‘Aliyu violated constitution in handing over to speaker’
REACTIONS have continued to trail Governor Babangida Aliyu’s recent hand over of the reigns of the state to the Speaker of the House of House of Assembly as he traveled out of the country, with the former Chief Whip, House of Representatives in the Fourth Republic, Abubakar Bawa Bwari, saying it was a gross violation of the nation’s constitution.
In a statement in Minna, Bwari said the governor’s action contravened Section 190 of the Nigerian Constitution, which states clearly that in the event that a governor is not available to do his functions, the power to act in his stead automatically rests on the deputy governor of that state.
“The section clearly sets down the processes which, in sum, directs the governor to transmit a letter to the speaker of the House that he would not be available for a specified period of time,” he observed.
“Immediately such a letter is received by the speaker, the deputy governor automatically assumes the reigns until the governor transmits another letter to the speaker that he was available and ready to resume his duties.”
Therefore, “the action of Governor Aliyu in not following this laid down process is a violation of the constitution and is thus an impeachable offence.
“The fact is, any blatant disobedience of the constitution by a public office holder can be ground of impeachment, the constitution is not anybody’s plaything and we cannot choose when to obey it and when not to do so.”
According to him, “the Office of the Deputy Governor is vital to any functional democracy, it is not an addendum and that is why no governor is elected without first naming a deputy with whom he hopes to lead the state. To the best of my knowledge, we still have a serving deputy governor in Niger State. The position is not like that of a party minion that can be trifled with”
Referring to his eight years at the National Assembly, Bwari maintained that he was aware that this particular constitutional provision mandating chief executives to hand over to their deputies whenever they are unavailable to do their job has been violated on a number of occasions.
“However, that does not make it right and we must begin to insist that constitutional provisions be followed to the letter if our democracy must grow,” he noted.
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