...How VP failed to stop House emergency session

Fresh facts emerged at the weekend over the refusal of Speaker Aminu Tambuwal to bow to pressures from Vice President Namadi Sambo to stop yesterday’s emergency session of the House of Representatives.

 National Assembly sources privy to the meeting told Daily Sun yesterday that the Vice President met with the Speaker at the Presidential Villa on Friday after it emerged that the House would meet to deliberate on the state of the nation on Sunday.
 The informal meeting centered on the need for Tambuwal to call off the session after the nation’s Number Two supposedly reeled off the gains of the deregulation policy of government.

 On January 1, Secretary-General of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Reginald Stanley, announced withdrawal of fuel subsidy. The Speaker stood his ground that the House would reconvene and reportedly spoke about the ill-timing of oil subsidy removal.
 “The Speaker told the Vice President that although nobody is against subsidy removal, the timing was wrong and that the House can no longer pretend as if they don’t know what’s happening in the polity.”

 The meeting reportedly broke up on that note. In the Senate, however, mum is the word.
 Enquiries by Daily Sun on whether the Senate would also convene an emergency session like the House met a brickwall. A ranking principal officer said in a text message that “the Senate is still consulting.” But some Senators, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Daily Sun that the leadership of the Senate cannot comment on “a policy that is still under consideration.” A member from the North-East shed more light on the subsidy imbroglio in the National Assembly and offered more insight into the matter.

 “We all agree that the timing is wrong, but who will bell the cat?”      Another lawmaker from the South-South noted that investigations by lawmakers showed that subsidy paid on oil products was a farce as “it was non-existent. “The whole subsidy concept is fraud. Those in government know that we didn’t spend that much on subsidizing oil products in 2011. The unfortunate fact is that some people diverted the money into foreign accounts.

 “With the money supposedly spent on subsidy in 2011, government could have budgetted those funds for the establishment of, at least, two refineries which could be completed in 18 months. There is already a proposal to build refineries in Bayelsa, Kogi and Lagos states.“Government should summon the courage to expose those who have collected trillions of naira in the name of subsidy and their collaborators in government.”

 Regardless, Daily Sun also gathered from some National Assembly sources that rather than condemnation, they believe President Goodluck Jonathan should be “praised for having the courage to go against fuel importers who were part of the sponsors of the 2011 elections.” It was gathered that government’s hands are tied in the prosecution of the “subsidy cabal,” some of whom allegedly pooled funds to finance the 2011 polls.“These importers sponsored the elections while some even gave out jets for a particular ruling party to criss-cross the country.”
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