Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has described as highly unnecessary, the threat by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House Caucus to thwart President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for the approval of the supplementary budget.
Gbajabiamila in a personally signed statement said members elected under the ruling All Progressives Congress had the numbers to ensure any request from the President is approved.
The lawmaker described the position taken by the PDP Caucus, as a display a poor understanding of the law and legislative procedure.
Gbajabiamila who wondered why PDP lawmakers would accuse President Muhammadu Buhari of being behind the plot to impeach Governor Samuel Ortom, urged the main opposition to match their words with action by calling for the House to reconvene, in order to raise a panel to investigate the role played by the police in the crisis rocking the Benue State House of Assembly.
The statement read in part: “we agree that the purported impeachment of the Benue State Speaker by 8 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”.
“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. It is more befuddling that there seems to be more misunderstanding of the required number to form a quorum. A quorum is 1/3rd of members again 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 Representatives we have locus standi. Which we believe we do. The partisan route is not the way to go”, Gbajabiamila further stated.
The PDP Caucus in the House had threatened to scuttle the consideration of a supplementary budget due for presentation before the House.
Deputy Minority Leader, Rep. Chukwuka Onyema, said on Monday, that the Caucus will use its members to prevent the House from forming the constitutionally required quorum, to consider the current request and the supplementary budget, if the impeachment notice against the governor of Benue State Samuel Ortom by eight members of the State House of Assembly, who were hitherto suspended for six months was not withdrawn.