Gov. Bagudu, Kebbi State Assembly on war path over welfare
• Lawmakers Consider Impeachment
At a time Governor Atiku Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State is leading some colleagues in the All Progressives Congress (APC) to broker amicable resolution of the political crisis in Edo State, legislators in his state are threatening fire and brimstone against him.
Investigation by The Guardian revealed that members of Kebbi State House of Assembly are on loggerheads with the governor over alleged refusal to implement some recent resolutions by the lawmakers.
It was gathered that the lawmakers had, during an emergency meeting, issued three resolutions and called on Bagudu to implement them with the urgency they deserve. The lawmakers also warned that failure to execute the mandates would compel them to take ‘necessary’ actions to protect their constitutional rights and responsibilities.
Almost one month after the lawmakers issued the threats, the governor is said to be unperturbed by the legislators’ moves to commence impeachment proceedings against him.
The Guardian gathered that the legislators have decided to make good their threats. Confirming the Assembly’s stance, one of the lawmakers, who pleaded anonymity, explained that the members are working hard to fine-tune the processes for the governor’s impeachment for failing to implement their resolutions.
“We don’t want to be a rubber stamp to the governor. We were elected by our people to serve Kebbi State. We need to fulfil our obligations as lawmakers. People are suffering and nothing is moving in the State,” the lawmaker said.
While expressing dismay at the attitude of the executive towards issues of people’s wellbeing, the second term legislator stressed that they have decided to wake up and change the business of governance by making things work.
On claims that the lawmakers were being sponsored by some ambitious politicians to distract the governor, the lawmaker denied, saying on the contrary, “the masses are the ones accusing us of not doing our work. As you can see, nothing is moving in Kebbi State. In my constituency, most of my project proposals were not approved. What am I going to tell my people that electing me,” he queried.
Further checks by The Guardian showed that the lawmakers seem to be doing the bidding of one of Governor Bagudu’s aides, who controls more than 60 per cent of the political appointees in the state, especially the special advisers and senior special assistants to the governor that have not been paid their salaries and allowances.
Trouble between the governor and the lawmakers took a twist, when the legislators in a surprise move, issued statements condemning the manner the state government was handling the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on the issues of palliatives.
In a statement made available to journalists, the chairman, House of Assembly Committee on Information, Hon. Mohammed Tukur Shanga, said there was no strong indication to show that the state government was committed to supporting the people to manage the eventualities trailing the containment measures against the pandemic.
The Assembly, therefore, called on the state government to immediately review activities of the COVID-19 taskforce in order to curtail spread of the virus, as well as preserve the people’s wellbeing.
“It is our stand that all indications show that the commitment of the state government towards fighting the coronavirus is grossly inadequate,” the statement added.
The Assembly also disclosed that the level of palliative provision for the public to cushion the hardship, in compliance with the guidelines of the state COVID-19 Taskforce was next to zero.
The House Committee chairman, Tukur Shanga, said the State Government’s effort to pay the 2019 leave grants to local government staff, as part of palliative to cushion the effect of COVID-19 was being abused.
In their second resolution, the lawmakers urged the government to provide fertiliser and other additives to farmers in the state for the wet farming season, just as they demanded that the 100 tractors already procured should be distributed within one week.
“Through the information received from the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, it was noticed that no single bag of fertiliser was provided for the 2020 wet season farming. In view of the foregoing, this honourable House is calling on the state government, as a matter of urgency, to procure sufficient fertiliser for the 2020 wet farming,” the lawmakers demanded.
The legislators also released another statement in which they called on the executive to expedite action on the distribution of grains from the strategic grains reserve to the vulnerable groups in the state.
Disturbed by the state government’s indifference, the legislators passed another resolution urging government to expedite payment of all outstanding salary arrears to political appointees, as well as the benefits of retired civil servants to reflate the state’s economy.
In a statement signed by the Committee’s Vice Chairman on information, Hon. Samaila Sahlihu Bui, the House of Assembly mandated government to assign portfolios to the SAs and SSAs, including their remunerations and also constitute the governing boards of agencies and parastatals in the state.
Among the legislators’ unheeded directives is the call on Local Government chairmen to release N5, 000 paid to some local government staff, who are beneficiaries of the money and to continue with the exercise to reduce the mounting hardship among the masses.
However, the Special Adviser to the governor on Media, Yahaya Sariki, dismissed the alleged plots to impeach his principal, saying what the lawmakers are doing has to do with politics and attempt to show relevance.
Sariki said Governor Bagudu has continued to serve the people with even distribution of amenities and projects, pointing out that it is possible that ambitious politicians are not happy with the attention the governor is giving to the less privileged.
In the coming days, it remains to be seen how far Governor Atiku Bagudu will go in putting out the fire in his backyard, especially as it seems the Speaker, Ismaila Kamba, wants to assert his authority as the first among equals in the State House of Assembly.
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