The crisis rocking the Plateau State House of Assembly took a new dimension Monday as the new speaker, Sanda Yakubu, declared the impeached speaker, Abok Ayuba, wanted.
There was a standoff at the Assembly Monday when thugs loyal to the two legislators, all of them members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, attempted to get firm control of the hallowed chamber in favour of their favourite “speaker”.
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It took the intervention of police operatives to restore sanity at the premises of the state House of Assembly even though some destruction had occurred.
The impeachment of Ayuba last Thursday ignited a crisis in the parliament.
After his removal, the embattled speaker went to a community hall where he presided over a plenary session and announced the suspension of six lawmakers who spearheaded his ousting.
Since then, Ayuba and Yakubu have been laying claims to the speakership position.
Our correspondent reports that Ayuba and lawmakers loyal to him secretly went into the assembly’s chamber about 4 am Monday in an apparent move to outdo his rival. But a few minutes later, Yakubu and lawmakers in his camp stormed the parliament.
It was gathered that the two warring camps went into a closed-door session, where Ayuba reportedly requested that he should be reinstated as the speaker.
“Ayuba asked that he should be reinstated as a speaker and that afterwards he would resign and allow Yakubu to takeover,” a source said. It was gathered that the parliamentarians loyal to Yakubu rejected the demand of the embattled speaker.
“The camp of the new speaker left the parliament for the Government House. It was after they left that the commissioner of police came,” another source said.
It was at this point that security operatives whisked away from the embattled speaker from the chamber of the house following a protest that rocked the assembly in the early morning.
Our correspondent reports that shortly after the scenario, Yakubu declared Ayuba wanted after a plenary he presided over.
It was clear whether he had the powers to declare a fellow legislator wanted.
He also announced the suspension of six members of the assembly who are loyal to the impeached speaker. They include; Henry Longs (Pankshin South), Dangtong Timothy (Riyom), Musa Agah (Rukuba/Iregwe), Bala Fwanje (Mangy South) and Nambol Listic (Langtang North).
The speaker said they were suspended following the sitting they organised at a community hall on Thursday and forceful entry into the parliament yesterday.
“We hereby declare him (impeached speaker) wanted for conducting acts inimical to the interest of the House,” he said, calling on security agencies to arrest Ayuba for parading a fake mace.
He said the House had set up two committees to investigate the former speaker over alleged financial misappropriation.
How gov, embattled speaker fell out with Lalong
Ayuba, who hails from Jos East LGA of the state, is a first timer in the state House of Assembly. He became the speaker following the support and endorsement of Governor Simon Bako Lalong shortly after the 2019 elections.
The grudges between Governor Lalong and the impeached speaker became pronounced in August when the lawmaker openly criticised the governor. Since then, Ayuba had stopped attending public functions in the state.
A reliable source close to the speaker said the governor’s feud with Ayuba started during the election of Plateau Youth Council where the candidate of the speaker was reportedly thrown away by the governor who supported another candidate backed by a member of his cabinet.
This, according to the source, made Ayuba tackle the governor during the last crisis in the state when openly urged a section of the citizens to defend themselves.
Impeachment of state House of Assembly speakers in Plateau State is becoming a norm.
It would be recalled that Lalong was in 2006 impeached as the speaker of the state assembly over his refusal to impeach former Governor of the state, Joshua Dariye, who was at loggerhead with former President Olusegun Obasanjo over the poor management of the ethno-religious crisis that rocked the state during his tenure.