THE battle for the speakership of the Jigawa State 7th House of Assembly commenced with underground moves by some aggrieved members who were totally against the leadership style of the speaker, Hon. Isa Idris Gwaram and other principal officers.
Shortly after the 2015 general election, the 6th Assembly was inaugurated in June, members unanimously elected Hon. Idris Garba representing Jahun constituency as speaker.
However, less than seven months after his swearing in, 25 of the 30 members unceremoniously signed for his impeachment, while the governor was away on foreign trip.
The reasons given for his impeachment were that Garba was too unyielding to the yearnings of his colleagues and arrogated to himself too much power which made them lose confidence in him.
The decision of the 25 lawmakers did not go down well with the executive arm as Governor Badaru made several efforts to bring him back to no avail.
It was therefore not surprising that since Gwaram’s election as speaker, he did not enjoy the much needed cordial working relationship with the governor.
In his acceptance speech, Gwaram had promised to operate an open-door policy, saying that under his watch he would not condone hypocrisy and gossiping from members. He assured that he would ensure a harmonious relationship between the House and the executive arm.
However, Gwaram’s 40 months tenure was characterized by series of criticisms and side talks among staff, security and his domestic servants, who complained bitterly on the way he drastically reduced and monitored expenses which hurt their day-to-day activities.
On the other hand, some members and staff of the House alleged that the speaker was too loyal to the executive.
The last straw
After the 2019 general election in which the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, won all the 30 seats of the House, stakeholders commenced moves for changes in the Assembly leadership due to the emergence of new political interest from within and outside the chamber.
The seat of the Deputy Speaker is already vacant as the incumbent occupant did not seek re-election to represent his constituency in the assembly. He vied for the senate and lost at the primary election stage to the current deputy governor.
The battle for the speakership took another dimension, last Tuesday when the House was engulfed in a rowdy session over an attempt to amend the House Standing Rule to pave way for some candidates?.
The crisis erupted at the chamber when the impeached speaker announced the proposal for the amendment of rule to outlaw all former assembly speakers and their deputies? from contesting their positions again in subsequent assemblies.
The proposed amended rule will also disqualify any principal officer that was suspended or impeached from contesting for the position of speaker for a second tenure. The decision was vehemently rejected by some members particularly those who want the return of sacked speaker, Garba.
Member representing Yankwashi constituency, Hon. Abdulrahman Alkassim led the crusade by opposing the proposed amendment, which was also supported by a vast majority of the members.
The heated debate, argument and counter-argument turned into exchange of abusive words and subsequently fisticuffs that led to the destruction of the assembly mace.
After the intervention of some elderly members, the tension was brought down, and the House entered into a closed-door meeting which lasted for three hours. The house later reconvened sitting and announced the postponement of its sitting to May 9, 2019.
How Gwaram was impeached
The sitting which was earlier scheduled to hold by 12 noon was shifted to 9 am where 20 of the 30 members arrived and without wasting time declared their intention and impeached speaker Gwaram. He was impeached under the matter of urgent public importance via a motion by Hon Usman Haladu Kanya, member representing Kanya constituency. The motion for the impeachment was seconded by member representing Yankwashi constituency Hon Abdurrahman Karkarna.
The speaker was impeached along with two principal officers, the Majority Leader, Hon. Sani Isiya representing Gumel constituency; and Hon. Aminu Sule Sankara member representing Ringim constituency respectively. They were replaced with Hon. Bala Hamza Gada representing Kazaure as chief whip and Kai`s Abdallah of Malam Madori as majority leader.
During the sitting member representing Kirikasamma constituency, Hon Aliyu Ahmad Aliyu proposed the name of the Hon Idris Garba member representing Jahun constituency to be the new speaker and the House unanimously voted him.
In his acceptance speech, the new speaker, Hon Idris Garba promised to work hard in uniting the House and ensure enabling environment for completing the remaining three weeks successfully.
With his return to complete the remaining days of the 6th Assembly, it is to be seen if the House, which has no opposition will back Garba to continue in the 7th House.