The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Tuesday said the purported impeachment notice served on the Governor of Benue State, Mr. Samuel Ortom, by eight members of the state House of Assembly “cannot pass the smell test under the constitution”.
Nevertheless, he expressed disappointment that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House Caucus would link President Muhammadu Buhari to the impeachment saga.
At a press briefing on Monday, the House Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Chukwuka Onyema, alongside other members of the caucus, warned that it would frustrate ongoing efforts by the executive to reconvene the lower chamber with a view to considering some urgent budget matters including the passage of virement among others if the federal government does not stop its show of impunity in the unfolding developments in Benue.
The National Assembly is currently on its long recess and is expected to resume on September 26.
However, Gbajabiamila, in a statement he issued Tuesday, said he found it “strange and hyperbolic that the PDP caucus in the House in a knee jerk reaction will try to tie the president to same”.
He said: “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.”
Gbajabiamila said:”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.”