23 September 2013

Nigeria: PDP Crisis - nPDP Gains Ground in NASS

Photo: Vanguard
PDP BoT race

Abuja — THE apparent decision of the Presidency to go hard on non-compliant members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the National Assembly appears to be favouring the factional new PDP.

It emerged, at the weekend, that the factionalisation of the PDP may have become formalized with the enrolment of the request letter from the National Chairman of the nPDP, Alhaji Kawu Baraje for a meeting with members in the votes and proceedings of the House.

The change towards a hard line stance was formalised last Friday with the removal of Senator Joy Emodi as the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters.

With the development, there were fears in some government circles at the weekend that plans to present the 2014 budget proposals to the National Assembly next month may be deferred until a conclusive solution is found to the PDP crisis.

There were concerns that the tilt could jeopardize the early presentation of the 2014 budget proposals and possibly lead to the loss of the party majority in the House of Representatives.

Sources in Abuja disclosed that under tentative plans, President Goodluck Jonathan was to present the 2014 budget plans in the second week of October.

That proposal it was learnt may no longer be guaranteed after members inclined to the Baraje faction put the Bamanga Tukur led- PDP on notice that the interests of the administration could no longer be guaranteed.

Listing of Baraje's letter

The road to the formal legal recognition of the Baraje faction of the PDP was paved with the listing of the letter from Baraje seeking audience with members in the Votes and Proceedings of the House.

The letter which was read on the floor of the House last Tuesday was enrolled in the Votes of the House and approved on Wednesday.

"If the letter was not read on the floor it could not have been listed in the Votes and Proceedings but since it was read, it is now recognized as a faction, " a source disclosed.

With the development, members of the nPDP who defect could cite the authority of the Votes and Proceedings of the House as the basis of their defection from the party.

The decision of the presidency to go hard on the legislators is raising concern among some loyalists of the president in the House. Sources in the House point at the House Leader Mrs Mulikat Akande-Adeola and her deputy Leo Ogor who despite their inclinations towards the president are cautious against the new hard line posture.

"Mulikat is fully in support of Tambuwal in this matter, have no doubt about that," a very authoritative source close to Speaker Aminu Tambuwal said yesterday.

It was learnt that the House Leader and other loyalists of the president were afraid that the Tukur faction of the PDP could turn into the minority party should the nPDP formally combine forces with the All Progressives Congress, APC on the floor.

"Mulikat would become minority leader if a fight breaks out on the floor and she knows that, but besides that, she is fully with us," the source who spoke on the basis of anonymity said.

In the same vein, Emodi's ouster is raising concern among PDP loyalists in the legislature.

Her departure it was learnt, was being welcomed by the hawks in the administration who saw her diplomatic engagements with the leadership in the two houses and the members as inauspicious and incompatible with the hard-line posture of extremists in both arms of government.

Mrs. Emodi's argument of the ineffectiveness of money, it was learnt, was backed by the development in the House of Representatives last Wednesday and Thursday when bills and motions from the camp of those supportive of the president were stepped down following the determination of most members to reject any proposal from the president or his supporters in the House.

The new reciprocity was against the culture under Emodi when members pushed through all the bills that came from the President.

Meanwhile, House spokesman, Rep. Zakari Mohammed, has differed from assertions of incompetence in the removal of Mrs. Emodi, describing her as a very experienced legislator who knew her job and the way of doing it.

"She is quite experienced and in the course of my own experience as a legislator she was one person I had a lot of respect for and of course, she would have added much more value to our democracy," Mohammed told Vanguard over the telephone.

A source concerned by the apparent determination of the presidency to incline itself towards the hawks said at the weekend:

"Contrary to the opinion of incompetence portrayed in some quarters many in the presidency forgot that the 2013 budget was almost buried especially in the House of Representatives but for the strident efforts of Emodi who made passionate efforts in appeasing the legislators making it the first time that a budget was passed before the commencement of the fiscal year since year 2000."

"She treated many of us especially in the House as a mother and for me any time I wanted to raise my voice on issues, the image of her pleas almost always had an effect on me," one of the most vocal members of the House told Vanguard at the weekend.

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