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Epic battle in Nasarawa

BY PRINCE EMMANUEL

THE lingering political crisis between Governor Tanko Umar Al-makura of Nasarawa state and members of the state legislative arm is unfolding into an epic political battle.

The Governor who belongs to the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC is locked in battle with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP dominated House of Assembly over the procedure in the appointment of helmsmen in the State’s local government councils. 20 of the 24 members of the House belong to the PDP which was the ruling party in the State while 4 belong to the CPC.

Indicative of the bad blood between the executive and the legislative arms of government, the legislators are now openly contemptuous towards invitations extended to them by the Governor.

Penultimate Tuesday the members refused to attend the official inauguration of the 26 newly appointed permanent secretaries in the state. The legislators also on that day it was learnt similarly boycotted the Governor’s invitation to Moslem legislators to join him break the Ramadan fast in his residence.

Although the crises rocking the governor and the legislators for over a month now is no longer news, but with the latest developments it is clear that the members are still nursing grudges against him and the road to achieving peace between them may be rough. The crisis between the Governor and the lawmakers is hinged on the stalemate arising from the Governor’s refusal to reverse his decision on the formation of development areas administrative committees despite the house resolution that the structure was illegal and the committees be dissolved.

But beneath the assertions of illegality it was learnt that the legislators were frustrated by the Governor’s refusal to heed their request for a specific allocation in the appointment of the committee members.

Sources in the State disclosed that the legislators demanded for a certain proportion of the committee members to be nominated by them but the Governor was said to have turned down the request a development that was said to have sparked off the crisis.

However, when contacted the speaker, Hon. Musa Mohammed denied that their action was in connection with the on-going political battle between the house and the Governor over the composition of administrative committees to manage the 16 development areas as being rumored.

According to him the failure of the legislators to be present at the inauguration of the permanent secretaries was a result of their absence on that Tuesday at the PDP North-Central stakeholders’ meeting in Minna, Niger state.

He admitted that they were actually invited by the governor for a Ramadan dinner; but however noted that it was not mandatory for them to honour the invitation since it has no official correlation, maintaining that, it is not the first time they were shunning such invitations.

The sour relationship between Al-makura and the PDP dominated lawmakers started early last month as a result of the Governor’s unilateral appointment of 16 development area committees in which the members claimed that he did not adhere to the provision of the law and since then, the development has created troubled times for both the governor and the lawmakers.

The house on Monday July 11th passed a resolution that the appointment of sole administrators by the Governor without local government councils in place was in violation of the constitution and directed that all funds meant for the development areas apart from workers salaries be frozen.

But the executive arm through a letter signed by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Hamza Elayo sent to the house replied that the Governor’s action did not contravene the law, insisting that the Governor’s decision was legal and in line with the state local government administrative laws.

But not persuaded by the contents and angered by what they termed as use of offensive words in the letter the house decided to invite the SSG to appear before it  to give more explanations.

The invitation of the SSG, however, turned into another show as midway into the event political thugs. The legislators felt that the thugs were hired by the CPC further deepening the enmity between the two arms.     The speaker of the Assembly, Rt. Hon. Hassan Mohammed who presided over the sitting expressed dismay over the action of the youths maintaining that in as much as the matter possess a serious security threat to their lives no one will intimidate them as he said that the House was determined to fulfill its constitutional responsibility.

Elayo who apologized over the actions of the youths stressed that he wrote his letter based on instruction from his boss and not with the motive of degrading the house.

Addressing journalists shortly after the incident, the state chairman of the PDP, Chief Yunana Iliya, condemned the action of the CPC youths describing it as  “uncivilized, balderdash and capable of truncating the nascent democracy in the country and the young state which we all cherish.”

The crisis was to take another dimension when the immediate past Governor of the State and now Senator representing Nasarawa West Senatorial district, Senator Abdullahi Adamu made an appearance to strengthen the resolve of the legislators. Adamu who is a patron of the PDP in the State urged them not to allow anybody to intimidate them in the cause of undertaking their constitutional responsibilities.

Many, however, wonder at how Adamu as Governor would have taken the assertiveness of the House!


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