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p17 edited Five lawmakers ‘impeach’ Kogi speaker From Itodo Daniel Sule, Lokoja The leadership crisis in the Kogi State House of Assembly took another twist…

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Five lawmakers ‘impeach’ Kogi speaker

From Itodo Daniel Sule, Lokoja

The leadership crisis in the Kogi State House of Assembly took another twist yesterday when five lawmakers out of the present 20-member assembly said they have impeached the Speaker, Momoh Jimoh Lawal.

The group of five named Umar Imam, representing Lokoja 1 constituency as the new speaker of the house, Friday Makama as the new majority leader, Lawi Ahmed as the deputy majority leader and John Abba as the new chief whip.

The Kogi assembly, which has members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the majority, has been embroiled in crisis for long. The Speaker was thrice ‘impeached’ but the moves were inconclusive.

The emergence of Alhaji Yahaya Bello as governor under the platform of the All Progressives Congres (ACP), and from the same zone with the embattled speaker has aggravated the crisis in the assembly.

Also said to be impeached along the speaker were the deputy speaker, Alih Ajuh and the majority leader, Kolawole Matthew.

This was happening just as the remaining 15 members of the house of assembly also passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of Momoh Jimoh Lawal.

Daily Trust reports that the five lawmakers, who spearheaded the impeachment, had yesterday converged at the house of assembly complex at about 11 am, and had their meeting behind closed doors, where the purported impeachment was perfected.

Journalists who had gathered at the premises of the complex where barred by security personnel from entering into the chambers to witness the proceedings.

After their meeting, spokesman of the group, Friday Makama, who is also the Speaker Protempo during the purported impeachment, addressed waiting journalists on the outcome of their sitting.

He claimed that 15 signatures of members where earlier collected for the impeachment, and that seven members of the house, who were present at yesterday’s sitting resolved to effect a change in the leadership of the house.

Makama said Jimoh was impeached because of his inability to convene the House as it should be.

He said they were not induced by anybody to perfect the impeachment as being insinuated.

“The reason for the removal of the Speaker today is not far from the fact that the assembly could no longer seat, and we needed a situation where the assembly can seat. We needed a leader that can be acceptable to all. That is why this change became pertinent,” he said.

But in a swift reaction, the embattled speaker described the development as “Kangaroo arrangement that cannot stand”.

Lawal said the purported impeachment was illegal, saying five members out 20 could not claim to have to have impeached him.

According to him, the said sitting where he was purportedly impeached was illegal as it was not done in accordance with the rules of the House.

“By the power vested on me as the speaker, I issued a proclamation at the last sitting that House should resume on Thursday. Any sitting outside Thursday is illegal. House of Assembly is an institution, so it is not a situation whereby five dissident members will just sit in somebody’s office and said that the speaker has been impeached.

“There were no 15 members that signed the purported impeachment document, rather 15 members came to my residence to pass vote of confidence on my leadership. So, how can they claim that 15 member again signed the purported impeachment.

“That was illegal and fake. It was forgery of signatures. In any case, any impeachment exercise is supposed to take place in the house chamber, so you can’t stay in the Chief Whip’s office and say you have impeached the speaker,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lawal said the House will reconvene on Thursday just the Umar Imam led group adjourned to March 3.

Katsina Assembly holds budget defense behind closed doors

From Habibu Umar Aminu, Katsina

The ongoing budget defense of various ministries, departments and agencies (MDA’s) in Katsina is being held behind closed doors, Daily Trust observed.

The committee on Appropriation, which has been meeting with various government agencies on their budget proposal chose to bar journalists and other stakeholders from attending their sessions.

It was observed that at times, officials of ministries had to be ambushed after each session for briefs, unlike what was obtained before, when people were allowed to attend the sessions.

Speaking on the issue, Abdulmumin, who is the vice chairman of Good Governance and Accountability in the state, said the action was alien to budget defense.

He said the APC at all levels had promised to run an open door policy, but wondered why the Katsina Assembly would bar the public from its deliberations on budget.

Efforts to reach the spokesman of the Assembly, Abdulrashid Kuraye, proved abortive as he was not on seat.

Onjeh not substitute for Mark -Young Alhaji

From Hope Abah, Mark

A former chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State, Alhaji Abubakar Usman, popularly known as ‘Young Alhaji’ has urged the Idoma people not to give a chance to Daniel Onjeh of the APC in the Saturday rerun, saying he cannot be a substitute for Senator David Mark.

Usman said at a town hall meeting he held with Idoma stakeholders, cutting across all political parties drawn from the nine local government areas of Benue South senatorial district, in Otukpo, that votes for David Mark of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would secure the interest and future of the Idoma people.

“Onjeh is not a substitute for Senator Mark. What has Onjeh done for the Idoma people to deserve the position? It is Senator George Akume that wants to impose him on Idoma people and we must not allow it.

“Mark should remain there till 2019 when qualified people such as Retired General Lawrence Onoja, Chief Mike Onoja, Chief Steven Lawani and Comrade Abba Moro among others would run,” he said.

He told the mammoth crowd to eschew whatever grievances they had against the former Senate president, and vote for him.

Usman, who had contested twice in the past with Mark, said he decided to support and root for his former opponent because “it’s not yet time for Mark to quit.”

Election monitors harp on 35 percent positions for women

By Mustapha Suleiman

The Alliance for Credible Election (ACE) has called on political actors in the country to respect the clamour for 35 percent participation quota to Nigerian women.

Acting secretary general of the organization, Mrs. Mma Odi, said that was the only way that women would be actively represented in the political arrangement in the country.

She made the call during the final monitoring and evaluation of ACE/MacArthur project on promoting electoral credibility and good governance in Nigeria, which was held in Abuja.

She noted that because of their influence and financial muscle, men have already dominated the political space in Nigeeria, and that women could only be noticed if certain quota is allocated to them.

Mma Odi emphasized that credible election involves educating the public and mobilizing them for active participation, which ACE, as a group, stands for.

Buhari displaying statesmanship – Cleric

From Eyo Charles, Calabar

A clergyman, Bishop Emmah Isong, has said that so far, President Muhammadu Buhari is displaying signs that he is a statesman and father of the nation.

Isong, who is founder of Christian Central Chapel International Calabar, said Buhari has shown that even though he was elected on the political platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), he however discharges his functions as the father of the nation.

Speaking to journalists yesterday at his church’s headquarters in Calabar, Isong lamented that though politicking should have ended with the elections, politicians are behaving as if campaign period is still on.

“But I am taken aback by the attitude of our politicians who instead of focusing on actual governance, are still emphasizing on political parties as if elections are not over.” He said the ruling party should be open and ready to accept criticism, saying saboteurs help to put leaders on their toes.

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