About 300 policemen yesterday invaded the Adamawa State House of Assembly and prevented the legislators from sitting and performing their official duties.
The action was caused by a protest staged by some hoodlums over the impeachment of the speaker, Hon. Sadiq Ibrahim Dasin, and his deputy, Hon. Wale Fura, on Monday. But the police said that they were responding to threats of possible breakdown of law and order in the state.
The lawmakers sat under trees while the siege lasted. They left the place at about 5pm.
The lawmaker who moved the motion for the impeachment and who is also the minority leader of the Assembly, Hon. Jerry Kundisi, accused the executive arm of government of deploying the police to take over the Assembly because of perceived unfavourable attitude of the present leadership of the Assembly.
Hundreds of hoodlums had stormed the Assembly Complex at about 9am, protesting the removal of the former speaker and his deputy, which they said was is detrimental to the interest of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. They said the legislators were deliberately overheating the polity and undermining peace and stability in the state while also frustrating the efforts of the present state administration ahead of the 2012 governorship election.
However, the PDP youth leader in the state, Aliyu Bakari, reportedly appealed to the protesters to avoid any act that might breach the existing peace and stability in the state.
When our correspondent visited the Assembly Complex, a large number of riot policemen had taken it over. Efforts to reach the police public relation officer, Altine Daniel, were not fruitful as she was said to have travelled out of the state for an official assignment.
Members of the Assembly accused the impeached leadership of incompetence and failure to carry them along. It was learnt that the impeached speaker was too considered loyal to the executive.
However, LEADERSHIP gathered that the legislators are in a leadership tussle, following fears that Governor Murtala Nyako could vacate office, if the Supreme Court rules against him and four other governors seeking tenure elongation. Nyako is among the five governors who went to court to challenge the date their four-year tenure began to count given that their election in May 2007 was cancelled and they still won the subsequent rerun.
The other four are Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa), Aliyu Wamako (Sokoto), Liyel Imoke (Cross River) and Ibrahim Idris (Kogi). The Supreme Court is yet to deliver its judgment on the case but there are reports that the governors are likely to lose the case. The speakers of the states’ assemblies would be directed to take over the affairs of the states pending the conduct of fresh election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Speaking exclusively with LEADERSHIP yesterday, Kundisi said, “We have the constitutional right to remove our leaders. Seventeen members out of 25 voted for this impeachment and that makes the action valid. What really transpired yesterday is purely an internal legislative affair and has no external interference.”
Kundigi added that the speaker was not impeached because of any friction with the governor. He said that members of the Assembly had resorted to sit under trees outside the Assembly Complex, and that the police still had the Assembly premises sealed off as at 5pm yesterday when he and his colleagues left for their homes.
The rivalry between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar came to the fore yesterday as both of them were named in a 23-member Adamawa gubernatorial campaign committee ahead of the January 14, 2011, election in the state.
Also, Vice President Namadi Sambo yesterday said the PDP won the Kogi governorship election in a free and fair contest, contary to claims by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) that it was scientifically rigged.
He stated this yesterday during the inauguration of the 23-member committee at the headquarters of the party in Abuja.
According to the list, Obasanjo and his estranged deputy Atiku were on the list of prominent Nigerians who will lead the campaign to ensure that the party wins the Adamawa election. While Atiku was present at the inauguration, the former president was absent.
Other members of the committee include: Senate President David Mark, speaker of the House of Representatives Hon Aminu Tambuwal, Chief Tony Anenih, Gov Chibuike Amaechi and all governors from the North-East zone.
Others are former governor of old Gongola State, Alhaji Bamangar Tukur, Shettima Mustapha and Hassan Adamu.
Sambo, who is also the chairman of the committee, said the victory of the party in last Saturday’s governorship election in Kogi State has confirmed to all that PDP and its administrators believe in a free and fair election, because the INEC chairman said the Kogi election was free and fair.
Addressing members of his team, he said: “I strongly believe, with these people of timber and caliber, there is no doubt that PDP will deliver Adamawa State. I don’t know why other parties are wasting their time.”
He added that documentation was almost completed on the Mambilla power project, with the Adamawa State government, and that if completed it will be able to generate 40 MWs of electricity. He also said Adamawa is a clear leader when it comes to advances in the agricultural sector.
The acting national chairman of the party, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, mandated the committee to give all its time, energy and resources to make the election success, adding that the NWC would sit back from a close distance and watch them “deliver the keys of Adamawa government to us”.