Friday, 31 January 2014

Reps reject bid to simplify impeachment of President

Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal
Members of the House of Representatives on Thursday rejected a proposal to simplify the process of removing the President and Vice-President from office.

The proposal was contained in a bill seeking to amend Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution by deleting it and replacing with an entirely new section 143.
The bill, which was sponsored by a lawmaker from Bauchi State, Yakubu Dogara, sought to remove the “ambiguity” in the procedure for impeaching the two highest political office holders with a notice of impeachment initiated by the House of Representatives and terminating in the Senate.

However, the amendment proposal failed to secure the mandatory two-third majority support as members voted on it and 18 other proposed amendment clauses on Thursday.
Out of the 297 lawmakers, who registered to vote on the amendment, 172, supported it, 122 opposed it, while three abstained.

The Speaker, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, who presided over the session, therefore, ruled that the amendment had “failed.”

The 18 other new clauses introduced by the AdHoc Committee on Constitution Review headed by the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, were passed by members.

However, it was a session nearly marred by alleged cheating by the Majority Leader, Mrs. Mulikat Akande-Adeola, who was accused of voting for Ihehioha on some clauses.

The majority leader and Ihedioha share front row seats and normally sit next to each other in the chamber.

Ahead of voting on Thursday, Ihedioha left his seat to join Tambuwal on the Chair for the consideration of the constitution review report.

As voting progressed, the Minority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, raised the alarm that he noticed Akande-Adeola punching the electronic voting device on behalf of Ihedioha so that he would be recorded as having voted.

He shouted, “Point of order,” to ask whether there was a provision in the House Rules that permitted voting by proxy.

Tambuwal responded in the negative, to which Gbajabiamila continued, “I saw the majority leader, who has been voting consistently for the deputy speaker.”

The speaker claimed not to have taken note, but told the minority leader that “I will begin to observe her now.”

Some members tried to protest further on the allegation, but Tambuwal controlled the situation by restoring order.

Akande-Adeola put up a defence, saying that she was surprised that the minority leader could raise such an allegation.

She accused Gbajabiamila of paying too much attention to her instead of concentrating on voting.
“Mr. Speaker, Femi has been all over me and this is becoming dangerous,” she complained.

Members reacted with a thunderous laughter and later made the matter looked like a joke.

Tambuwal too went comical by saying that he thought Gbajabiamila was only interested in taking over the seat of the majority leader.

Love in Tokyo, Mr Femi and Madam Akande, i will be watching both of you from now on.

A total of 301 members voted in support of this proposal with none abstaining.

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