The All Progressives Congress (APC) Caucus in the House of Representatives has declared that it has the required majority to pass the N242 billion Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) supplementary budgets without their Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterparts. The PDP Caucus had, on Monday, threatened to frustrate the reconvening of the National Assembly to consider the INEC supplementary budget should President Muhammadu Buhari fail to stop the plot to impeach Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State.
But leader of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, in a statement released yesterday in Abuja, carpeted the PDP representatives, insisting that the President has nothing to do with what happened in Benue State and urged them to push for the reopening of the House to investigate the role of the police.
Gbajabiamila said: “We believe it is precipitous and not a proper understanding of the law and legislative procedure to say the PDP would stop the reconvening of the House and passage of the virement with their numbers as this requires only a simple majority. Something the APC has in abundance in the House.”
According to him, “It is more befuddling that there seems to be more misunderstanding of the required number to form a quorum. A quorum is one-third of members; a number our party has in abundance. “Finally as legislators, we believe in the constitutionally enshrined separation of powers and as such rather than look to the President, the PDP caucus should challenge the matter in court.
“We are sure it will be a slam dunk based on the prima facie facts before us. They will be surprised that some members of our caucus may join them in this legal pursuit in the sustenance of democracy. That is assuming as members of the House of Representative, we have locus standi, which we believe we do. The partisan route is not the way to go.”
Speaking on the impeachment plot by the Benue State House of Assembly against Ortom, Gbajabiamila said: “Whilst we agree that the purported impeachment of the Benue State Speaker by eight members cannot pass the smell test under the constitution, we find it strange and hyperbolic that the PDP caucus in the House in a knee jerk reaction will try to tie the President to same.
“In tandem with our party, PDP has been screaming restructuring and federalism to high heavens and one wonders why the same party will now blame the activities of an independent state assembly on Mr. President. “As for the police, the matter is serious enough and one would expect the PDP members to immediately push for the reconvening of the House so as to probe the exact role played by the police. In legislative work, there are procedures to be followed.”
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