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Executive shadow in Taraba Assembly Speaker’s ‘impeachment’

By Charles Akpeji, Jalingo
06 December 2019   |   3:43 am
The impeachment, which necessitated the recent development that led to the resignation of the former Speaker, Hon. Abel Peter Diah, was said to have been instigated by the state governor, Mr. Darius Dickson Ishaku..

One big question that continues to trail Nigeria’s democracy as it pertains to the relationship between the executive and legislative arm of government is, who owns state assemblies? That question resonated recently when the Speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly, Mr. Abel Peter Diah, was embroiled in impeachment brouhaha and the state government was fingered to have been complicit in the act. It was clear enough to keen followers of Taraba State politics that the battle line was drawn between the executive and the legislative arm, when the former Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Alhaji Danladi M. Gwampo, was impeached by his colleagues.

The impeachment, which necessitated the recent development that led to the resignation of the former Speaker, Hon. Abel Peter Diah, was said to have been instigated by the state governor, Mr. Darius Dickson Ishaku, who many believed was not pleased with the removal of Gwampo who, it was learnt, was an intimate friend of Ishaku.

While it was alleged that about N200 million was deployed to facilitate the upheaval in the Assembly and the speaker’s consequent attempted impeachment before he promptly resigned voluntarily to save face,, some persons who are presently working round the clock to promote peace in the state are, however, calling on the various parties to put aside their differences for the interest of the state.

After successfully putting the security situation in the state under check when the government engaged hunters who now comb all the forests and mountains in search of kidnappers and other hoodlums who, it would seem, have relocated outside the state, political tension was the last thing Tarabans expected to spoil their mood before Christmas. However, the leadership of Youths in Support of Good Governance has urged the people of the state, especially those alleging that the governor was behind the upheaval, to desist from smearing his name as “even industrialized states like Lagos cannot afford to throw away such amount of money on the head of one man” just to remove him from office.

The group is of the view that the state, under the present leadership of Governor Ishaku, cannot afford to toy with taxpayers’ money, and wants all hands to be on deck by giving the much desired peace for the governor to champion the growth needed in the state. Led by its state’s Coordinator, Pius K, Noah, the youths have lent their weight behind even development of the state and called on troublemakers to desist and give peace a chance.

Also calling on the new leadership of the Assembly to put aside their differences to join hands with the executive to catapult the state to new heights, Noah reiterated their determination to work round the clock in order to halt the party from sinking, stating that “our goal is not only to unite all the three arms of government but to as well ensure that our state remains in peace.”

Wondering why “some few overzealous elements have continued to distract the governor” who they said “recently triumphed at the Court of Appeal over the opposition parties,” the state, as observed by the youth group, “would continue to drag its feet pending when all hands are willing to be on deck by supporting those we elected as our leaders.

Even though the opposition parties, especially All Progressives Congress {APC}, are already taking advantage of the unrest, the group is, however, leaving no stones unturned to ensure stability in Taraba PDP, especially among the youths who they said overzealous politicians usually engage to cause chaos.

According to Noah, “We, the youths, are very much aware of the recent development in our dear state, but felt sad that some persons who are seeking cheap popularity are now going about soiling the image of our governor. Our governor has never for once interfered in the affairs of the House and will never do that,” saying the ongoing disagreement “is normal with legislators in all the states assemblies across the county” hence the need for Tarabans to let sleeping dogs lie “by giving peace a chance.”

Noah and his team, who described the allegation of monetary inducement to impeach the former speaker as false, could not fathom why some persons derive “joy in tarnishing the image of their fellow men rather than joining hands to move our dear state and country forward.”

Also lending his weight behind Youths in Support of Good Governance, some members of the state’s House of Assembly, who spoke with our correspondent, denied the allegation making the round that they were lured with gifts by the executive arm of government to commence impeachment process on the former speaker.According to the Majority Leader, Douglas Ndase, “Our decision to do what we did was not influenced by the governor or anybody. So, it is unfortunate for some persons to go about castigating the governor that he gave us money to force the former speaker to resign.”

In the same vein, the leadership of the party has as well frowned at those accusing the party chairman, Victor Bala Kona, of using his position to frustrate the former speaker from office, stating that “both the party and the executive have no constitutional powers to interfere in the affairs of the House of Assembly.”The Public Relations Officer of the party, Alhaji Inuwa Bakari, who made this known, observed that those peddling false rumours “are those who do not wish the party chairman well,” adding, “the chairman was not even in town when the crisis started.”Bakari, who also agreed that the “state does not have such money to waste,” said the major dream of the state is to make the people reap the dividends of democracy irrespective of party differences.

The leadership of APC, who The Guardian observed were keenly taking advantage of the impasse, is now optimistic that “some disgruntled elements “from PDP would soon find their way to the APC.”APC’s state chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Tukur El-Sudi, who made this known to our correspondent, said the party would leave no stone unturned in order to take advantage of the ongoing difference, which, according to him, “is long overdue.”

On it parts, the leadership of PDP opined that the party would not only come out of the in-house crisis stronger, but would further unite Taraba as the party, according to Bakari, would continue to support the governor. Also assuring that “there is no division among the members and the executive,” the newly elected Speaker, Kunini, debunked the allegation that the recent development was sponsored by the governor, stating that “nobody or group compelled us to do what we did.”Kunini, who said the house was in intact and would continue to work as a family, was observed to have recently trod the path of the governor as he and his colleagues paid condolence visit to the former speaker, who recently lose his sister.

Contrary to speculations that the centre could no longer hold between the Assembly and the executive, the former speaker has reiterated his determination join forces with the new leadership of the House and the executive arm of government to catapult the state to greater heights.

In his congratulatory message to the new Speaker, Diah, who offered no reason for his resignation, expressed profound appreciation to the state governor “for the good working relation they had while he (Diah) served as the speaker of the state’s House of Assembly.”

Also to the members who he said “resolutely stood by me during my trying period,” Diah reiterated his determination “to remain committed to the peaceful coexistence of Taraba State, saying, “My resignation has accordingly placed the interest of the state above anything else.”

Though some persons are of the view that the said impasse had political colouration ahead of 2023 calculations, political analysts and some chieftains of PDP, however, frowned at the insinuation, stating that holding tenaciously to the already existing zoning arrangements which, if adhered to, the next governorship flag bearer of the party would emerge from the North Senatorial zone of the state as both the south and the central zones have all respectively produced the state governor.