Embattled Speaker of Plateau State House of Assembly, Ayuba Abok, on Friday accused the state governor, Simon Lalong, of supervising his impeachment with six legislators.
While describing what happened as unfortunate, he said the governor being a lawyer and chairman of the 19 Northern Governors Forum should have understood the tenets of the law.
Abok narrated the incident in Abuja at a press conference convened by the Not-Too-Young-To-Run-Movement.
He said, “What happened in Plateau State is very unfortunate; it’s unfortunate that someone that has headed that institution, a former Speaker, lawyer and leader of the 19 Northern Governors Forum does not respect the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“What happened yesterday (Thursday) was an assault on the rule of law. The governor camped six members the day before in his House and he took them to the floor of the House of Assembly in the morning by 5am and brought another one to join them and started the impeachment without due process.
“I am calling on the entire country, especially the youths to speak up. When we got our autonomy, we employed 250 graduates in that arm of government.
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“So, it is time we took the bull by the horns we must have to fight for this and for Nigeria. We had our sitting, 12 of us were there; we are 14 in number; 12 of us were there at that sitting.”
Hon. Abok Ayuba was on Thursday impeached by 8 out of the 24 members of the House. This occurred at an unusual sitting presided over by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Saleh Yipmong.
The lawmakers attempted to impeach the Speaker on Wednesday night but did not succeed. But on Thursday, the eight members gained access to the House as early as 6am to carry out the act. They operated under the heavy presence of armed security personnel.
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Regaining his sit by law, the embattled Speaker sanctioned the members who spearheaded his impeachment.
Ayuba who presided over a plenary with the mace outside the premises of the State Assembly, alongside 13 other members of the House, cutting across party lines upheld a motion raised by the Deputy Majority Leader of the Assembly, Philip Dasun and seconded by the Minority Leader, Peter Gyendeng to suspend the six members.
Those suspended are the Deputy Speaker, Saleh Yipmong, Majority Leader, Na’anlong Daniel, the new Speaker, Yakubu Sanda, former Deputy Speaker, Ibrahim Baba Hassan, Eric Dakogol, Abubakar Balo.
At the emergency sitting at the Zawan Community Association Hall in Jos, the 14 members also passed a vote of confidence on the embattled Speaker, declared that they stand for the truth, justice, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, democracy and the people of the State.
Briefing journalists shortly after the sitting at about 2.30pm, the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Philip Dasun said, “The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria makes a clear provision for the impeachment of the Speaker, it requires a 2/3 majority, we are 24, we are supposed to have a minimum of 16 members to sign and affirm the impeachment of the Speaker.
“To our greatest surprise, we were in the House today very early in the morning, we got an information that there is an attempt to impeach our Speaker. I went and I found seven people and I was the eighth person before the rest came. We are not in agreement with what happened, the Governor is a lawyer, he knows the constitution, he will not accept that illegal process, if he does, it is left for him to battle with his profession.”
Reacting to the accusation, Governor Simon Lalong said he was surprised about the development.
But the Governor who spoke on Thursday when the new Speaker, Yakubu Sanda visited him at the Rayfield Government House in Jos, said that 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.”
Also, responding on behalf of the Governor, the Secretary to the Government of Plateau State Prof. Danladi Abok 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 Speaker was accompanied on the courtesy visit by Deputy Speaker Rt. Hon. Shehu Sale Yipmong, Majority leader and ten other members.
Moreso, the Convener, Not Too Young to Run Movement, NTYTRM, Samson Itodo, described the impeachment process as an unlawful sitting of the House.
According to him, reports indicated that the purported impeachment initiated by the Deputy Speaker, Sale Yipmong, was executed under questionable circumstances.
He said: “What happened in Plateau State is very unfortunate that someone that has headed that institution, a former Speaker, lawyer, a leader of the 19 Northern Governors Forum, it is very unfortunate that this is the kind of leadership that we have in Nigeria, that doesn’t respect the constitution.
“The governor camped six members in his house and took them to the floor of the House of Assembly in the morning, by 5 am, and brought another one to join them to become seven.
“They started the impeachment process without due process. They arrested the Clerk of the House at 1am and they did what they did and called it impeachment of the speaker of the house.
“If this continues, then we don’t have a country.”