By Wale Adedayo
There is a disturbing development in the lower chamber of our National Assembly, which may not augur well for this young democracy. A few days back, the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) gained some members of the House of Representatives into its fold, turning the party into a majority in that hallowed chamber of the National Assembly.
With a development like that, it is on the same day, not the following day, that the leadership positions in the House of Representatives should have changed hands, except, of course, there is a formal approval by majority of the legislators that the status quo should remain. Till date, all the major positions in the House of Representatives give an impression that it is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that is still the majority among the legislators there.
More worrisome is the silence of the Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, who we believe should have stepped aside for a new hand to take his place from among members of the new majority party. Interestingly enough, the PDP leadership, based in Wadata Plaza, has urged Tambuwal to sack the 37 legislators, who defected to APC, ostensibly to save the ruling party from the embarrassment of losing its control of the lower chamber of the National Assembly. It is a comical situation.
Since 1999, when the current Fourth Republic began, some elected National Assembly members of the opposition Alliance for Democracy (AD) and All Peoples Party (APP) have joined the ruling PDP. AD lost a Senator from Enugu State to the PDP in this manner in 1999. The party also lost another Senator from Bayelsa State to the same PDP. In Adamawa, Taraba and Kaduna states, AD legislators joined the PDP without calls for sanction from anywhere. ANPP suffered in a similar manner.
With its recent 174 majority members in the House of Representatives, the APC should get its act together and do the needful concerning a purposeful change of leadership in that chamber. Although speculations have been rife since last year about a possible romance between Tambuwal and opposition leaders. This makes it possible for Tambuwal to be a closet APC member, as it was even with the massive support of their members he became Speaker instead of a South-West candidate, which the PDP had proposed.
Thus, if Tambuwal is an APC member under the table, he may not have problems retaining his position with the new development. But honour and the place of the National Assembly in our polity demands that he makes his position known publicly today. It does no good, in terms of credibility, for the House of Representatives to have a Speaker wearing the hats of two political parties. Tambuwal should either retain his PDP membership or declare his love for the APC.
With Boko Haram sacking our military barracks, the economy going back to sleep, unemployment soaring, again, hope of a better tomorrow taking its leave from the hearts of Nigerians and Nigeria being treated with disdain by others outside our shores, there is an urgent need for the National Assembly to intervene decisively in a manner that’ll confirm to nay-sayers that this democracy is on course. And this can only happen when the National Assembly is seen to be credible with honourable men and women running its affairs.
There is no credibility in an institution where the minority controls the majority in a democracy. There is no credibility where a democratically elected person in a leadership position has a double face. Honour is absent when a leader is hypocritical enough to become hot and cold. Tambuwal needs to do the needful in the House of Reprsentatives. Nigeria does not have the luxury of time.