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Why Kano assembly speaker resigned

On Monday, July 3, 2017, Alhaji Kabiru Alhassan Rurum voluntarily resigned as speaker of the Kano State House of Assembly. He was said to have…

On Monday, July 3, 2017, Alhaji Kabiru Alhassan Rurum voluntarily resigned as speaker of the Kano State House of Assembly. He was said to have resigned to enable a proper investigation into a bribery allegation against him and members of the House.

Rurum was accused of collecting $285,000, an equivalent of about N100million from Alhaji Aliko Dangote to halt the removal of the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, who was at that time under probe by the House over an alleged abuse of office.

The money was said to have been sent to Rurum through two separate accounts in Zenith and Sky banks by one Alhaji Danladi Hanga.

At the plenary chaired by Deputy Speaker Hamisu Ibrahim Chidari, Rurum tendered his resignation letter to the House, and it was read by the clerk, Alhaji Lawal Badamasi.

In the letter, which was obtained by Daily Trust on Sunday, the former speaker stated, “The first duty of any speaker is to protect this institution, which we love and cherish so much. It is my plan to serve as a speaker to the end, but Allah destined today that I have to pause in order to protect my personal integrity, that of my family, friends and constituents.

“It is my view, however, that the prolonged leadership turmoil will do an irreparable damage to our beloved institution. To this end, I hereby step aside as speaker of this honourable House to enable her conduct a proper investigation into the bribe allegation.”

Immediately the clerk finished reading the letter, the House unanimously endorsed it. Subsequently, a member from Dala Local Government, Alhaji Babangida Alhassan Abdullahi, moved a motion nominating the then majority leader, Alhaji Abdullahi Yusuf Ata from Fagge Local Government to be elected as new speaker.

The motion was seconded by Alhaji Bello Mamuda Madobi from Madobi Local Government and endorsed by 39 members of the House. Shortly after the oath of office was administered on him and he took over the mantle of leadership, Ata constituted a five-man investigative committee headed by the deputy chief whip of the House, Alhaji Muhammad Bello Butu-Butu to investigate the former speaker.

At this point, however, a member from Kano Municipal Local Government, Alhaji Baffa Babba Dan Agundi, kicked against the decision to investigate the matter, arguing that it was improper for the House to investigate itself; rather, the matter should be referred to either the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).

“The House should not investigate the matter since it is also part of the allegation. I am of the view that the matter be taken to either the EFCC or ICPC for proper investigation. Nobody should expect proper investigation of the matter from the people who are part and parcel of the allegation they are to investigate.

“What are they going to investigate? Can they do justice to the matter? What recommendations can they apportion to the culprits? I doubt if the committee would do justice to the matter. To be honest with you, the arrangement does not make any sense to me,” he said. But Agundi was overruled by the new speaker.

Daily Trust on Sunday reliably gathered that a week ago, some members of the House had petitioned the Kano State Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Commission over the bribe allegation; and the commission has referred the case to the ICPC.

Confirming the development to our correspondent, a source close to the state anti-corruption commission said, “One of the accounts belongs to the speaker and the other is a corporate account. Rurum was also alleged to have shared a portion of the money among some principal officers of the House and his errand boy.”

However, less than a week after the change of leadership in the House, facts on the actual reasons for the sudden resignation of the former speaker have begun to emerge.

While a credible source in the House of Assembly confided in our correspondent that the allegation of N100m bribe was fabricated to divert the attention of the public from the main issues that led to the resignation of the former speaker, another source close to the state government insisted that he actually collected the money from Dangote.

Our source said the crisis was all about two major issues: the appointment of caretakers for the 44 local government areas of the state and funds for constituency projects, which the governor failed to release to the House.

He said a powerful committee was constituted to suggest how the appointment of the caretaker committees should be done. According to him, members of the committee are the state chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Abdullahi Abbas; chairman Elders Committee, Alhaji Nasiru Aliko Koki; former speaker, Alhaji Kabiru Alhassan Rurum as representative of the House; commissioner for local government affairs, Alhaji Murtala Sule Garo as representative of the executive arm of government and Senator Alhassan Ado Doguwa, who represented members of the National Assembly.

Subsequently, the committee suggested that Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje should produce a chairman and councilor each in all the 44 local governments, while each lawmaker, the APC, members of the National Assembly and elders caucus were given the opportunity to produce councillors each.

The source further explained that the committee introduced the formula to avoid confusion in the process of nomination, but unfortunately, the state lawmakers vehemently rejected it “for selfish political interests”.

“Actually, majority of the aggrieved lawmakers wanted a showdown with the governor on these two issues, but the former speaker and the few that are with him refused to cooperate with them. That was the genesis of the crisis. The aggrieved lawmakers, therefore, met in Saudi Arabia and deliberated on the issues and came up with the idea of impeaching Rurum.

“But after we returned from Saudi Arabia, the governor was intimated about the development and he summoned an emergency meeting at the Government House on July 2, 2017. The purpose of the meeting was to reconcile the former speaker with the aggrieved members, but it ended in a deadlock and the former speaker was left with no other option than to step aside the next day, Monday 3, July, 2017.This is the honest truth about the whole issue,” he said.

The source added that Alhaji Aliko Dangote had refuted the allegation of N100million bribe and wondered what would be the fate of the former speaker.

“This is the question the present leadership of the House should answer. If we are honourable we should simply reinstate the former speaker. As far as I am concerned, the former speaker has been vindicated,” he added.

But a source close to the government, who did not want his name mentioned, alleged that the former speaker collected money from some notable people, including Dangote, to halt the probe of the Emir of Kano.

He said, “When the issue of Dangote’s money was leaked to members of the House, 18 days after Rurum collected it, they became furious. It may interest you to know that the deputy speaker, other principal officers, committee members and other members of the House were all beneficiaries.

 “About three months ago, the government released over N2billion to the House for constituency projects, which is equivalent to 75 per cent of the total money budgeted for constituency projects. So, it is not true to say that the Assembly had a problem with the governor on constituency projects.”

When contacted, the former speaker expressed gratitude to God for giving him the opportunity to serve in the 8th Assembly from June 8, 2015 to July 3, 2017.

 “I entered the Kano State House of Assembly as a floor member in the 7th Assembly. I was elected majority leader, a position I held for two years before I became speaker,” he said, adding that he had no grudge against any member of the House because what happened on July 3, 2017 was destined by God, and that as a Muslim faithful, he had accepted it in good faith.

“To be honest with you, this particular issue has added value to my political career, and up till this moment I am talking to you, I have no regret for my action. I am waiting for the outcome of the committee. If the House recalls me, I will accept it, and if they decide to continue like that, I will give my utmost contributions to the present leadership for the overall development of Kano State, my party and Nigeria as a whole,” he concluded.

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