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How Kano Assembly Speaker Evaded Impeachment Plot



Recently, the move to change the leadership of Kano State House of Assembly created a scene reminiscent of theatrical performances. In this report, ABDULGAFAR OLADIMEJI looks at the drama that still got many talking in the ancient city.

On Tuesday 15th May, at about 11am, the 24 unrepentant and pro-impeachment lawmakers led by the erstwhile speaker, Kabiru Alhassan Rurum, decided to invade the Assembly complex, moving in a motorcade and they arrived armed with a new mace.

Though short of the required 27 signatories to form the simple majority to unseat the embattled Speaker, the furious lawmakers at the gate of the Assembly complex, proceeded to pronounce the removal of some Principal Officers, namely the chief whip, Hon. Labaran Abdul Madari (Warawa constituency) and deputy majority leader, Hon. Muhammad Bello Butu-Butu (Rimin Gado/Tofa constituency).

The group announced Hon. Abdullahi Iliyasu Yaryasa (Tudun Wada Constituency) as the new chief whip, while Hon. Ayuba Labaran Durum (Kabo constituency) emerged as new deputy majority whip.

The group further affirmed its confidence in Hon. Abdulaziz Garba Gafasa (Ajingi constituency) who they avowed should continue as the majority leader; Hon Kabiru Dashi, they said would hold forth as deputy majority leader.

The combination of security personnel drawn from officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) were not excluded from the theatre acts, they were engaged in a near fisticuffs with the lawmakers, who accused the security operatives of infringing and obstructing them from exercising their constitutional responsibility.

Unknown to unsuspecting Kano residents widely known to be meticulous traders but not politically naive, the aggrieved members of the Kano State House of Assembly were neck deep into a surreptitious move to stage a political drama that would have shaken the very foundation of government in the state.

They had mustered a venom that would shut down the workings of their leader, the Speaker of the Kano State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Yusuf Abdullahi Ata, in a self styled ‘Gestapo’ way. Hon. Ata who represents Fagge constituency was so lucky that the venom invested knife of his colleagues was spotted and information filtered into his ears.

The secret impeachment moves had suffered setback even to the chagrin of the proponents as the secret plans of the actors got leaked out to the target, who hurriedly put up his defence mechanism to save his head from the shinning blade of his aggressors.

To save the day, mobile police personnel were drafted to seal off the Assembly complex to the surprise of many who were in touch with activities of the house.

Many had wondered on whose instruction did the police officers acted by sealing off the Assembly complex.

The distraught members in justifying their surprised move accused the Speaker of high handedness, dictatorial tendencies and for allegedly engaging in act of misappropriation, and like a disgruntled school boy, ‘lateness’ which leads the House to late sittings.

A member of the House of Assembly, who spoke to LEADERSHIP on the condition of anonymity revealed that 24 out of the 40 lawmakers of the House had signed the impeachment notice against the embattled Speaker.

The source alleged that Rt. Hon. Yusuf Abullahi Atta, was ‘guilty of misconducts and kept treating his colleagues as inferiors’.

Immediate past speaker of the state House of Assembly and member representing Rano constituency, Rt. Hon. Kabir Alhassan Rirum, alleged that, the incumbent Speaker in efforts to evade impeachment, scrumptiously directed the House to proceed on recess under the pretense of  observing the Holy month of Ramadan.

Rumours were also rife that the Speaker, courtesy of his loyalists, removed the mace and relocated the legislative symbol of authority like a pen to an unknown safe haven to prevent the venom filled lawmakers from injecting and paralysing his power of control of the Hallowed Chamber of the Kano State House of Assembly.

Rt. Hon Kabi Alhasan Rirum, was allegedly tipped to be the mastermind behind the efforts to oust the incumbent Speaker of the House, with the intention to stage a come back to the plump job he vacated 11 months ago. His resignation as speaker was said to have been triggered by claims of misappropriation of funds and bribery scandal.

Rirum, when quizzed over the ongoing efforts to exit his successor said, “We have the needed quorum to go ahead with our impeachment moves because we cannot allow this act of dictatorship.”

Stern looking police personnel kept vigil at the assembly while the political theatre lasted. Visitors under any guise were barred from entering the Assembly complex, as the complex was under police blockade for 72 hours, members of staff were also denied access into the complex.

Twenty-four hours after the mace went missing, and the Assembly complex was still under the police siege. The angry faction of the House converged at the gate of the complex, where they announced the sacking of some principal officers of the House.

Spokesman of the aggrieved group, Hon. Bappa Dan Agundi, while addressing journalists on the impasse, said, 24 members had signed the impeachment notice against the Speaker.

When contacted to comment on the plot to unseat him, the Speaker, who obviously escaped sudden loss of job went philosophical, saying, “As a\ Muslim who believes in destiny, I will accept my impeachment in good faith, in everything, there is a starting and ending point.

“If Allah has designed it that my time is up, nobody will extend it by a second. And if it is not time, nobody can remove me from office, that is my belief. My happiness is that I did not steal anybody’s money; so, if today, they remove me from office, I will leave, but nobody will accuse me of stealing. I have a constituency that I am representing.”

Governor Ganduje to the rescue

As the crisis continued to degenerate and was creating an atmosphere of uncertainty in the state legislative machinery, the Kano State governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, resorted to mediate over the matter, appointing himself a ‘peace maker’ with one mandate ‘to save the state from a political debacle’ and finding a way out the crisis.

Ganduje, same Tuesday night summoned a reconciliation meeting at the Kano State Government House. The concerned parties honoured the invitation of their state chief executive, and after series of vituperations, a truce was reached.

The House convened on Thursday as announced, with 36 members out of the 40 lawmakers in attendance.

The plenary session which lasted for over one hour, flagged off at about 11: 29 am while all parties were fully represented.

The Speaker, while addressing the plenary held in the aftermath of the impasse said, “I received information that a new deputy majority leader and the chief whip have been appointed to the House in persons of Hon. Muhammad

Bello Butu Butu and Hon. Baffa Dan-Agundi of Kano municipal constituency as the new chief whip, Hon. Sanusi Bataitya to serve as deputy majority leader and Hon. Ayuba Labaran Durum to serve as majority whip.”

The deputy speaker then stood and announced his resignation which he said he did in the interest of peace.

The former speaker and alleged arrow ahead of the impasse, Rirum, was nominated and voted in as the new deputy speaker, by members in attendance. He was immediately administered with the oath of office.

Keen watchers of the development have continued to made their comments on the impasse that rattled the state legislature. Many are of the opinion that permutations are clear that the crisis would sooner again rear its ugly head.

Kano based constitutional lawyer, Barrister Umar Suleiman, while reacting to the crisis, said, there is no outright constitutional breach in all that transpired while the impasse lasted.

He however, queried the way and manner the police got involved in the crisis. He further queried that “on whose instruction were the police acting, when they sealed off the Assembly complex?”

He further expressed worries over the state governor’s summoning the members of the House of Assembly to a reconciliation parley session, saying this

could be described as interference by the executive arm of government. He added that this singular act is in contrast to the spirit of the Separations of powers as enshrined in the constitution.