As controversy continues to trail the Infectious Disease Control Bill before the House of Representatives, the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila’s seat seems to be hanging in the balance as forces not comfortable with his recent style of leadership are said to be moving against him.
Nigerian Pilot reliably gathered that the recent face-off between the leadership of the House led by Gbajabiamila, the state governors and former Speaker of the House and now governor of Sokoto state, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal may cause Gbajabiamila his seat if not properly handled.
According to the source, the governors who are allegedly not happy with the way the House of Representatives responded to their advice that the Infectious Disease Control Bill be “stepped down” until proper consultations are made, are mobilising against the Speaker who is the lead sponsor of the Bill.
The source further disclosed that the governors at a recent meeting in Abuja had “secretly” agreed to push for the Speaker’s impeachment through their various representatives at the green chamber.
He said some of the governors openly accused the Speaker of being “arrogant” in his approach to “national issues” a development they said should be checked to maintain the cordial relationship between the Legislature and the Executive.
Speaking further, the source stated the governor of Sokoto state, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal’s loyalists who felt slighted that the governor was accused of misleading and misguiding other members of the Governors Forum are also “spoiling for war”.
He said some members of the House already have grudges against the Speaker over allegation of overbearing especially in handling the donation to the fight against the coronavirus also known as COVID-19.
It was also alleged that the Speaker has been making frantic efforts to get his political godfather to rally the governors to shelve their plans and create an avenue for dialogue.
It would be recalled that the governors operating under the aegis of Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF had recently urged the National Assembly to step down the proposed Infectious Disease Control Bill, 2020 introduced by the House of Representatives until an appropriate consultative process is held.
Chairman of the Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi who is also the Governor of Ekiti state had in Communiqué at the end of the Forum’s eight teleconference meeting added that the consultation must include a public hearing to gather public opinion and concerns on the proposed Bill.
However, responding to the advice by the Governor’s Forum, the House of Representatives said it does not legislate for the states and therefore should not be “cowed” from doing its Constitutional responsibility.
The spokesman of the House, Hon. Benjamin Kalu in a statement regretted that Hon. Aminu Tambuwal who is a former Speaker of the House stood a better position to rightly inform the Governors Forum but failed to do so.
Hon. Kalu went ahead to call for the disqualification of Tambuwal who is also the Governor of Sokoto state from a proposed consultative meeting with the Nigeria Governors Forum accusing him of being biased towards the Infectious Disease Control Bill insisting that Tambuwal misled and misguided the Forum into asking the House to step down the Bill.
“We assume that his position was informed by his well-known personal and partisan opposition to the emergence of the current leadership of House led by Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila considering his obvious stance in 2015 and 2019,” he stated.
He said that the House of Representatives would proceed with the legislative work on the controversial Infectious Disease Control Bill because according to him, the House of Representatives and National Assembly in general are not under the control of any state governor.
Also the House of Representatives has insisted on the consideration of the contentious Control of Infectious Diseases Bill explaining that it has not been stopped by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
In a statement yesterday, he House regretted that a section of the media had erroneously reported that the Federal High Court in its ruling on suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/463/2020 last week had stopped the further consideration of the bill.
The House spokesman explained that though the applicant, through a motion ex parts, had sought an order of the court suspending the consideration of the bill, the court declined to grant the reliefs sought by the applicant so as to allow the respondent to appear before it and enter a defence.
When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker, Mr. Lanre Lasisi asked for time to comment on the matter but never did at the time of going to press. Also the spokesperson of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Abdulrazaq Barkindo could not be reached.