By Iheanacho Nwosu,
Abuja and Chinelo Ogbogo Ahead of today’s resumption of the House of Representatives from the Christmas and New Year holidays, fresh plot to impeach the Speaker, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has filled the Chamber. Coordinated by a group, Transparency Network, the new move against the Speaker is over the allegation of fraud in the award of contract for the supply of 400 Toyota Camry 2012 model cars.
Some of the vehicles have already been delivered and distributed to members for committee assignments. The plot may have also been as a result of a rumour that the leadership of the House plans to shuffle chairmanship of standing committees. Similar moves against Tambuwal were foiled last year. Those who masterminded the plots claimed being starved of funds as a result of the House’s rift with the Presidency. The chamber later dissociated itself from the move and passed a vote of confidence on Tambuwal.
Similar vote of confidence was also passed on the Speaker after the Presidency was alleged to have moved against Tambuwal, following the Farouk Lawan bribery scandal that rocked the House. The Presidency later denied the claim that it plotted against the speaker. If the plan goes ahead, it would be a repeat of previous attempts where Speakers will be accused of siphoning funds meant for the lawmakers. Recall that a former member of the House, Dino Melaye, and his group of self-styled progressives, had accused the former Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, of corruption in the purchase of cars worth N2.3 billion in 2008 as well as buying special vehicles worth N335 million for the leadership of the lower chamber of the National Assembly.
In the current plot to remove the Speaker, Daily Sun gathered that members of the Transparency Network, led by a lawmaker from Borno State (names withheld), with the prompting of some personnel in the Presidency, have been holding meetings since last Thursday with the main objective of initiating impeachment process against Tambuwal upon the resumption of the House. A member of the House from Bauchi State, who did not want to be named, and who was part of the meeting held at a five-star hotel in Abuja last weekend, told our reporters that already, a committee had been set up by the aggrieved members to fine-tune strategies ahead of the resumption of the House today.
On why he is revealing what transpired in their meetings, some positions taken by those championing the new cause were unclear, a situation he said made, at least, seven of the lawmakers to question the motive. He also claimed that it was discovered that the leadership of the group was doing the bidding of some unnamed interests. He said: “We have since realised that the ultimate aim was to destabilise the leadership of the House for some sinister motives.” However, when contacted, a principal officer of the House, who did not want his name mentioned, exonerated the Speaker from the allegation, claiming that the leadership had no business with the purchase of cars. He said: “If you recall last year, we passed a resolution, distancing ourselves from all contracts in the House.
We reaffirmed that only the management of the National Assembly is empowered by law to issue contracts and since then, we have had nothing to do with such issues. To us, this is no issue at all. The issue of cars is not new to us, you know it was the bone of contention during the sixth Assembly where the former Speaker Dimeji Bankole, had issue with the purchase of Peugeot cars for the members. With that experience in mind, we have decided we won’t go there at all.”