President Jonathan withdraws Mark, Tambuwal Int’l passports


Mark-Tambuwal1PDP Crisis: NASS principal officers, members’ diplomatic passports withdrawn

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The Federal Government on Saturday ordered the withdrawal of all diplomatic passports of National Assembly (NASS) members, including that of Senate President David Mark and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal.

We can confirm that the relevant Federal Government offices responsible for implementing the directive are already in the know.

No reason was given for the action, but sources said it was not unconnected with the level of opposition the Presidency is currently facing among the National Assembly members which got to feverish peak last week.

The implication of the Federal Government’s action is that all 109 senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives would no longer enjoy the special travel privileges the blue-coloured passport confers on its holder when they travel abroad.

The withdrawal of the diplomatic passports of the senators and members of the House of Representatives is coming barely 24 hours after the Presidency sacked Senator Joy Emordi as its Special Adviser on National Assembly matters.

Sources in a position to know the power play in Aso Rock told Sunday Independent that even though it was the crisis in the ruling party that necessitated the action, members of the opposition party in the Assembly are also being affected.

With the loss of their diplomatic passports, the NASS members no longer have immunity against arrest any time they travel abroad, a script, we gathered last night from our sources, was the motive for the action.

Also, the real reason for Emordi’s sack, Sunday Independent was told by unimpeachable source, is her bluntness to President Goodluck Jonathan in last Thursday’s meeting with the Presidency.

Emordi was called to explain the turn of event in the National Assembly where the opposition against the President appears to be swelling and how to stem the tide by effecting a change of leadership in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

The Presidency, it was gathered, reasoned that both Senate President, Mark and House of Representatives Speaker, Tambuwal were tacitly siding with the Abubakar Kawu Baraje faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and that it was urgent to shop for their replacement.

At the Thursday’s meeting in the Villa, our source said Emordi was taken to task on the happenings in the NASS, particularly the leadership as well as her view on the alleged disbursement of cash to NASS members through a Presidency’s point man, Bethel Amadi, a member of the House of Representatives from Imo State at the popular Bolingo Hotel, Abuja.

But Emordi, at the meeting, pointedly told the President that the idea of using cash to buy the support of members of NASS was wrong approach, because events of the past in the NASS had shown that it was capable of having a negative effect.

Our source said she told the Presidency that she had been in the Senate and understands how members think. In fact, she reportedly told the President that the idea was dumb, our source said.

After the meeting, the source said Presidency concluded that Emordi was sympathetic to the NASS leadership whose rank it has been finding it difficult to break. Mark, it was also gathered, had out of concern for Emordi before her sack, wondered why she was sticking out her neck that much for the lawmakers.

But less than 24 hours, Emordi’s sack was announced by Special Adviser to President Jonathan on media, Reuben Abati. No reason was given for her sack.

It also emerged that as its game plan to effect a change of leadership in both House of Representatives and Senate or make them shift ground, the Presidency has started enlisting the support of political opponents of key leaders of the NASS.

One of such recruits is Lawrence Onoja, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) senatorial candidate for Benue South in the 2011 election. Onoja contested against Mark. He is now leading a group from the Middle-Belt region which is canvassing support for Jonathan ahead of the 2015 election.

The thinking in Aso Rock is that if Mark does not play ball with the Presidency, Onoja, it was gathered, might be the next senator representing Benue South-Senatorial zone.

For the Deputy Speaker of the House, Emeka Ihedioha who wants to become governor of Imo State in 2015, it was also gathered that despite his closeness to the Presidency the latter is propping up Amadi, Ihedioha’s political rivalry, to put the Deputy Speaker under check.

Sunday Independent gathered last night that what is playing out in NASS currently, particularly the House of Representatives, is still a fall out of the grievance of the PDP top shots over the circumstances that threw up the Tambuwal/Ihedioha leadership.

Regardless, we can confirm that house principal officers have vowed to remain united even in the face of high-wire politicking going on in the PDP.

Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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