Following the emergence of Alhaji Haliru Dauda Jika as the new speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, controversies have continued to trail the impeachment of the former Speaker Alhaji Ahmed Abubakar Faggo. It is been alleged that his impeachment was to make room for the impeachment of the governor, Mallam Isa Yuguda.
In this interview with news men at his residence, the new speaker debunked the allegations, saying that whatever transpired on the floor of the House was guided by the dictates of the 1999 Constitution. Experts:
What is your reaction to misgivings expressed by some of your colleagues with regard to what transpired on the floor of the House after your emergence as Speaker?
My response to the action of some of my collogues can best be described as acceptable because what transpired at the floor of the House is purely guided by the standing order of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, anything on the contrary is null and void.
What do you make of the court injunction stopping you from parading yourself as the new speaker of the House?
Court order would not affect legislative functions or legislative duties. What we mean by a court order is the pending period that the court will have its hearing before it will ascertain the true position of the action of the legislators. I suppose that is what is being referred to as a court order.
Could you react to the allegation that you have plans to impeach the state governor because you are not satisfied with the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP or because the governor did not guarantee your return ticket especially as you decamped with him to the PDP?
I suppose that it has nothing to do with the executive governor of the state because the current political dispensation we are in this country, is so critical that nobody can predict what would happen. It is sophisticated because we are no more into party politics. We are now into individual politics. So I feel that has nothing to do with PDP or any other thing.
What is the relationship between the legislature and the state government prior to your emergence as speaker?
Like I said before, whatever happened was the decision of the majority and the legislature is independent. We have three sections of the government – the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. Our decision is purely our business. What we decide as lawmakers is for the betterment of Bauchi State. So I suppose that the executive have to respect this fact.
What is your relationship now with fellow legislators?
My relationship with them is very cordial and what I expect of them, is for us to put heads together and work in order to deliver the dividend of democracy to our electorate.
As you said before that nobody can predict what will happen at this critical period, before the forth-coming general election, the people of Bauchi will not be surprised if they see you serving the state governor with an impeachment notice.
What is your take on this?
Serving the state governor with impeachment notice is not the duty of the speaker, it is the duty of the House. And you cannot just serve a state government with impeachment notice without a concrete reason for the impeachment and we have impeachment procedures which must be followed. I think such question does not even arise here.
After your sitting last week, erstwhile speaker Faggo held another sitting in the state assembly with 11 members in attendance and two_third of 31 is suppose to be 21, how many people signed the impeachment notice, if he had 11 people sitting with him. It means you have only 20 persons in your own faction for the house.
What happened in the state assembly was totally and completely against the 1999 constitution because the majority sat in the morning and after our session, the secretariat of the state assembly received a court order and that order is restraining the entire House from conducting normal proceedings pending the termination of the court order. So anybody that masterminded that is in contempt and the court has the right to charge that person. The action of the 11 honourable members is completely unjust to our democracy.
How many people signed the impeachment notice and how many them crossed over to Faggo faction?
22 people signed the impeachment notice and I am not certain how many of them crossed over to Faggo faction.
So the House will not seat, pending the time the court gives its decision?
As you know, the executive arm of the government just announced that there will be a public holiday to enable civil servants participate in the voter’s registration. So when the court sits again, we will know the current development on the situation at hand.
What is your reaction to comments that the clerk of the House was sacked because he refused to participate in the impeachment process?
No, the sack of the clerk has nothing to do with the impeachment saga. It is purely the business of the House and as I said before, it is the legislators that have the right to appoint a clerk. That is purely the business of the House.
The House normally sits as from 9a.m but on Monday, you sat as early as 7a.m. What informed the change in timing?
We have a draft and a standing order of the Bauchi State House of Assembly and you are aware that in all the 36 states in the country, the state Houses of assembly all have their peculiarities. What happens in Bauchi State is not what you normally find in another state.
That is why it is mandatory for all the state Houses of assembly in the country to follow the guidance of the 1999 Constitution, in drafting their own standing order that would guide them to conduct the business of the House. If the common language spoken in the House is English and there are members who cannot speak English, a law in respect of that is supposed to be drafted that would permit everybody to express himself in his or her own language in order to communicate effectively with the electorate.
It was also alleged that the impeachment of the former speaker is linked with the suspension of local government chairmen, after being investigated…
That is totally not true because the issue of local government chairmen is the duty of the House of Assembly to enact the law guiding the tenure, the procedure and processes of appointing or electing a local government chairman. It is not the duty of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to conduct the election of local government chairmen, rather it is the duty of the State independent electoral commission and anything within the jurisdiction of Bauchi State is purely under the Bauchi State House of Assembly.