BY BOLUWAJI OBAHOPO
LOKOJA – Kogi State House of Assembly Tuesday declared the seat of the immediate past Speaker of the House, Umar Ahmed representing Lokoja vacant.
The former Speaker had fortnight ago defected to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) stating that, the ruling party APC are in crisis and likewise declared his intention to contest this Saturday Lokoja/Kogi federal constituency bye reelection
The decision to declare his seat vacant was sequel to a letter sent to the House by the State Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, Abdullahi Bello, backed by a motion moved by the House Majority leader, Bello Hassan Abdullahi.
The majority leader backed his claim with the letter sent to the house by the former speaker announcing his defection to a new party.
Seconding the motion and the letter sent to the House for the seat of the embattled former speaker to be declared vacant, the deputy majority leader Ahmed Muhammed ( APC Ankpa I) declared that the motion was timely.
According to him, “There is no crisis in APC. The last time we defect to the ruling party, the PDP were in crisis.”
He also added to the prayers that, the official vehicle given to the former Speaker by the state government should be withdrawn.
When the floor of the House was open for deliberation by the current speaker Mathew Kolawole, (APC Kabba Bunu), the ex Speaker before Umar, Momohjimoh Lawal (PDP Okene II) disagreed with the letter of the All Progressive Congress and the motion moved by the majority leader.
“I disagree with the APC and this motion to declare the seat of our colleague vacant. We are all aware that, at the national level, there is Reform APC which shows that there is crisis in the ruling party. Only the court of law can declare the seat of any member vacant. Mr speaker, you are a beneficiary of this defection. So why was your seat not declared vacant” Lawal averred.
He also cited section 109 subsecion (1G) of the 1999 constitution to backup his claim.
Momoh Rabiu member representing (APC Ankpa II) in his remark notified his colleagues that, they are lawmakers and not law breakers, “Declaring the seat of the former speaker vacant is of no use to the members. I therefore distance my self from this motion “he noted.
Linus Eneche (APC Olamaboro) urged the members to have the fear of God. According to him, “Are we deliberating on the letter sent to the House by the All Progressive Congress Chairman in Kogi State or the motion moved by the majority leader. We should not forget that, it is Umar today and could be any of us tomorrow. Declaring the seat of the former speaker vacant to me is not necessary”.
Other lawmakers who distanced themselves from the motion are Barrister Oluwatoyin Lawal ( PDP Yagba West), Zakari Osewu ( APC Kogi Koton Karfe ), Obaro Pedro,
While those who supported the motion are Ododo Moses ( APC Dekina Beraidu), Abdulkareem Kekere ( APC Okehi), Lawi Ahmed (Okene I ), Adoke Muktar ( APC Adavi), John Aba (APC Ibaji), Jimoh Omiata (APC Yagba East).
In his summation, the Speaker of the House, Mathew Kolawole noted that he is on the side of the law on the matter before the House directed the Clerk to convene the resolution of the Assembly to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the former Speaker, Umar seat has become vacant.
When contacted, the embattled lawmaker, Umar said he had no comment to make because he had known for long that such will be carried out by those he claimed are taking “commands from the executive. “