- Category: Politics
- Published on Thursday, 28 July 2011 04:51
- Written by Admin
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Former Presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, and former Petroleum Minister, Professor Tam David-West, yesterday joined members of the House of Representatives in dismissing with a wave of the hand, the call by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the Speaker of the house, Aminu Tambuwal and his Deputy, Emeka Ihedioha to resign from office after two years to allow for the rectification of the zoning policy of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
It smacks of mischief—Reps
Speaking with Vanguard in Abuja yesterday, a cross section of members said president Obasanjo’s call smacks of mischief and should not be taken seriously.
Leading the reaction of the House on behalf of the leadership, the minority leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila described former President Obasanjo as a huge joke on the political arena.
He questioned the moral piety of the former President to make such a request after his botched attempt to elongate his tenure through constitutional amendment in 2006.
Speaking with Vanguard from London, Gbajabiamila pointed out categorically that both the Speaker and the Deputy have not violated any law by being elected at the floor of the House.
He said: “My response is that he (Obasanjo) is full of jokes. Did he resign when he attempted to violate Nigeria’s and not PDP’s constitution during the now famous tenure elongation crisis?
“Tambuwal and Ihedioha did not violate anything. They only followed provisions of the Nigerian constitution. Maybe all the legislators and not Tambuwal and Ihedioha alone should resign as all 250 members that voted for them (at least the PDP ones) are just as guilty and there can be no discrimination under our constitution.”
Speaking in the same vein, a staunch supporter of Tambuwal’s Speakership in the House, Lanre Odubote of Epe Federal Constituency pointed out that Obasanjo’s warning that PDP would die without zoning was belated.
According to Odubote, the party died a long time ago when it could not manage the zoning of the Presidential ticket.
Emmanuel Jime (PDP Benue) in his reaction said ‘there is no sense in the call by the former president because the election of the speaker and the deputy speaker was based on their competence and not the fact of zoning.
“There is no sense in that. We in the House of Representatives voted Tambuwal and Emeka Ihedioha because they made themselves available and we felt that they were the best at that time. We were not necessarily guided by zoning. By the constitution and our house rule, any body that is voted into office is guided by tenure. Why would he suggest that they should step down after two years? Were they voted to serve for two years? Have they done something wrong? He is being clever by half, by calling for their resignation” he said.
In his reaction, Eseme Eyiboh said: ‘If he actually made the call, then it was his private opinion. The speaker and the deputy speaker were not products of ethnic or human empire. They are products of constitutional democracy. It is the responsibility of the House of Representatives to elect its presiding officers and they presented themselves and we voted for them. Any other consideration other than the constitution can weaken the foundation laid by the constitution for their election.”
Adams Jagaba (PDP Kaduna) in his reaction said the former president’s remark was to seek relevance after leaving office and misruling Nigeria for eight years.
He is no longer relevant
“As far as I am concerned, he no longer has any relevance. In order to appease Nigerians for his eight years of misrule, he should rather remain quiet. He is no longer the president and cannot pretend to be one. He should go closer to God in order to seek forgiveness for his eight years of misrule.”.
In his reaction, Victor Ogene (APGA Anambra) said Aminu Tambuwal and Emeka Ihedioha are not speaker and deputy speaker of the Peoples Democratic Party, but are presiding officers of the House of Representatives whose members are constitutionally empowered to elect their officers.
“Former president Obasanjo was the architect and annihilator of rotation and zoning in Nigeria. The House of Representatives is constitutionally constituted and if you take a look at the 1999 constitution, Section 50 succinctly spells out how a Speaker should emerge. Aminu Tambuwal is not PDP’s Speaker but the Speaker of the House of Representatives. With due respect, Obasanjo is not a member of the House of Representatives to be interested or to influence the dissolution of the House.
Presidential Candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), who spoke through his media aide, Mr Yinka Odumakin said “when he was running for a second term in office, the former president, did say that the zoning principle in his party no longer exists, that goes a long way to tell you the kind of person he is. He should be careful with the kind of statements that he makes because this could lead to anarchy. For him demanding that the Speaker of the House of Reps resigns his position, he should not be taken seriously, but at the same time, he should be mindful of what he says in order not to create crisis in the country.”
Also, constitutional lawyer, Professor Itse Sagay (SAN) said the former president, under the law, was entitled to his own opinion.
Sagay said “you know each citizen has a democratic right to call on somebody to resign. He is entitled to freedom of speech and freedom to express his opinion but that does not mean that the Speaker is bound to resign. He (Obasanjo) definitely has a right. The fact that he was a former president does not make any difference; he has a right to his own opinion, but he has to be more careful about what he says. You know Obasanjo is a man who does not really care about the statement that he makes.”
On his part, a former Minister of Petroleum, Professor Tam David-West berated Obasanjo for making such demand saying, he (Obasanjo) should “shut up.”
David-West, who expressed his displeasure, said “look, Obasanjo should shut up if he has nothing to say because he has no locus standi to make such remarks. By the way, who is he that he should ask the Speaker to resign? When he was in office, did he not do worse things? He never respected the zoning formula; as far as I’m concerned, Obasanjo should shut up his mouth.”
Also commenting on the issue, former NADECO chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo said “it is a party affair and I am not a member of the PDP. We as Nigerians do not know where they are heading to. The PDP should not make their matter a national matter.
National leader of Pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, Pa Rueben Fasoranti said “I think the Speaker should be allowed to go for his four years. The former president has no right to ask him to resign.”
Obasanjo is selfish—Atiku
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in his reaction to Obasanjo’s call described it as an insult on the intelligence of Nigerians. Atiku recalled that Obasanjo was the biggest beneficiary of zoning and rotation of power, which made him to occupy office for eight years.
He was, however, surprised why Obasanjo made a u-turn on the sanctity of zoning in the run up to the PDP national convention last year when he told the nation that zoning does not exist, despite consistent court rulings maintaining that it did in the ruling party’s constitution.
“It is surprising that former President Obasanjo is now posturing as the apostle of zoning when indeed, he was the one who did everything to destroy that equitable means of power sharing among all sections of Nigerian,” Atiku said.
According to him, Obasanjo’s arbitrariness and despotism were largely responsible for the destruction of the noble objectives of zoning, saying rather than taking responsibility for ruining the party in the South-west, the former President is now deceiving Nigerians on the issue. (Vanguard)