By Femi Kehinde
I received the news of the defection of Rt. Hon AminuTambuwal from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to the All Progressive Congress (APC), with stoic and philosophical calmness.Apart from being a sour taste in the mouth; it is also laden with legal and political miscalculations and labyrinths.
As at today, going by the clear wordings of Section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, and the ruling of the Court , that a member that defects from its Party, when there is no division (SHALL) vacate his seat.
The word “SHALL”, is not only a mandatory word, but also very sacrosanct. There is a subsisting Court Ruling, that there is no division in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and AminuTambuwal in the eyes of the Law, would naturally vacate his seat as a member of the House of Representatives and by concomitant effects, as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Politics and Law are like Siamese Twins, and the law has always been found as its mitigating brother.
In the First Republic, the clear wordings of Section 33(1) of the Western Region of Nigerian Constitution was that the Governor “shall” remove the Premier (when it appears to him) that the Premier no longer commands the support of majority members of the Regional House of Assembly.
The Governor, Sir AdesojiTadeniawoAderemi, the Ooni of Ife, removed the Premier, when it appeared to him, that the Premier’s support in the Parliament had waned.
The Action Group, following the removal, appointed AlhajiDaudaSoroyeAdegbenro, as its new Premier. The removal of Chief S.L Akintola, precipitated major crisis against his Government and removal on the 25th May 1962, and he forcibly opened the Premier’s Office to illegally continue in office as Governor of Western Region.
This simple act of belligerence and audacity, led the then Prime Minister- AlhajiTafawaBalewa to suspend the Parliament of the Western Region, and appoints Dr.OlukoyeMajekodunmi, as Administrator of the Western Region, on the 22nd of May 1962, and he instructed the Nigerian Police to restore peace and normalcy.
It is instructive to note, that a popular stubborn lemon grass has since been known as “Akintola ta ku”.
The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, has numerous powers under the law to forestall the breakdown of law and order in the House of Representatives, and any part of Nigeria, through the Inspector General of Police, by giving operational meaning to Section 68(1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, by removing Rt. Hon AlhajiAminuTambuwal from the House of Representatives, and also as Speaker of the House of Representatives, by withdrawing all the perquisites of office that is attached to that responsibilities, which of course includes Police escorts and Securities.
In retrospect, during my time as a Member of the House of Representatives between 1999- 2003 and as brilliant, audacious and belligerent,the Rt. Hon. AlhajiGali Umar Na’abba, Speaker of the House of Representatives then was, he did not cross the borderline of dumping the Party that gave him the privilege of becoming the no 4 citizen of Nigeria, but remained vocal and loyal to its Party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) despite very obvious misgivings.
AlhajiGhaliNa’abba unlike many of us, perhaps as aclairvoyant, saw the emerging tyranny and dictatorship, in the then Executive Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It is a principle of logic and common sense, that you cannot aprobate and reprobate at the same time and better expressed in a simple parlance, “you cannot eat your cake and have it”.
The Federal Government would be acting within the dictates of law, morality and commonsense and decency, by removing, the Rt. Hon AminuTambuwal from the Nigerian Parliament through the instrumentality of the law i.e. section 68(1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which states that a member who leaves his party when there is no division or merger shall vacate his seat.
The word “shall” has enjoyed so many legal interpretations as a sacrosanct and mandatory word, through the wordings of the great Lord Denning MR in the 1961 Privy Council case of BENJAMIN LEONARD MACFOY VS. UAC LTD 1961 3 AER 1169 Pc and the 1980 Supreme Court decision in SKENCONSULT NIG LTD vs. GODWIN SEKONDU UKEY SC 50/1980.
Whilst William Shakespeare, described ingratitude as-“monstrous”, and James Thomson describes it as-“ treason to mankind, Immanuel Kant described it as-“the essence of vileness” and Titus MaccusPlatus says “you love a nothing when you love an ingrate” which is better encapsulated in the Latin maxim nihilamas um ingratumamas
Julius Caesar in William Shakespeare embellished it further when he said-“ingratitude thrives fast at first, but fades in time”
The Rt. Hon. AminuTambuwal has in the last few years demonstrated an unkind and unjust act of ingratitude, to the Political Party, that took him to the Parliament as an Honorable Member and on the platform through which he became the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the number 4 citizen of Nigeria. However, he should he be reminded, that he who is not grateful to his benefactor i.e. his Party (PDP) in this instance, would not be grateful to the rest of mankind from whom he has received no benefaction, whilst also wishing him success in this new voyage.
- Hon. Kehinde, Member, House of Representatives, representing Ayedire/Iwo/Ola-Oluwa Federal Constituency of Osun State (1999-2003), is Principal Partner Femi Kehinde& Co (Solicitors) Ibadan.