following the visit to the church on September 21, his ministry wrote to the church requesting the architectural drawing of the collapsed building, names and addresses of the contractors, sub-contractors, consultants, and engineers; as well as evidence of laboratory test on the structure.
“Till date, we’ve not had a reply from the General Overseer,” he said.
According to the commissioner, other on-going construction at the church, during their visit, were of concern to his team.
“By the additional construction we saw on site, we are inclined to express some fears because we also saw some few things that were not right in the construction industry,” said Mr. Ayinde.
“One of the columns in the eight storey is resting on a water tank, not from the ground level. I don’t know which engineer allowed that to happen.”
Three days after the building collapse, Mr. Ayinde said officials from his ministry were sent to the church to check the coordinates of the site.
During cross examination by Olalekan Ojo, SCOAN’s lawyer, Mr. Ayinde said he did not have an offhand knowledge of the number of collapsed buildings in Lagos State.
Mr. Ayinde, however, admitted that approval plans had nothing to do with the structural stability of a building.
“Buildings do not stand firm or fall because there is no plan or building approval, unless you have conducted a test,” he said. “The mere fact that a person was granted a driver’s licence is not a guarantee he will drive safely. But if you do not have a plan for your building, you have created an avenue for the building to fail.”
Joseph Agbenla, the Surveyor-General of Lagos State, also testified before the coroner on Thursday.
Earlier, the South African High Commissioner, who had been billed to testify on Thursday requested for more time to conclude negotiations for legal representation. The coroner agreed.
Also, a lawyer attempted to remind the court that the coroner was joined in a suit challenging the composition of the inquest at the Federal High Court, Lagos. A visibly unimpressed Oyetade Komolafe, the coroner, asked the lawyer to leave the court room.
Olukoya Ogungbeje, a Lagos based lawyer, had approached a Federal High Court in Lagos praying for an order restraining the coroner from conducting further proceedings on the inquest. Joined as defendants in his suit were the Lagos State government, the attorney general of the state, and Mr. Komolafe (the coroner) as first to third defendants.
The matter is yet to be assigned to a judge. The inquest continues on November 5.

A DESPERATION SO HARD TO HIDE : Tambuwal blasts acting IG after being stripped of police protection ... PremiumTimes

 Speaker Aminu Tambuwal 
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, has expressed “shock and amazement” at the explanation given by the Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, for the withdrawal of Mr. Tambuwal’s security detail.
Police aides attached to the speaker were withdrawn Thursday, a day after he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC.
In the statement by its spokesperson, Emmanuel Ojukwu, on Thursday, the police said the IGP acted because Mr. Tambuwal’s defection to the opposition party breached Section 68 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution and was therefore no longer entitled to police security.
Reacting to the statement, Mr. Tambuwal said the police 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,” the statement by the speaker’s media aide, Imam Imam, on Thursday, said.
The statement said 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 recounted 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.
“As the number four citizen in the hierarchy of protocol in the country, the Speaker is entitled to security protection by the security agencies, therefore we see the action of the Acting Inspector General of Police as not only contempt of the courts but a ploy to bring harm to the person of Rt. Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal,” Mr. Imam said.
“We are on authority that nothing in the 1999 Constitution or the Police Act confers on the police force adjudicatory powers including the interpretation of the constitution. In any case even Section 215 of the 1999 Constitution does not contemplate the issuing of or compliance with unlawful orders by the President and or the Inspector General of Police respectively.”
Mr. Tambuwal argued that what the police chief did had no basis in law including the 1999 Constitution which he cited.
“It is a brazen act of crass impunity, gross constitutional breach and contempt of court. The Inspector General should desist from assuming or usurping the constitutional functions of the Judiciary,” the speaker said.
The speaker argued that Section 68(1)(g) of the Constitution, which deals with a member vacating his seat on grounds of defection and which the Mr. Abba referred to, has a proviso which has been and still is a matter for judicial and not police interpretation.
“We have faith and confidence in our judiciary and are persuaded that it cannot by stampeded into administering injustice,” the statement said.

RAPISTS BEWARE : Woman kills man who allegedly tried to rape her in Lekki | GRAPHIC PHOTO ... NaijaUrban

A 22 year old woman identified as Ifeoma Okechukwu has been arrested after she allegedly killed an unidentified man who she claimed tried to rape her at her Atlantic View Estate, Alpha Beach Road, Lekki home where she lived with her uncle. The incident happened on Monday October 27th.
The suspected rapist Woman kills man who allegedly tried to rape her in Lekki | GRAPHIC PHOTOAccording to a Punch, Ifeoma, an indigene of Imo state, said she had gone out on that faithful day around 12.30pm to buy sanitary pads because she was on her menstrual period, and was on her way back home when she was accosted by an unknown man….*graphic pic of the alleged rapist when you continue*
Ifeoma tells her story;
“After buying the sanitary pads, I was going back home when I saw a man, who should be in his forties, standing at a corner. He approached me and ordered me to take him to my house. He put his hand into his pocket as if he wanted to bring out a weapon. He said he would kill me if I shouted. When we got to the house, he said I should shut the door and I did. He said I should remove my clothes; and I started begging him, but he refused to listen. So I told him to let me get to the kitchen because I was cooking something and I would be back. I got a rod and hid it in my wrapper. I went back and moved slowly towards him, still begging, but he refused. He was taking off his clothes and wearing a condom when I used the rod to hit him in the head. I started screaming. And then I picked the phone and called my uncle.” Ifeoma said while narrating what happened
Her uncle who she lived with said he was at work when she called him and told him what had happened. He said he immediately left the office and went to a police station to report…
“I was not at home when the incident happened and her younger brother had also gone out. So, she was alone in the house and it was possible he had been monitoring her movement. When she called me and said what had happened, I left the office and went to the police station in Jakande Estate where I reported the matter.” he said
While confirming the incident, the Lagos state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Kenneth Nwosu said investigations so far carried out showed the man was part of a gang who terrorized residents of the area
“He was about wearing the condom when the girl hit him on the head and he died. His mission was to rape her and steal from the house. He probably took advantage of her frail stature. We have got information that he was not alone. He belonged to a gang that has been terrorizing Lekki residents for some time now. And that’s why since this incident, nobody knows his name and address, and none of his relatives have come forward to say they know him.”. He said investigations are still ongoing.
Ifeoma is still in police custody pending when investigations into the matter is concluded.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

SCOAN BUILDING COLLAPSE TRAGEDY ... TIME TO TEST THE JOSHUA AIRCRAFT COLLAPSE THEOREM : Synagogue Building Collapse: Coroner threatens to arrest T.B Joshua ... PremiumTimes

Pastor T.B. Joshua
The coroner conducting an inquest into the cause of the building collapse at The Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, Wednesday, threatened to order the arrest of T.B Joshua, the church’s founder, if he fails to honour the invitation extended to him.
Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe said the court does not owe anyone an explanation for its decision to invite Mr. Joshua.
Mr. Joshua, whose real name is Temitope Balogun Joshua, is billed to testify at the inquest on November 5.
Over 115 people died when a six storey guest house belonging to the church collapsed on September 12.
“If he doesn’t come, he will be arrested, please advise him,” Mr. Oyetade told the church’s counsel at the inquest.
“The sheriff said he has served him (a witness summons) and I have the evidence of that. If he cannot come on that day, he should tell us why he cannot come.”
The magistrate was responding to an earlier suggestion by Lateef Fagbemi, the church’s counsel, that only people who would be of relevance to the court ought to be invited.
“I have gone through all the depositions filed, no mention has been made of Joshua,” Mr. Fagbemi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, had said.
“I will suggest that it is those who can be of assistance from the SCOAN that will be invited.”
To support his argument, Mr. Fagbemi cited Section 32 of the Coroner Law where the court was vested with the power to summon anyone that can give “material evidence” during an inquest.
“He must be someone who must be able to assist you. Has there been anything said against Joshua?” Mr. Fagbemi argued.
But the coroner stood his ground, reminding the lawyer that the court specifically invited Mr. Jonathan and not The Synagogue Church.
“The church is not our problem here. We summoned the prophet, we summoned the contractors. The prophet is different from the church,” Mr. Komolafe said.
Earlier, during a dramatic and somewhat belligerent cross-examination, John Obafunwa, a professor of Forensic Pathology, said that autopsy on the bodies began on October September 22, ten days after the building collapse.
“The forensic pathologists from South Africa only came for observation, they did not do any other thing,” Mr. Obafunwa responded to claims by the SCOAN lawyer that they were only allowed to take photographs and fingerprints.
“A lawyer will not come from another jurisdiction and appear in a court. Same thing is applicable in the Medical and Dental Council,” Mr. Obafunwa, the Chief Medical Examiner at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, said.
“For a foreign forensic pathologist to practice, the person will need at least a temporary licence from MDCN (Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria). By the way, their expertise was not in doubt.”
The coroner waded in at intervals to calm the heated exchange between Mr. Obafunwa and the SCOAN lawyer.
“You are a professional. You don’t intimidate your witness. You don’t ask a question to harass a witness,” Mr. Komolafe told Olalekan Ojo, one of SCOAN’s lawyers.
Mr. Obafunwa said if a building collapsed due to explosion, death could arise from a variety of things.
“Some people might die as a result of crush effect, some as a result of fire, fire could result before or after the collapse, some could die as a result of severe blood loss due to shrapnel during the explosion.”
On the claims by the SCOAN lawyer that the embalming of the bodies could have led to the washing off of the evidence that victims died from fire, Mr. Obafunwa said that it was “not possible.”
“You don’t look for smoke inhalation outside the body. Evidence of smoke inhalation is in the lungs,” he said.
Also testifying, Oladimeji Ige, of the Nigeria Red Cross said that church members did not obstruct his men from their duties.
“I did not see NEMA and LASEMA performing search and rescue on the first day. I don’t know the people doing the search and rescue,” said Mr. Ige, Resource Development and Training Officer at the Nigeria Red Cross.
Mr. Ige said that majority of the church members who participated in search and rescue were incapable of administering basic first aid to the victims.
‘Stop the coroner’
In a related development, Olukoya Ogungbeje, a Lagos based lawyer, has approached a Federal High Court in Lagos praying for an order restraining the coroner from conducting further proceedings on the inquest.
Joined as defendants in his suit include the Lagos State Government, the Attorney General of the state, and Mr. Komolafe (the coroner) as first to third defendants.
Mr. Ogungbeje argued that the composition of the Coroner’s inquest was a negation of the principle of natural justice and Section 36 of the Constitution, and as such it was unconstitutional, null and void.
The lawyer further argued that the Lagos State government, who instituted the inquest, had already indicted Mr. Joshua and his church by claiming that he was not given approval to put additional floors on the collapsed building.
“The Lagos State Building Control Agency even went ahead to seal up the main building of the church,” Mr. Ogungbeje said.
“The General Manager of the agency even said in the papers and I quote him as follows ‘we have investigated and found that they had no approval for the additional structures. Even the main church which they have added about three floors on was sealed two days ago.'”
The lawyer urged the court to issue an order nullifying the composition of the Coroner and the proceedings so far, as well as a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from “further proceeding, sitting, investigating, embarking on fact finding or taking any untoward action in any manner whatsoever on any facts connected to the case.”

YEYE DE SMELL : APGA defends adoption of Jonathan as its presidential candidate .... PremiumTimes

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Victor Umeh, said on Tuesday, defended the adoption of President Goodluck Jonathan, as its presidential candidate in the 2015 presidential election.
He said since there was no Igbo contesting for the president, it would be a waste of time aligning with the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Mr. Umeh spoke while delivering a lecture titled “Towards a successful 2015 election: The role of the opposition,” to mark the inauguration of the executive committee of the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, in Enugu.
APGA had in August said it would not field a presidential candidate in the coming presidential election, saying it would support the candidacy of Mr. Jonathan, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
“We have been lampooned and condemned because we are supporting President Jonathan – let me tell you quite frankly, until we lead our people on the right track we are wasting our time,” he said.
“Today there are no Igbos contesting for president in the APC, so why align with APC?”
The APGA national chairman also explained that in supporting Jonathan, the party had to look at the dynamics of politics in Nigeria with total reflection on the journey of the Igbos.
He stated further, “Jonathan has shown respect for the Igbos even if he has challenges running the affairs of the country, most of which are man-made. APGA has no apologies for supporting President Jonathan – what we offer is constructive criticism.”
Mr. Umeh said APGA was not an appendage of the PDP, insisting that it “is a distinct political party which cannot be an appendage of another political party.”
He noted, however, that though it was not in power at the federal level, it does not mean that the party must oppose the government at the centre.
“The term opposition is misleading – in Nigeria we assume that once you are not in government you must be opposing government,” the chairman said.
“You must not oppose government all the time if you are not in government. In developed countries (opposition parties) means those who are not in government but are interested in government.”
Mr. Umeh accused the APC of engaging in “blind opposition.”
He added, “There are those who believe that not being in government but being objectively critical will help the government to serve the people better, and there are those who believe that in not being part of government, anything the government does is bad.”

IN THIS GAME OF NUMBERS : Despite own majority, PDP admits it can’t force Tambuwal out; counts on court ... PremiumTimes

Aminu Waziri Tambuwal 8
Its majority status in the House of Representatives far from overwhelming after a series of defections, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, acknowledged Tuesday it may lack a required two-third support to force out the speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, who decamped from the party Tuesday.
Mr. Tambuwal dumped the ruling party for the opposition All Progressives Congress, citing factionalization within the party in his home state, Sokoto.
In its response, the PDP national leadership said the “honourable and responsible” action for the speaker would be to resign from his position.
The party did not state its reaction if the speaker refuses to voluntarily quit.
But amid concerns over a possible impeachment of Mr. Tambuwal, the PDP leadership in the House said while the party remains in control of the lower house of parliament, the idea of unseating Mr. Tambuwal may not be as simple.
An impeachment of the speaker would require 240 out of the 360 members to agree on the move.
Currently, the PDP leads with 189, while the APC has 159 members. Smaller opposition parties cover the remaining slots.
Any impeachment move would mean the PDP must reach out to the APC for support, were to able convince all its members and those of the smaller parties, many who are Mr. Tambuwal’s allies.
“I think we need to be mindful of the constitution,” said deputy Majority Leader, Leo Ogor, on impeachment concerns. “According to the constitution, you would need a two-third majority to remove a sitting Speaker. Do we have two-third? That is another matter we need to ponder over.”
He said the party would instead await a pending decision by a federal court on previous defections by lawmakers from the PDP to APC.
“We await the ruling of the court on the matter. And I think this is one great opportunity for us to call on the Judiciary — they are also an arm of government — that justice delayed is justice denied. And if this subjected matter is before them, it behoves on them to make the necessary interpretations so that we can lay this issue to rest in respect of defection,” Mr. Ogor said.
He added: “It is extremely important. But for us as members of the PDP, we believe that we will continue carrying on the responsibilities of our party.”
Mr. Tambuwal defected formally at Tuesday’s plenary, ending months of speculation and denials, and becoming Nigeria’s first speaker from an opposition party.
A three-term member of the House, Mr. Tambuwal had long been alienated from the ruling party, PDP, repeatedly missing party functions and publicly criticising officials of the party on whose platform he rose to power.
Speculations he will dump the PDP reached its zenith more than a week back when the speaker attended an APC meeting in his home state, Sokoto, and publicly acknowledged doing so.
Mr. Tambuwal said he took the decision on the invitation of the state governor, Aliyu Wammako, after he was snubbed by a visiting PDP delegation to the state, led by Tony Anenih, the Board of Trustees chairman.
Despite associating with the APC for months, Mr. Tambuwal had consistently denied moving to join the APC. Those denials are believed to have been informed by his concerns over his position as speaker.
On Tuesday, when the speaker finally decided to quit PDP, it was dramatic.
With widespread news reports of his likely defection, Mr. Tambuwal maintained a calm presence at the House, giving no indication the decision was irreversible this time.
Unlike other defections usually announced before the take-off of the days’ business in the House, the speaker delayed his announcement until the last minute of deliberations, as the house moved to adjourn.
“Before I hit the gavel on the motion for adjournment, I want to make this formal announcement to this House,” he began. “Based on the provision of the 1999 Constitution, and having regards to the development of PDP in my own state, Sokoto State, I hereby announce my membership with the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Let me register my profound appreciation to all of you my colleagues for the unflinching support you have continued to extend to me for the overall national interest and development of our democracy. May almighty God continue to guide us all,” Mr. Tambuwal said.
The House adjourned to December 3, a decision some lawmakers interpreted as an attempt to neutralise any attempt by the ruling party, PDP, to move against him.
The APC caucus in the house, which welcomed the defection, said the adjournment was to allow members attend to pressing political needs and well as state needs like preparations for the 2015 budget, expected there shortly.
“We welcome and applaud the Speaker’s decision. Ever since the crisis started in PDP which led to the formation of the ‘New PDP’, and the defection of five PDP Governors, 37 PDP members of the House of Representatives to the APC, and the formal merger of the ‘New PDP’ with the APC, we had all along known that this day will come,” the party said in a statement by House Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila.
“We are proud to acknowledge that the Speaker remains not only a member of the House of Representatives but also its Speaker. This position is consistent with the law and practice in a Presidential System of Government.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Constitution requires only that ‘Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be elected by members of that house from among themselves’. Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has been a Speaker for all the members, all the political parties and for all Nigerians and will so continue.
With concerns about Mr. Tambuwal retaining his position, the APC acknowledged that more than ever before there is need for vigilance and focus on the concerns of the Nigerian people who elected all of us.
The deputy PDP leader, Mr. Ogor, said the PDP will also watch further, and definitely will see what happens.
“Let’s look and see how he manages the House. We will watch him with eagle eyes and interpret every action that he takes”.
Separately, the House Leader, Mulikat Adeola-Akande, said the party will take a decision on Mr. Tambuwal’s defection at an “appropriate time”.