There was disagreement among members of the House of Representatives as the Peoples Democratic Party members have decided to disagree the proposed plan by an ad-hoc committee to invite former President Goodluck Jonathan for interrogation with his connection with the controversial sale of Oil Prospecting Licence 245, better known as the Malabu oil deal.
Some of the lawmakers in the Ahmed Makarfi faction vehemently opposed the idea, while others in the Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the party, said Jonathan could be summoned over the alleged $1.3bn deal.
The committee, which is chaired by a member of the All Progressives Congress from Kwara State, Mr. Razak Atunwa, has the mandate of the House to investigate the multi-billion naira oil deal.
The committee had stated on Thursday last week that it might invite the former President to testify in the light of recent revelations, including the former President and some of his former ministers being mentioned in a series of suits filed in Italian courts.
But, the matter left the two factions of the party taking opposing stances.
For instance, the Minority Leader of the House, Leo Ogor, who controls the majority of PDP members in the green chamber, dismissed it as “a waste of legislative time.”
Most of the PDP House members are in the Makarfi-led faction, including Ogor.
Ogor, who is from Delta State, told SUNDAY PUNCH that he did not see how Jonathan was connected with the oil deal, since there was no proof that money was paid to him by anybody.
He said, “Inviting Jonathan will not serve any useful purpose to the committee. What is he coming to do?
“What questions are they going to be asking him? Do they have any evidence to suggest that Jonathan was implicated in the oil block sale?
“We have to be careful. The fact that there are some trials going in Italy and elsewhere, where certain ministers were mentioned, does not automatically implicate Jonathan.
“It (Jonathan’s invitation) will serve no purpose but would end up as a waste of legislative effort.”
But a member from Edo State, Mr. Johnson Agbonayinma, thought otherwise.
Agbonayinma, who is a foremost member of the Sheriff faction in the House, argued that Jonathan’s appearance would further justify the former president’s position on the rule of law.
The lawmaker added, “Jonathan is a man known for the rule of law. After the 2015 election, in line with the rule of law, he handed over power to his successor.
“Besides, he is a Nigerian citizen, why it is now that people are beginning to whip up all manner of sentiments?”
Atunwa had stated last week that the committee had Jonathan on its radar and could invite him if a decision was taken to do so.