Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
A former member of the House of Representatives from Ebonyi State, Chief Linus Abaa Okorie, has condemned what he described as an unwarranted attack on the person of the former Speaker of the House and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, by the leadership of the House of Representatives.
The House had last week in a statement issued by its spokesman, Mr Benjamin Kalu, singled out the former Speaker, accusing the Sokoto Governor of using his position as the Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum(NGF) to rally the governors to oppose the Infectious Diseases Bill 2020 which is already at the committee level in the House.
The NGF had in a communiqué after its virtual meeting urged the House to step down the bill for lack of proper consultations with relevant stakeholders, among other reasons.
The governors added that they took the decision following an ‘update’ from Governor Tambuwal.
Reacting to the communiqué, Mr Kalu said Governor Tambuwal advised the governors to oppose the bill out of sheer political vendetta against the current leadership of the House, having opposed the emergence of Femi Gbajabiamila as Speaker of the House both in 2015 and in 2019.
The House accused Governor Tambuwal of bias and urged the NGF to remove him from its panel that would interface with the lawmakers on the bill.
But Chief Okorie who represented Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo Federal Constituency of Ebonyi State between 2011-2019, in a statement in Abakaliki on Tuesday, said the critical comments against the former Speaker was not only unfortunate but also impugned on the integrity of the Green Chamber.
He called on the leadership of the House not to allow political differences to becloud their sense of patriotism and respect to the corporate image and integrity of the House.
‘As a former Member of the House of Representatives, I’m in deep shock reading the above comments from the House against its former Speaker, whose tenure was very remarkable for bringing honour and dignity to the hallowed chamber,’ Chief Okorie said in his statement.
‘It is a bad statement that could haunt the present House leadership beyond the immediate gains of power and attention. Resorting to personal attacks based on insinuation against a former Speaker is inelegant, but labelling his providing guidance to governors as the result of his opposition to the emergence of the present House leadership is politics taken too far.
‘It should be noted that the NGF has a majority of APC governors who all supported the emergence of the present House leadership and it is curious and surprising that the advice from the former Speaker would be accepted by them if it was shallow and partisan as is now being alleged.
‘As a stakeholder in the National Assembly, I condemn any act that would deprecate the integrity of the House. At the same time, I believe that going personal attacks against a former Speaker in the manner herein done and for reasons hereto stated has the same or even more deprecating effect.
‘Let us please rise above personal ego, hidden pains, vengeful pangs and crude partisanship to protect the sanctity and integrity of the legislature, while holding Nigeria first,’ he stated.