The power play in the Plateau State House of Assembly yesterday culminated in the emergence of two speakers and suspension of six lawmakers.
The drama began with the impeachment of Hon Nuhu Abok Ayuba as speaker of the state Assembly by eight out of the 24-member legislature.
The lawmakers passed a vote of no confidence on Ayuba. They however elected Hon Yakubu Sanda representing Pengana constituency as the new speaker.
Shortly after, the new speaker and all the members who participated in Ayuba’s impeachment moved to the Old Government House, where Sanda was presented to Governor Simon Lalong who was represented by the secretary to the state government, Prof Danladi Abok Atu.
But in a countermove, lawmakers loyal to Ayuba passed a vote of confidence on him and suspended the six lawmakers who earlier voted him out of office.
According to them, the six members were suspended for gross misconduct, insubordination and legislative rascality.
Moving the motion for their suspension during plenary, majority leader, Hon Philip Dasun, accused the lawmakers of insubordination and gross misconduct and attempts to cause disunity in the House.
The majority leader Philip Dasun said the suspended members are as follows Saleh Yipmong Dengi (APC); Nanlong Daniel Mikang, (APC); Yakubu Sanda Pengana (APC); Mohammed Balo Quan Pan South (APC); Eric Dakogoal Quan Pan North (APC); Baba Hassan (APC) Jos North.
Speaking further he said the House has also passed a vote of confidence on the speaker of the Assembly Abok Nuhu for his leadership qualities which is a clear indication of his acceptability by the Plateau people.
Supporting the motion for the suspension of the lawmakers the minority leader Peter Gyangdeng said the action of the suspended lawmakers is an illegality adding that the House will not tolerate interference by the executive.
He also supported the motion for a vote of confidence passed on the Speaker Abok Nuhu Ayuba for his strong leadership qualities and people-oriented legislative programmes that has endeared him to the people of Plateau State.
An indication of a dramatic day at the House emerged earlier in the day as the entrance to the Assembly complex was sealed off by security operatives.
LEADERSHIP Friday gathered that lawmakers elected on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were restricted from entering the Assembly complex which paved the way for their colleagues of All Progressives Congress (APC) to remove Ayuba.
Our correspondent reports that Lalong and Ayuba had differed over the way the executive handled the recent Jebbu Miango and Yelwa Zangam killings all in Bassa and Jos North local government areas.
The House, under Ayuba’s leadership, had given Lalong a two-week ultimatum to address the security challenges facing the state.
Reacting to Ayuba’s removal, the North Central zonal director of Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Comrade Steve Aluko, said the entire process did not meet the requirements of the constitution. He said the timing of the impeachment is also against the rule of the House.
…CUPP Condemns Action
Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has described the removal of the speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly Hon Ayuba Abok by only eight members of the 24-member House of Assembly as illegal.
Spokesman of CUPP, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, said Nigerians should ask how the administration came up with the plan to deploy trigger-happy police and SSS personnel to the House as early as 6am to provide cover for only eight members to remove the speaker.
He said it was clear that “only 8 members of the Assembly did not form a quorum and the House Rules which guide activities of the state legislature did not permit such an undemocratic situation where security forces will restrain members from accessing the chambers while providing cover for only 8 members.”
According to him, the regime has now tried again and perhaps believes it has perfected the system it tried severally at the National Assembly to force leadership change.
He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari deployed security forces which he alone has the power to deploy to desecrate democracy in Plateau.
“The impunity of the APC and Governor Lalong must be curtailed now by the people of Plateau State. The governor knows and is no longer in doubt that he has become so unpopular that he cannot mobilize all members of the House from his party.
“APC has 15 members of the House, but the governor could only mobilize 8. How unpopular could a party in power be? Nigerians must know at this point that the sin which Hon Ayuba Abok is alleged to have committed against the APC and the governor is that he gave Governor Simon Lalong an ultimatum to protect his citizens.
“This is like reminding the governor that he had failed in his primary duty.”