…Gov says Melaye, others driven by personal interest
……As court stops 5-man House members from legislative duties
By Henry Umoru, Ikechukwu Nnochiri & Boluwaji Obahopo
ABUJA—FOLLOWING alleged anti-party activities against Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, a panel set up by the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state, has summoned the governor to appear before it on Monday, June 20, at the party secretariat in Lokoja.
According to the committee, the letter of invitation was in pursuant to Article 21 of the constitution of the party.
In the letter by its Chairman, Senator Dino Melaye and its Secretary, Mr. S.T. Adejo, APC said Bello was invited to appear before the meeting in relation to allegations of anti-party activities against him, which it claimed had brought huge embarrassment to the party.
The governor was also accused of creating parallel party organs, sowing seed of discord, flouting court orders and also using soldiers to invade the state house of assembly complex among others.
The letter read among others,: “Pursuant to series of reports received from various Local Government Areas in Kogi State, the party in the exercise of her power as contained in Article 13.7 (v) of the Party’s Constitution, the State Executive Committee under the auspices of the State Party Chairman, summoned a meeting of the State Executive Committee of the party, to consider reports from Local Government Area Chapters, and take such decisions that are necessary to protect, advance and consolidate the gains and interest of the party within the state, resolved to invite you to explain before a fact-finding disciplinary committee on the following allegations, pursuant to Article 21 of the Party Constitution:
Reacting through his Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Awwal Imam, the Governor berated some APC stakeholders from the state calling for his probe over alleged anti-party activities.
According to him, “Melaye’s grudges started when he (Melaiye) asked the governor to allow him produce all local government caretakers from the district, which the governor refused. This action of the APC stakeholders in Abuja is never a surprise to us because their interest is how they will corner all the political appointments to themselves without considering the interest of other members of the party.”
Meanwhile, the Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday restrained the warring factions in the Kogi House of Assembly from conducting legislative duties pending determination of an application challenging the judgment that voided the impeachment of the Speaker and others.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba made the order following complaint by counsel to the reinstated lawmakers, Mr. Emeka Etiaba, SAN, who told the court that his clients had not been allowed access into the House, despite the judgment that was delivered in their favour on May 19.
Ruling, Justice Dimgba ordered parties in the suit to stay away from the House of Assembly pending the determination of the case.
The case was adjourned till June 8 for hearing of the application seeking to set aside the judgment that reinstated the plaintiffs.
Justice Dimgba had in his judgment held that the assumption of leadership by the five defendants was “an act of force or artifice”.
He noted that as at February 16 when the impeachment took place, “it was not denied that the total membership of the House was down to 20 members given that it was not until March 2 that the additional five members returned to the House, bringing the total House membership to 25 as recognised by the Constitution.
The judge equally noted that members of the House did not form a quorum when the purported impeachment took place.
“By simple arithmetic, for a legislature that is down to 20 members from 25 at February1 6, two-thirds of that means not less than 14 (or 13) members of the House supporting the impeachment. I am not satisfied that this requirement was fulfilled”, he held.