The house of representatives has asked the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) not to allow Aminu Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto, mislead them with his “biased position” on the bill to control infectious diseases.
According to the lawmakers, the governors’ demand that the bill be suspended was informed by Tambuwal’s “personal and partisan opposition” to the emergence of the current house leadership under Femi Gbajabiamila.
On Wednesday, the governors’ forum had asked that the bill be suspended after Tambuwal, its vice-chairman and former speaker of the house, briefed them about during their virtual meeting.
However, Benjamin Kalu, the House spokesman, in a statement said the lawmakers said while they will welcome any contribution the governors have regarding the bill, the constitution does not demand that they must concur with such legislation.
“It is rather surprising that the NGF, in arriving at its decision, relied on “an update from the Governor of Sokoto State,” who, apart from being a lawyer, is a former Speaker and an ex-ranking member of the House, who should know better and guide the Forum accordingly,” Kalu said in the statement issued on Thursday.
“We assume that his position was informed by his well-known personal and partisan opposition to the emergence of the current leadership of the house considering his obvious stance in 2015 and 2019.
“Unlike in a constitution amendment matter, where state houses of assembly have a defined constitutional role to play in effecting any review to it, Bills such as the Control of Infectious Diseases are not by our constitution subject of the concurrence of state houses of assembly or state governors. We do believe that our respected Governors are aware of these lawful processes of legislation and should not be misguided by the biased position of a former speaker.
“Notwithstanding, the House expresses its readiness to work with the Committee raised by the NGF to meet members of the Green Chamber on the Bill. The Governors are our critical stakeholders in nation-building, and we understand the importance of working with our Governors at critical moments such as this pandemic period.”
The green chamber invited the governors’ forum to make its position on the bill known through a memorandum during the planned public hearing as “no single Governor has called the Speaker or anyone in leadership to express his views till date.”