By Marie-Therese Nanlong
The Plateau State House of Assembly, Thursday, impeached the Speaker, Abok Ayuba following allegations of misappropriation and mismanagement of resources.
Rumors had it that the Speaker would be impeached on Wednesday night but the deed was done in the early hours of Thursday.
It was gathered that only nine out of the 24 Members were at the Chamber when the said impeachment was done but two of the nine Members declined to participate in what they termed as a coup and an illegality.
To this end, it was learnt that 17 out of the 24 members of the House have rejected the said impeachment.
Sources report that the members invaded the Assembly complex as early as 5am to carry out the task which was eventually executed at about 6am and the victim was immediately replaced by Yakubu Sanda who is also of the All Progressives Congress, APC and represents Pengana State Constituency.
It was also gathered that as early as 4am, security agents were drafted to the premises of the Assembly and adjourning roads to take over and seal the vicinity. This is after the regular security details attached to the Assembly were suddenly replaced with new faces.
Reports also have it that only APC Members of the House were given access to the Assembly complex while the opposition members were blocked but they had to struggle to gained access into the premises.
Reacting to the development, Member representing Jos South Constituency, Gwattson Fom and that of Riyom, Timothy Dantong kicked against the deed saying it is a ploy to cause chaos in the Assembly.
According to Fom, “I got to the Assembly this morning, Policemen refused me access to the Chambers. They asked me to identity myself and I did but I was still denied access. As far as I am concerned, you can’t build something on nothing, the Speaker has not been removed, we are not in a jungle. There are procedures to follow in this kind of a thing. Seven out of 24 people cannot remove a sitting Speaker, the law says 2/3.
“When we came to the 9th Assembly, they thought the Speaker will be impeached so they quickly amended the House rules and said before you remove the Speaker, you give a notice of two weeks as against what was obtained in the past. For them to come this morning and said they have impeached the Speaker, it is the highest level of illegality.
“We have cowboys in power, Abok has not done anything, they want to create problem so they can close the House, we don’t have two leadership, you can’t come through the backdoor and be our leader. Nine people were in the Chambers, two disagreed with them and were almost lynched.”
Dantong added, “17 members are against the illegality, this is used the military, they used the Police, this is attempted coup. I was denied access to the Chambers but I forced myself in, the first thing I did was to take the maze and asked what was happening. If it was a sitting, I am a member, I should have been informed, it was not time for our sitting. This is illegality, we have passed this level.
“We have wrong people in the Executive who do not want to do the right thing and in our attempt to push them to do the right thing, they feel they are being pressured so they want to destabilize the legislative arm so that they can continue to perpetrate their evil in this State. They want to create chaos and lock the State House of Assembly so that they will have the free hand to do all that they want.”
The PDP Caucus in the House is yet to come up with a position on the matter as they are having a meeting to review the situation as explained by the Minority Leader, Peter Gyendeng.
Meanwhile, the Majority Leader of the House, Na’anlong Daniel refuted the claims of his colleagues that illegality took place in the House.
His words, “Yes, there is the House rule but that is not the constitution, we have 16 members who signed for the Speaker to be removed, he stands removed and we have a new Speaker now and he is Hon. Yakubu Sanda, the first among equal.”
In a reaction, the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the State has condemned the development, saying Governor Simon Lalong has been using Executive Powers to disrupt democracy in the state.
The Party through its Publicity Secretary, John Akans said: “our attention has been drawn to the orchestrated plans by Governor Simon Lalong to impeach the Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Ayuba Abok. The plan is being facilitated on behalf of Lalong by the Chief of Staff, Noel Dongjur and the Secretary to the State government, Prof Danladi Atu via a malicious petition, credited to one Abednego Musa, a faceless self seeking infiltrator masquerading as youths activist.
“The petition is being sponsored to maliciously discredit, undermine and ridicule the achievements and enviable records of Rt Hon Abok. We can only imagine the desperation in orchestrating a needless accountability agitation when the state, led by Governor Lalong is broken morally with cronyism, nepotism, parochialism and embezzlement. The identity of this faceless activist needs to be known.
“It is no longer news that all has not been well between the executive led by Governor Lalong and the legislative arm led by Abok. It is an open secret that the cause of this needless feud is due to the high handedness of Lalong against the people who also thought that the speaker is his appointee or head of one of the agencies of government.”
Akans added, “As a former Speaker, we expect Lalong to show respect to Abok and stop seeing him as a little boy. Former Governor Joshua Dariye who is older than Lalong did not show such heavy disdain for him when he held sway as Speaker. As a party we would have ignored this petition coming from a rabble rouser and unscrupulous individual who is trying to exploit the media to disseminate false claims and misconception in a bid to deceive the public against the Speaker who within two years in office has distinguished himself by standing with the people in their moment of tribulations and trials.
“As a party, we condemn this divisive and corrupt activities of a failed factional APC leadership in the state led by the drowning governor and his bunch of pretenders and infiltrators of no significant reputation. The PDP will not sit and watch these elements ridicule governance in the state as a result of the failed leadership of the governor, the party would stand vehemently against any illegality in defense of democracy and accountability.”
Meanwhile, the new Speaker, Yakubu Sanda has led Principal officers and some members of the House to the Government House to assure the Executive arm of its collaboration and cooperation in running the affairs of the State.
The new Speaker was received at the Government House by Secretary to the Government of the State Prof. Danladi Atu on behalf of the Governor.
Speaking during the visit, the Majority leader, Hon. Na’anlong Daniel said they were at the Government House in line with the tradition of the House to introduce the new leadership of the House whenever there is a change.
He said the new Speaker emerged after 16 of the 23 Members of the House signed the petition to impeach the former Speaker over series of allegations.
The new Speaker Hon. Yakubu Sanda said the new leadership of the House will work in synergy with the Executive and Judiciary for the peace, progress and development of Plateau State.
He said the House which now enjoys full autonomy will use its legislative powers to ensure that Government programs and projects impact the people at the grassroots level.
Responding on behalf of the Governor, Secretary to the Government of Plateau State Prof. Danladi Abok Atu said Governor Lalong and the entire Executive arm was surprised with the development, but nevertheless respects the decision of the House which is an autonomous organ that has powers to manage its internal affairs.
He assured the House that the doors of the Executive will always remain open for collaboration and cooperation with the legislature in delivering good governance and actualising the Rescue Agenda.
The Speaker was accompanied on the courtesy visit by Deputy Speaker Rt. Hon. Shehu Sale Yipmong, Majority leader and 10 other members.