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Achuba’s Impeachment: The Die Is Cast In Kogi

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SAM EGWU in this report writes on the power play that led to the impeachment of erstwhile deputy governor of Kogi State, Elder Simon Achuba

The dust over the impeachment saga of former deputy governor of Kogi state, Elder Simon Achuba seems to have finally settled with the swearing in of former Chief of Staff the Governor, Edward David Onoja. Kogi House of Assembly declared that the last  Friday’s impeachment of the former deputy governor,  stands and there is no going back on the verdict passed by the entire House. House Leader, Hassan Bello, Ajaokuta APC) who spoke on behalf of the house, accused the judicial panel of inquiry of compromise on the assignment given them.

Bello said, “Based on the Rule of Procedure given to members of the panel, their assignment was a fact-finding one, and were not required to give any resolution. The panel submitted report to us and based on their report, we gave our verdict. The rule of procedure says that the Panel is a fact finding panel; they are not to give judgment and it was in the rule of procedure which they accepted. They are not suppose give any verdict in this circumstance.

“The decision of whether the deputy governor is guilty or not guilty is that of the House. If you look at Section 188(11), it says the House of Assembly is the only authority which determines what is gross misconduct. It is not for the panel to say proved or not proved.”

On the issue of the Panel’s report flying everywhere, the House had said they don’t know where that is coming from, even the report in the public is not signed, for us, we know that the panel has comprised in the process’ In the rule of procedure, it was written boldly that the Panel shall not give the report of their investigation to anybody except to the House of Assembly. We questioned the rationale  of the panel chairman, Barr. John Baiyeshea who is credited to have spoken on the issue. What is his interest? “So, if the panel has gone ahead to release the report to anybody, that means they compromised.

“It is a known facts that impeached deputy governor were on some national television stations discussing issues that should be a classified information about the state government, going against the oath of secrecy he sword by himself, you mean that is not amount to a gross misconduct. Even at the panel, Elder Simon Achuba confirmed that he did appear on those stations, how come the panel said it was not proved. In a none shield his actions already negates the oath of secrecy, is that not gross misconduct? Achuba also lied that he was not paid his salary when the schedules of payment showed clearly that he was paid. These and many more shows that he negates his function as a deputy governor.

“Basically, our action was based on the report of the panel and there is no going back from what we have done. If he is not comfortable with our decision, he can go to court.”

We didn’t indict Kogi deputy governor yet lawmakers removed him, says panel.

However, the  chairman of the panel of inquiry set up by the Chief Judge of Kogi state as required by the constitution,  John Baiyeshea,  ( SAN), to investigate allegations of gross misconduct against Simon Achuba, the former deputy governor, says his committee could not prove the allegations levelled against Achuba. Describing the announcement that Achuba had been removed by Kogi State House of Assembly has being “the most bizarre thing that I have ever heard in my life.”

Baiyeshea said the report of the panel was submitted when the house was not in session. He further said in accordance with the law, the lawmakers could not have commenced impeachment proceedings since the panel could not prove the allegations against Achuba.

“This is the most bizarre thing that I have ever heard in my life,” he said in an interview. Adding that; “we submitted the report to the speaker around 1pm and I left Lokoja for Abuja. I was at Gwagwalada area when one of the panel’s members who had not left Lokoja called to tell me that he saw it on television that the deputy governor had been impeached.

The chairman stated further that; “As far as the report that we submitted to the house of assembly is concerned, the committee returned the decision that all the allegations were not proved. What the constitution said by section 188(8) is that, ‘once the panel returns a verdict like that. No further proceedings can be taken on it.’ “That is it. It is only when the panel returns a verdict that allegations have been proved (to be true) that they can go ahead within 40 days. When did the house sit? We delivered the documents and the house was not even in session today.”

In the panel report, Achuba was accused of financial misappropriation, deliberate disdain for decisions of Kogi executive council and absconding from official duties among others. But the panel made it clear that the allegations could not be substantiated.

“In line with Section 188(8) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) quoted herein before, we hereby report to the Kogi State House of Assembly that the allegations contained in the Notice of Allegations admitted in evidence by this Panel as Exhibit C7 have not been proved,” the report reads.

Nevertheless, Achuba  vacated the official quarters to his private home with a note that his impeachment was against a the rule of law.

Speaker of Kogi state House of Assembly,  Rt Hon Matthew Kolawole, while speaking on the development, noted that  the Assembly had a hectic time to arrive at the obvious allegations against the former deputy governor, Simon Achuba which were swept under the carpet by the judicial panel, noting the Assembly has taken it’s decision.

“Given the level of the prevailing development and the well known fact that Kogi people are resilient, Yahaya Bello remains choice of the people to deliver dividend of democracy. Obviously, come November 2019 gubernatorial election, the people will have no choice but to decisively take their political destiny to their own hands to affect fundamental decision.

“Having tested the terrain of Kogi State and located the geographic positioning system, to know the needs of the people, in November 16, the people of Kogi State will eagerly look forward to a leader in the mould and personality of Alhaji Yahaya Bello  with his rich credentials of a patriot to assuage their pains with love, care and empathy with a pedigree of hard work, diligence, resourcefulness, commitment, humility, unblemished records, impeccable integrity, visionary foresight and well known penchant for selfless service.

“As a silent achiever he has proved himself far among those who are aspiring to govern the good people of the state. He has proved beyond description long before now, he has shown enough capacity to bring the people out of the pains. Ankpa township road which has been a nightmare to the residents through many governors from among Igalas has been completed and put to use, Ibana- Okpo- Ogugu- Ette road has received attention and work has reached 95 per cent completion. In advancing his quest to show his love for the people, Igala unity square, a project abandoned by the Igalas was completed in record time by Yahaya Bello. Dekina township road project which was abandoned now has revved to life. Of significant note is Umomi Idah road project, the longest in the annals of Kogi road network has the sympathy of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, a road network which at a point puts people away from visiting Idah, no matter the price.”

He opined, the ongoing massive clamour by individuals and groups for Yahaya Bello to contest for the second term as governor of the state, is indeed a clarion call for him to step up action to distinguishes himself far and above others who want to join issues with to step forward and present their credentials to prove themselves the stuff they are made of. That is why a group has stepped forward to purchase form for the young talented Yahaya Bello.

According to him, a leader is considered visionary, if he plays the role of a pathfinder in navigating the roadmap leading to the well being and socio-economic empowerment of his people. With the unfolding scenario and the dire need for a genuine, visionary and people centred leadership which the people of Kogi State are yearning for in 2019, GOV BELLO comes handy as a beacon of hope for the enthronement of a leader with empathy, love, care and concern for the people.

“History has repeatedly shown that there is hardly any successful leader without a clear cut vision. Visionary leaders know where they are going even if it is not clear to their followers from day one. They set targets for themselves and have clear idea of how to get at their goal. Unlike many other political leaders who come to governance by shear accident, unprepared and clueless, with the ultimate aim of amassing wealth, the likes of Yahaya Bello is sufficiently equipped and prepared for governance.

“Beyond his wealth of experience, exposure and impressive track records, Yahaya Bello cuts the picture of a leader with clear cut strategic vision. Vision and strategy formulation are among the most important responsibilities of any genuine leadership. It is something a leader cannot actualise without an in-depth study and understanding of his geo-political environment. Given his far flung exposure and his time tested quest and aspiration to govern Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello stands out from the pack of other gubernatorial aspirants as the one who has the excellent mastery of the job of human capital development. He is surefooted best bet come November 16, 2019. The time to put our best foot forward, is now.”

Meanwhile, looking critically at the unfolding events in Kogi State as election is a matter of days and Kogi electorates are set for the November 16 governorship polls, Catholic Bishops in the state have charged the electorates to vote wisely in order to usher in credible leaders with the fear of God to restore the needed good governance in the state. The plea was contained in a Pastoral Message to the people of the state signed by the Bishops of Lokoja Diocese, Martin Olorunmolu and his  Idah counterpart, Anthony Adaji which was made available to journalists in Lokoja, the state capital yesterday.

According to the Bishops “we believe that God loves our dear Kogi state and wants all of us, the people of the state, to live in peace and harmony so as to attain social progress and development under God fearing, capable and honest leaders who will have the welfare of us at heart.”

The Bishops described as unfortunate the  sufferings the people of the state have passed through as a result of bad governance, especially in recent times and urged the electorates to do the needful with the incoming opportunity of electing candidates of their choice come November 16. The Bishops further maintained that “As chief shepherds, God has given us the responsibility to counsel you on any important social or spiritual matter that affects or will affect your lives significantly in various ways, going by the Scripture saying that the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.”

They also urged the electorates to  be thoughtful, careful and prayerful  in  electing another set of leaders in Kogi to avert the hardships and painful experience of  the past bad leadership that had resulted to delay and irregular payment of workers salaries as well as lack of provision of basic infrastructure in the state. The men of God however, noted that attempts are now being made to pay salaries even in small percentages but reminded the people  of the damages that have been done before the recent improvement. They therefore, urged the people to see the forthcoming election as a golden opportunity to elect leaders that will make their welfare priority number.

The tantrum between members of some political parties and their candidates against the ruling APC government has become dramatic and melodramatic. The gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), in the November poll in Kogi state, Engineer Ayodele Raymond Ajibola has dissociated himself and his party from the endorsement of the APC candidate, Governor Yahaya Bello by forty five political parties in the state.

Engineer Ajibola who spoke to newsmen yesterday in Lokoja, said his party was not and would never be part of any endorsement because he is prepared and ready to square it up with anyone in the forthcoming election slated for November 16. He said he has toiled and sweated to emerge as the candidate of one of the oldest political party in Nigeria, PRP, and as such would never trade his credibility for peanut offered to political parties by the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) to publicly endorse Bello. According to him, ”we are prepared to go into the election with all seriousness and as such won’t sell ourselves and party to any party and candidate whatsoever noting “it’s borne out of figment of their imagination.”

In a similar vein, the candidate of Hope Democratic Party (HDP), Engr Abdulmalik Mohammed Adama said his party has nothing to do with the endorsement. “We have received several calls from our teaming supporters to confirm Hope Democratic Party (HDP)’s position in Governor Yahaya Bello’s second term bid as we were allegedly mentioned among the 45 parties that threw in their support him.

“We want to categorically make clear that we do not have anything to do with Hon Sani Teidi and Hon Itodo led arrangements in that regard. Hope Democratic Party (HDP) remain focused with its agenda to transform Kogi State to a leading most attractive and sort for state in Nigeria.

“Hope Democratic Party (HDP) is the first party to be endorsed in Kogi State by INEC and we remain resolute with our position as the Third Force in the state determined to ensure a secure Kogi State and create unprecedented massive infrastructural developments and employment opportunities for our teaming unemployed youths and the masses.”

Also, the candidate of the Green Party of Nigeria, (GNP), for the governorship election, Sir Victor Akubo King, also distanced himself and his party from the purported coalition that endorsed Governor Yahaya Bello for a second term in office. In a news conference in Lokoja,  Sir Akubo said that he and his party, the Green Party of Nigeria has not and will not endorse another candidate as he was in the race to rescue the state from poor governance and maladministration. He said he came on board to vie for the seat so as to ensure security of lives and property, address the decaying infrastructure such as roads, housing and electricity. The governorship candidate also said that he would ensure agricultural development through high tech facilities,  prioritize education and human capital development as well as support and sustain the Independence of the youths,  women and the old through empowerment programmes. H e called on the people of the state and his teaming supporters to disregard the porported endorsement as he remains a valid candidate for the election. With this development, the cloud is still not clear.

Meanwhile, spokesman of Bello/Onoja Governorship Campaigns, Mr Kingsley Fanwo has described Kogi PDP as a party drowning in its lies. Fanwo stated this in Lokoja while responding to an allegation by PDP that Governor Yahaya Bello had imported tainted vehicles for possible rigging.

He said, the allegation was “another PDP-Made garment of falsehood”, saying the Governor has already “shown his capacity and readiness to win the election.”

“The combination of Governor Yahaya Bello with the master strategist, Chief Edward Onoja was too hot for the PDP to handle saying they don’t even know if they will have a candidate yet as there are litigations challenging their inconclusive midnight primary.

“It is therefore understandable that they have chosen the ignoble path of promoting lies to mislead the good people of Kogi State pointing out that November 16 Governorship election will be the most peaceful, fairest and freest in the political history of the state. “All their lies and allegations of non-performance against the Governor has been pummeled by the reality on ground. We have developed their villages and towns and it has become obvious that the PDP is striving to avoid issue-based campaign.

“We are prepared to engage the PDP because the record of the Governor speaks from itself from Water provision to road construction and education, health and security. Let them come up with issues and stop creating further confusion for their party. “PDP has been dazed by the mass defection from their party to APC. They know the game is up. Kogi State will never go back to the terrible era of PDP”.

Fanwo warned PDP of the consequences of giving misleading and false information, challenging the party to show proof of their allegations.

“Security Agencies are fortified to deal with insecurity in the State. The Governor will never subscribe to violence. This election is about the good of the present and the evil of the past”, he said; urging Kogi State people not to panic as security agents have been charged to ensure security of lives and property before, during and after the election.

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