By Abel Daniel
Umaru Tanko Almakura’s days as governor of Nasarawa State may be numbered as the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Suleiman Umar Dikko yesterday finally sets up a seven-man committee to investigate the alleged gross misconduct and misappropriation leveled against him by the state lawmakers.
The Nasarawa State House of Assembly had Wednesday directed the Chief Judge to constitute the investigative panel, and without hesitation complied with the directive in accordance with the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.
In compliance, Justice Suleiman said the constitution of the investigative panel was based on the power conferred on him by the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended under Section 188(5) has approved the appointment of seven (7) Man Panel to investigate allegations of Gross Misconduct against the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State, Umaru Tanko Almakura.
“The seven (7) man committee will be chaired by Yusuf Shaibu Usman with the following people as members: Mohammed Sabo, Rt. Rev. Dr. Joel Galadima, Alh. Abdul Usman, Samuel Chaku, Mohammed Sani Usman and Pastor David Chaga.
While swearing in the panel of investigation, justice Suleiman quoted the section 188 (7) which state that “a panel of appointed under this section shall have powers and exercise its functions in accordance with such procedure as maybe prescribed by the house of assembly within three month of its appointment, report its finding to the house of assembly”.
The chief justice also confirmed that the Assembly had duly passed the impeachment notice to the Governor which warranted his appointment of the panel of investigation as enshrine in the 1999 constitution of Nigeria.
Meanwhile as the clock is ticking faster, the embattled governor Almakura is still holding a claim that he had not been served the notice of impeachment by the house, and thereby condemning saying that “the assembly members are acting against the provisions of the constitution which demand that the impeachment notice be served him and not published on daily newspapers”.
Saturday Vanguard gathered that the Clark of the house of assembly had on two separate occasions attempted to serve the notice to the governor but was stopped by security operatives at the entrance gate to the government house. Sequel to that the house proceeded to the High court and swore an affidavit to that effect and went ahead to publish the notice of the impeachment.
The Assembly which three days ago directed Justice Suleiman, to constitute the investigative panel based its submission on section 188, subsection 3 & 4 of the 1999 constitution as amended and added that it had formed the two-third majority required by law, “which is 20 out of 24 lawmakers in the assembly that appended their signatures for the governor to be investigated.”
The governor while giving his first address to his supporters during a solidarity protest since the impeachment process started at the Lafia Government House on Thursday after his return from Abuja, said the bids to oust him was baseless and therefore would not work out.
Almakura who was out of the state to Abuja for the past two weeks begging the powers that be so as to escape impeachment by the die-hearted assembly members who have vowed to end the tenor of Almakura over his gross misconducts and his financial misappropriations laid against him by the state House of assembly.
The embattled governor had not debunked allegations of gross misconduct leveled against his administration but busy hiring the services of some senior Advocates of Nigeria SAN with the hope that he may escape impeachment. Would the SAN in their numbers and experience save Almakura from impeachment? The panel of investigation will determine that soon.