17 January 2013

Nigeria: Reps Pass Vote of Confidence On Tambuwal Amid Plots

THE House of Representatives, Wednesday, passed a vote of confidence on its Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal. The motion for the vote of confidence was moved by Bello Osagie, ACN-Edo State, following an earlier motion by Hon. Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi over media reports that there was an attempt to impeach Tambuwal.

The motion was passed despite allegations of N4. 8 billion scandal against the leadersip by some members. The House dismissed the alleged scandal said to be in connection with the purchase of 400 Toyota Camry cars for the 360 members last year.

There were reports by a section of the media, yesterday, alleging that there were plots to impeach the Speaker. Tambuwal, who expressed deep regrets that this was happening at a time members were working relentlessly to improve on the integrity of the House as an institution, however, urged his colleagues to ignore the publications, as well as see the allegations as challenges associated with representing their people.

Chairman of the House Committee on Works, Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi, had in his motion brought under "Matters of Privileges," drawn attention of members to publications in some national dailies, alleging plots to sack Tambuwal over purchase of 400 Camry cars, stating that it was a clear design to create disharmony since the decision to install anybody as Speaker of the House lies with the 360 members.

Ozomgbachi said that but for the possible erosion of the integrity and reputation of the House, there would have been no reason to react to the said publications, adding that he and other members were fully aware that the current leadership of the House under Tambuwal had distanced itself from all procurement processes.

Following his submissions, Mr Bello Osagie who described the publications as "the most profound evidence of distraction" plan for the House, subsequently moved a motion for a vote of confidence on Tambuwal and the entire leadership as "a way of putting an end to any further debate" on the matter.

His motion was seconded by Chairman of the Committee on Aviation, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha. But before Tambuwal put the question for voice votes on the motion which was fully supported, he remarked that he "felt terribly bad"when he read the publications, pointing out that he had never seen any of his colleagues showing interest in any of the issues raised in the publications, especially when no names were mentioned in the stories.

While urging members to ignore the publications, Tambuwal said they should rather "continue to be in the vanguard for the promotion of those things that have helped in keeping Nigeria as one united country. He stressed that the House as an institution would continue to work for the welfare of Nigerians.

The reports had indicated that the plot was hatched by a certain member of the House from Borno State who had accused the leadership of the House of fraud over the purchase of 400 Toyota Camry saloon cars.

However, investigations by Vanguard revealed that the plot could not have attracted support from many members as Tambuwal remained popular in the House.

It was gathered that though few members of the House had expressed reservations about disbursement of funds from in the House, they eventually calmed down after the leadership rendered account of its stewardship to them before they proceeded on the yuletide recess.

Living standards

Earlier during the plenary session, Tambuwal had in his welcome address re-stated the commitment of the House to uplift the living standard of Nigerians.

His words: "We are convinced now more than ever before, that a situation where majority of the citizens continue to live in abject poverty while an insignificant minority corner the commonwealth is not only unjust but unacceptable. In this regard we shall continue to adopt a pragmatic and functional approach to ensure that the war against corruption is removed from the realm of rhetorics by exercising absolute diligence in our oversight function so as to enhance transparency and accountability in both high and low strata of the society"

He further stated that in the consideration of the 2013 Appropriation Act "we took due cognizance of the job creation element encapsulated therein and reinforced it in deserving cases. It is our conviction that rather than continue to lament over our mono- product economy, we must take concrete steps to stimulate the private sector which is better placed to create jobs more rapidly. We can further do this by way of a revolutionary approach to agriculture as well as massive attack on our infrastructure deficit, especially power, transportation and vocational development."

Commenting on the new attitude in the National Assembly he said: "Let me note in passing that the budget for the National Assembly, which encompasses the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Management of the National Assembly, the National Assembly Institute and the National Assembly Service Commission, has never been increased in the last few years. We have, in this way, striven to lead by example in the efforts to curb costs despite the fact that the National Assembly has been growing and evolving into an even more dynamic legislative body."

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