•House rejects call for removal
•PDP: It’s constitutional
By Chuks Okocha, Adedayo Akinwale and Udora Orizu
As concerns continue to mount over the rising wave of insecurity, President Muhammadu Buhari will on Thursday address a joint session of the National Assembly on his efforts to address the security challenges across the country.
The president’s Personal Assistant on Social Media, Ms. Lauretta Onochie, disclosed this in a message she posted yesterday on her Twitter handle, @Laurestar.
The message read: “President @MBuhari will address a joint session of the National Assembly (@nassnigeria) on Thursday, December 10, 2020.”
The House of Representatives had last week Tuesday invited the president to appear on the floor of the parliament and explain the rising spate of insecurity in the country.
The decision was based on a motion of urgent national importance moved by the Borno State caucus on last weekend’s killing of farmers in the state.
The Senate had also in a separate resolution asked the president to sack his service chiefs.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, had last Wednesday said Buhari agreed to address Nigerians, through the federal lawmakers, on the security challenges confronting the nation.
House Rejects Call for President’s Removal
Meanwhile, the House yesterday distanced itself from a call by a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus, Hon. Kingsley Chinda, for the removal of President Muhammadu Buhari over the worsening insecurity in the country.
Chinda’s advocacy, however, divided PDP and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as both expressed divergent views on the issue.
While the opposition party defended the call, made on Sunday, describing it as constitutional and democratic, the ruling party labelled it as insensitive and callous.
Chinda, in a statement on Sunday, said Buhari had failed in his primary responsibility of protecting lives and property and called on Nigerians to compel their representatives to remove the president from office.
He also called on the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to declare Buhari incapacitated.
However, the spokesperson of the House, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, in a statement yesterday, described Chinda’s call as illogical and the opinion of a member of the opposition party in the House.
He labelled the call a distraction to members who were eagerly awaiting Buhari’s visit to the House.
He added that if the call had come after the president’s visit for the failure to dialogue well enough in proffering solutions to the insecurity or due to Buhari’s inability to implement their suggestions on making Nigeria safer, it would’ve appeared logical.
The House said: “This opinion of a single member of the opposition party in the house has been misinterpreted by journalists as the voice of the entire House of Representatives when it does not represent the weakest opinion of the minority caucus of the ninth House. Even among the minority caucus, Hon Kingsley Chinda lost the opportunity to speak for the entire minority when he lost the minority leadership election to Hon Ndudi Elumelu the minority leader of the ninth Assembly, a wound that has refused to heal.
“It is the structure of the minority caucus leadership and majority caucus leadership that is recognised by the House as any statement not emanating from these and the spokesperson of the House does not in any way reflect either the minority, majority or general position of the ninth House of Representatives and should be disregarded like his other divisive, distracting, destabilising and destructive positions.
“Just last week, the speaker warned the media to desist from ascribing to the House the opinion of a single member, since we have a spokesperson.
“The motive behind this press release as well as the timing leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of most progressives, who were instructed by their constituents to request for interaction with the president, a task many thought was not possible seeing that in the history of our modern democracy none of the past presidents obliged the parliamentary request for an interactive session and none of the past leaderships of the assembly was able to use parliamentary back-channel diplomacy, adopted and applied by the current leadership to secure the acceptance of Mr. President to this invitation; an outing that has strengthened our democratic principles.
“If this call came post president’s visit for the failure to dialogue well enough in securing solutions or due to his inability to put our positions to use, it would appear logical. This call is not only illogical, but it also appears as a tool strategically thrown up to disrupt the agenda of the coming visit with all it sets out to achieve in the spirit of nation-building, which remains the mantra of the ninth Assembly and is considered a joint task.
“In the view of the ninth Assembly, it would remain a call made wrongfully to distract the members whose minds are set on the visit and the expected achievements. It is surprising that Hon Kingsley Chinda was among those who insisted on the invitation of the president, probably expecting a gross disregard from the president who surprisingly broke the jinx and kindly obliged our request.
“Isn’t it obvious that apparently shocked by the acceptance of Mr. President, he is on a new lonely voyage of personal agenda strange to the legislative agenda of the house and leadership? Where was his constitutional impeachment voice when his previous presidents of PDP extractions were invited but ignored the House?”
The House assured Nigerians that having invited the president, they should be patient to wait for the outcome of the meeting before been misled.
APC: Chinda’s Call, Insensitive, Callous
The APC expressed similar sentiments with the House’s and described the call for the impeachment of Buhari as insensitive and callous.
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Yekini Nabena, in a statement yesterday, said the party learnt that Chinda did not even have the support of any of the PDP House factions he claims to head.
He added that Chinda is a lone and rejected voice.
He stated: “The APC has no intention of joining (sic) issues with a crass statement credited to Kingsley Chinda, a purported factional “leader” of the PDP Caucus in the House of Representatives in which he has resorted to denigrate the office and person of the president by name-calling and insults.
“Chinda’s insensitive and callous intention is to play politics with the grief of citizens in the aftermath of the recent, gruesome and condemnable killings of some defenceless farmers in Zabarmari, Borno State by Boko Haram. The APC will not join Chinda and his PDP backers on this evil and ignoble road.”
According to the party, the leadership of the National Assembly, the president and armed forces are on the same page in tackling emerging security situations in the country and ensuring the safety of all Nigerians.
PDP: It’s Constitutional
However, the PDP has said the call for the removal of Buhari is a direct reflection of the mood and desires of Nigerians, given his alleged failure, particularly in guaranteeing the security of the nation and rescuing the economy.
The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “As a party, the PDP has always called on our federal legislators in the House of Representatives and the Senate, irrespective of political affiliations, to stand on the side of the people by deploying the legislative instruments provided in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to rescue the ship of state.
“The Buhari administration has already accepted failure as reflected in the declaration by one of its officials that the nation is now at the mercy of bandits and terrorists, a development that signals that it has outlived its usefulness.
“President Buhari is elected by the people; his stay in office is also dependent on the people as vested on them by the constitution, through their elected representatives in the National Assembly.”
The PDP urged Nigerians to eschew all primordial sentiments and stand for the nation at this critical time.