Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, has reacted to the impeachment of Hon. Abok Ayuba as the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, expressing surprise about the development.
LEADERSHIP reports that Abok, who represents Jos East state constituency, was on Thursday morning impeached by eight out of the 24 Assembly members.
The eight lawmakers carried out the impeachment while other lawmakers who were opposed to the speaker’s removal were prevented by security agents from gaining access to the Assembly complex
But Governor Lalong, who spoke on Thursday, when the new Speaker, Yakubu Sanda, visited him at the Rayfield Government House in Jos, the state capital, said 16 lawmakers signed for the impeachment of the former Speaker.
A statement issued on Thursday by the governor’s Director of Press and Public Affairs, Macham Makut, said: “The new Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Yakubu Sanda has led principal officers and some members of the House to the Government House to assure the Executive arm of its collaboration and cooperation in running the affairs of the State.
“The new Speaker was received at the Government House by the Secretary to the Government of the State, Prof. Danladi Abok Atu, on behalf of the Governor.
“Speaking during the visit, the Majority leader of the House Hon. Naanlong Daniel said they were at the Government House in line with the tradition of the House to introduce the new leadership of the House whenever there is a change.”
The statement added that the new Speaker emerged after 16 of the 23 members of the House signed the petition to impeach the former Speaker.
“He said the new Speaker emerged after 16 of the 23 members of the House signed the petition to impeach the former Speaker Rt. Hon. Nuhu Ayuba Abok over a series of allegations.
“The new Speaker Hon. Yakubu Sanda said the new leadership of the House will work in synergy with the Executive and Judiciary for the peace, progress and development of Plateau State.
“He said the House which now enjoys full autonomy will use its legislative powers to ensure that Government programs and projects impact the people at the grassroots level.”
Responding on behalf of the governor, the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Atu, said Governor Lalong and the entire Executive arm was surprised with the development, but nevertheless respects the decision of the House which is an autonomous organ that has powers to manage its internal affairs.
He assured the House that the doors of the Executive will always remain open for collaboration and cooperation with the legislature in delivering good governance and actualising the Rescue Agenda.
The new Speaker was accompanied on the courtesy visit by Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Shehu Sale Yipmong, 11 other lawmakers.
Meanwhile, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has described the removal of the Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Hon. Ayuba Abok, allegedly by only eight members of the 24-member House of Assembly as illegal.
Spokesman of the CUPP, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, said Nigerians should ask how did the administration come up with the plan to deploy trigger-happy Police and DSS personnel to the House of Assembly as early as 6am to provide cover for only eight members of the House of Assembly to purportly remove the Speaker.
He said it was clear that only eight 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 eight 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 mobilise 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.”
CUPP, therefore called on the nine PDP members of the House of Assembly and the seven courageous members of the APC to insist that Hon Ayuba Abok remains the Speaker.
“They should resist these myopic wannabe tyrants who cannot respect the tenets of constitutional democracy and principles of separation of powers.
“This is yet another wake-up call for all Nigerians to remain vigilant and watch this tyrannical regime closely and be ready to reclaim our country from them. We must not allow them to foist insecurity and killings on the country and use that as an avenue to elongate their regrettable and disastrous stay in power,” he added.