The northern caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has resolved to set up a committee for a grand welcome reception for Aminu Tambuwal, speaker of the house of representatives, who recently defected to the party.
Tambuwal registered as an member of APC in his hometown on Monday, ending months of speculations on his defection plans from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
TheCable understands that one of the issues discussed at the APC caucus meeting in Kaduna last weekend was Tambuwal’s defection.
But this was not contained in the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting.
The meeting directed Inuwa Abdul-Kadir, B. D. Lawal and Zakari Idde, the zonal chairmen of north-west, north-east and north-central respectively, to ensure that members of PDP who defect to APC are given a befitting welcome and fully integrated, TheCable learnt.
They were also mandated to continue discussions with key PDP members who are receptive to joining APC.
An elder of the party told TheCable: “The issue came up. There were many arguments on the way forward for the speaker. Some said he should not announce his defection publicly, that he should just carry on with his life.
“However, some were of the opinion that the party would benefit tremendously from his defection as it will further show that the PDP is losing more of its top members.
“It was also suggested that he should write to the clerk of the national assembly to inform him officially and that would be enough.
“At the end, the decision was left to him, but it was resolved that there should be a grand welcome party to receive him into the APC.”
Tambuwal has been playing hide-and-seek since his defection, apparently to size up the PDP and its likely reaction.
Although he does not have to resign his position as speaker, the PDP is banking on a constitutional provision to make him lose his seat in the house of reps.
Section 68 (1) of the constitution says: “A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the House of which he is a member if (g) being a person whose election to the House was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can declare his seat vacant based on a request from PDP, who may argue that they no longer have a representative from the Kebbe/Tambuwal federal constituency.
Tambuwal may want to argue that the PDP is in crisis, as that is the only condition under which he can retain his seat after defection.
But following a precedent set by the defection of AD senators to PDP in 2002, only INEC is recognised by law to declare if a party is in crisis or not.
The speaker is expected to come out finally before the end of the week to make his declaration public because some other factors may now count against him.
Since he is said to be interested in the governorship of Sokoto state, the deadline for the submission of APC’s nomination form is November 9, 2014 ─ a little over two weeks.
Governorship primaries will hold on November 15.
If he decides to collect the presidential nomination form, the deadline is November 6, while the primary will hold on December 2.
He also needs to get a waiver to be able to seek an elective position as a new member of APC, although that is not expected to be a big hurdle for him.
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