As Kogi Festers
THERE is more to Kogi than the flood that devastated the state recently. The flood might have concealed the political bickering in the state, but as the waters recede, the state is back to the brinks.
It began with Governor Idris Wada being sworn-in by a Customary Court judge to the State House of Assembly, which has two factions, counting 12 and 13 each, with none able to form the quorum it requires to do its legislative business. Each claims to be the authentic State House of Assembly.
Former Speaker, Abdulahi Bello, who is contesting his removal, has relocated to Abuja, where his accusers allege he gets support from those opposed to Governor Wada. His faction is unrelenting on his return to the position.
Another faction that Momoh Lawal Jimoh leads as Speaker, meets in a hotel, where it undergoes motions of legislative business. The House of Representatives in wading into the crisis sealed the Assembly to stop either faction from meeting there.
The intervention is not making much progress. Chairman of the six-man Ad-Hoc Committee of the House of Represen-tatives on the crisis, Mohammed Mourktar Ahmed, warned both factions to stop meeting for legislative matters.
If the war continues, the National Assembly may press constitutional provisions – Section 11 (4) – that permit it to take over the legislative functions of a State Assembly in crisis. The only function it cannot perform in that situation is the removal of the Governor or Deputy Governor.
As the politicians tend their ego, crucial issues are left unattended. Victims of the flood disaster in the state would not get adequate attention. Funds for their upkeep are running low, but the Assembly is unavailable to make new approvals.
The State’s 2013 budget cannot be presented, there is no House for the Governor to lay the bill.
Why would the removal of the Speaker cause so much trouble for the Kogi State House of Assembly? In neighbouring Niger State, the House had three Speakers in two weeks, its work never stopped. Why is Kogi different?
Ego is one of the issues. The other is control of the state’s affairs. Governor Wada has his preference of Speaker to save his administration from unsavoury legislations while opposing legislators , claim that they are working for the independence of the legislative arm of government.
Governance is stalled. The intervention of the National Assembly may cause a legal dispute that can postpone the resumption of the House.
The answer to the jam in Kogi State House of Assembly lies in politicians remembering that they were elected for the interests of the peoples not their blinkered considerations that see decisions from a prism of implications for the 2015 elections.