By Sani Tukur
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, has denied attending a meeting of the five governors who recently defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The five governors met with the leadership of the APC on Monday night at the Kano State Governors lodge in Asokoro Abuja; and there were media reports that the speaker attended the meeting briefly.
Speaking through his spokesperson, Imam Imam, on Tuesday, Mr. Tambuwal said he went to the Kano Governors lodge to see the Governor of Sokoto state, Aliyu Wamakko.
Mr. Tambuwal is from Sokoto.
“The speaker went to see his governor who sought to see him and he went there before the meeting commenced and it did not commence before he left the lodge,” he said.
He said it was wrong to assume the speaker was at the Kano lodge to attend the meeting when it was clear he left before the meeting started.
Mr. Imam said there was nothing wrong for the speaker to go and see his governor anywhere, just as he could go anywhere to see the President if requested to do so.
Those who attended Monday’s meeting included two leaders of the APC: former Head of state and 2011 Presidential candidate of Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Muhammadu Buhari, and former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu. Others are Governors Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti; Babatunde Fashola of Lagos; Bola Ajimobi of Oyo, Musa Kwakwanso of Kano; Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers; Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun; Murtala Nyako of Adamawa and Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto.
Tambuwal not resigning
Mr. Imam also clarified recent reports that Mr. Tambuwal is facing pressure from members to resign because of the expected mass defection of lawmakers from the PDP to the APC following the defection of five governors last week.
“There is no iota of truth at all on these insinuations; he has never considered resignation and it has never been discussed,” Mr. Imam said.
He said Mr. Tambuwal was elected to serve a mandate and he is focussed on that mandate.
Reports also suggested that Mr. Tambuwal may be forced to resign because of his insistence of $79 oil benchmark for 2014 budget projections.
However, the House of Reps on Monday held a closed door session where it was agreed that the House would accept whatever decision the Harmonisation committee set up by the House agreed upon.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the harmonisation committee’s position followed an intense debate at the closed session; and that contrary to public perception, Mr. Tambuwal advocated for a $76.5 benchmark, while most lawmakers insisted on $79.