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Issues As Gombe Assembly Impeaches Deputy Speaker

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Gombe State House of Assembly last Tuesday suddenly impeached its deputy speaker, Shuaibu Adamu Haruna, a move that indicated a brewing rift between the executive and legislative arms of government, writes JAIYEOLA ANDREWS

Barely three days after 21 commissioners that were screened and confirmed by Gombe State House of Assembly were sworn in by Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya,  the deputy speaker, Shuaibu Adamu Haruna was impeached by lawmakers for reasons left for watchers of political events in the state to grapple with.

 

Composition of the House

Gombe State House of Assembly, is made up of 24 members, with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) having the chunk number of 19 members to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) five. With the statistics, it is expected that it will be a smooth sail between the executive and legislative arms of government in terms of cooperation, but that may not be the case in Gombe State if the unfolding events are anything to go by.

At the inception of the government of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, till the period leading to the forwarding of commissioners nominees to the house by the governor, the relationship between the executive and legislature had been cordial, with no sign of visible thawing in the relationship.

 

Cementing of relationship

The relationship between the legislature and the executive in Gombe State is thought by many to have been cemented, following the presence of the speaker of the House of Assembly, Abubakar Kurba in all the engagements the governor had been having either at the government house or outside of it.

The presence of the speaker at all the engagements of the governor received commendations from several quarters in the state as a sign of good things to come in the smooth governance of the state.

It was also greeted with knocks in some quarters on the ground that it may lead to the legislature being a stooge of the executive and as such may not be independent.

The governor at different fora, expressed his delight at the cordial relationship between the executive and the legislature, promising to concretise the cordial relationship between the two arms of government for good governance and for the benefit of the people of the state.

Also, the speaker, at different fora, pledged the cooperation of the legislature to the executive in the onerous task of moving Gombe State to the next level.

 

Sign of strained relationship

A distressed relationship between the two arms of government became noticeable when the names of commissioner nominees were sent to the house by the governor for screening and confirmation, an exercise that the lawmakers were said to have carried out grudgingly because of the governor’s refusal to meet “the demands of the lawmakers”, a top government source who pleaded anonymity, confided in LEADERSHIP Sunday.

The refusal of Yahaya to grant the requests of the lawmakers, checks indicated, culminated into the agreement reached by them to boycott all engagements of the executive arm of government until their demands are met.

 

Alleged demands by the lawmaker

A top government source who spoke to LEADERSHIP Sunday while pleading anonymity, said the lawmakers allegedly made outrageous demands from the governor for the screening and confirmation of the commissioners, a demand that the governor is said to have turned down.

It was also alleged that the lawmakers asked the governor to approve the purchase of new vehicles for their legislative duties, a request Yahaya is said to have turned down on the ground of the current lean resources of the state, and also on the ground that as the governor, he is using old vehicles left by his predecessors without purchasing new ones for his official use.

 

Boycott of swearing in ceremony

As the acrimony between the executive and legislature intensifies albeit discreetly, the lawmakers, checks indicated, hatched a plan to express their anger and press home their demands, and in achieving that, they resolved to boycott the swearing in ceremony of 21 commissioners they had screened and confirmed.

The swearing in ceremony which was graced by Emirs, traditional rulers, who-is-who in Gombe, including the former governor of the state and now a senator, Danjuma Goje, the absence of the speaker, Abubakar Kurba and other lawmakers were conspicuous, except Hon. Shuaibu Adamu Haruna, the deputy speaker who graced the occasion.

 

Hitting the gavel against Haruna

LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that the presence of the deputy speaker at the swearing in ceremony of the commissioners, which is said to have been collectively agreed by all lawmakers to be boycotted, irked the lawmakers to move for his impeachment.

The lawmakers waited till Tuesday to effect the impeachment, as the swearing in ceremony was on Saturday while Monday was a public holiday.

The impeached deputy speaker, has been replaced by member representing Kwami West, Sidi Buba.

Member representing Yamaltu East, Adamu Sale Pata moved the motion for the impeachment of Haruna on the floor of the house, and was seconded by member representing Billiri West, Hon. Tulfugut Kardi.

21 out of the 24 members of the house, effected the impeachment, and no reason was given as to why the deputy speaker was impeached.

It is however being speculated by some staff of the house who were seen in groups discussing the development, that the impeached deputy speaker breached a collective agreement by all the lawmakers to boycott last Saturday’s swearing in of commissioners at the Pantami Stadium, Gombe by attending.

At the swearing in ceremony of commissioners on Saturday, the Speaker, Abubakar Kurba, was conspicuously absent, fuelling speculations of a rift between the executive and the legislature.

There is also rumour making the rounds that the impeached deputy speaker’s demeanor was becoming intolerable to his colleagues as well as his perceived loyalty to the executive rather than the legislature.

 

Speaker, deputy failure to take calls

As the drama unfolds, LEADERSHIP Sunday put calls through to both the Speaker, Abubakar Kurba and his new Deputy, Sidi Buba. The calls to their mobile lines rang out. They never returned the calls.

Also SMS to the mobile telephone lines by LEADERSHIP Sunday to seek their clarification on the contentious impeachment of Haruna was not replied.

 

Executive position on the impeachment

While the drama is playing out, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya is in far away United States of America with other state governors attending a roundtable discussion with Bill Gates, but his special assistant on Media and Publicity, Ismaila Uba Misili made the position of the executive on the impeachment known to LEADERSHIP Sunday.

The SSA to the governor told our correspondent that the impeachment of the deputy speaker, is an internal matter and should be seen as such as against the speculations of rift between the executive and the legislature.

According to Misili, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya is a firm believer in separation of power, and will never meddle into the affairs of other arms of government.

He stressed that legislative, judiciary and executive arms of government are independent of each other, adding that the legislators has the right to carry out their legislative duties without interference from other arms of government.

“Our immediate reaction is that: Governor Inuwa Yahaya believes in separation of powers and independence of all arms of government. So what happened in the state House of Assembly was an internal affair of the members who have the constitutional right to choose from among themselves presiding officers and leaders and effect changes” Misili added.

 

What next?

With the impeachment of Haruna as the deputy speaker and the immediate replacement by Buba as the new deputy speaker by the lawmakers without stating the reasons for their action thereby paving the way for speculations, what is the next drama that may unfold in the political terrain of Gombe? Time is the best answer to this in the coming days, weeks, months or years.

 

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