From Ejike Chinedu, Lagos
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, has joined the race to become the President. He is seeking the candidacy of his party, the All Progressives Congress, which he officially joined two weeks ago.
Media aides of the Speaker, said “friends and associates” of Mister Tambuwal bought the presidential nomination form of the party. It was reported that APC members in the House of Representatives offered to pay for the form for him when earlier in the week, the speaker indicated interest to run for the Presidency.
Speaker Tambuwal’s entrance into the race has further complicated the calculation of the likely flag bearer of the APC in the forth coming Presidential election. It was a contest between former military head of state, Mohammadu Buhari and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar before the governors of Kano and Imo state, Ibrahim Kwankwaso and Rochas Okorocha joined the race.
With Tambuwal’s presence, leaders of the party will begin to realign and restrategise.
But this may be the outcome of efforts by some younger leaders of the party to present a candidate that will be more acceptable to all parts of the country. HOMELAND NEWS reports that most of the APC governors led by Babatunde Fashola have been shopping for a new face in the presidential race in the country.
With the aspirants on parade in APC, the major challenge for Speaker Tambuwal is expected to come from Gen. Buhari who had contested to be President three consecutive times and lost all three. But his popularity among the grassroots in the northern part of the country is overwhelming. If the supporters of Aminu Tambuwal succeed in convincing the General to take a step back and support the speaker, then, the chances of APC making serious impact in the election would be brighter.
While this is going on, whether or not the speaker will return to lead the House of Representatives after December 3, is still a matter of conjecture. Though the a court in Abuja had ruled that the office of the Speaker should not be tampered with until the house reconvenes, PDP is still hurting for what they considered a slap on the face of the party.
It will be recalled that Aminu Tambuwal became speaker in June 2011, in violation of an internal arrangement of the PDP being in majority in the house. The party had zoned the speakership to the south west and had chosen Mulikat Adeola Akande to occupy the office. In a swift coup-like move, some influential members of the party in the house, supported by the A.C.N. installed Tambuwal as the speaker.
As it is at the moment, PDP cannot remove the speaker legally without the support of other parties. The constitution provides that the speaker can only be impeached with a vote by two third of members of the house. This is a condition neither the PDP nor the APC can meet. If he retains the office after December 3, it will be the first time in Nigeria, when there is no alliance between political parties, for a minority member to occupy the office of speaker in the house.