OrderPaperToday – The Senate has waded into the crisis rocking the Plateau State House of Assembly.
This was sequel to a motion sponsored by Sen. Istifanus Gyang (PDP, Plateau) who asked the Senate sought to uphold the legislature’s independence as an arm of government and set aside the impeachment of the assembly’s speaker.
The motion, entitled “Disruption of Legislative Business in Plateau State House of Assembly: Need for early intervention by the Senate to avoid deterioration,” was taken on Tuesday.
Recall that the Speaker of the Plateau House of Assembly, Mr. Abok Ayuba, was on October 27, impeached by 8 of the 24 members of the legislature. As a result, the Deputy Speaker, Saleh Yipmong, who presided over the unusual sitting, elected Yakubu Sanda (APC, Pengana) as the new Speaker.
Moving the motion, Gyang said that the alleged impeachment of the Speaker by eight members of the House fell short of the two-third constitutionally required number as provided for in Section 92(c) of the Constitution.
“The majority of the members of the House are opposed to the alleged impeachment. And have pledged loyalty and solidarity with the Speaker against those loyal to Sanda. The Conference of Speakers of the 36 States have denounced the alleged impeachment and withheld recognition for Sanda,” said Gyang.
Also, the lawmaker said that an impasse and stalemate had arisen, which, if left unattended to, may degenerate.
Similarly, in contributing to the debate, Sen. Gabriel Suswam said, “the behaviour of the members can negatively affect the international community’s perception on how we run our democracy.
“If we do not react swiftly, we will be seen to be abdicating our responsibility as enshrined in the Constitution as amended 1999.” Suswam added.
In his remarks, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said, “the governor can receive even if it is one member of the House of Assembly who wants to see him as the head of government at that state level. So if eight members or whatever number decided to go and visit him and he receives them, I don’t think the governor has done anything wrong.”
“What is wrong after investigation will be whether appropriate steps were taken. If they were not, certainly that is something that the Senate, particularly, and the National Assembly in general, will not tolerate”, Lawan stated.
Additionally, he urged the lawmakers to be guided by the rule of law and the Constitution in all legislative business, particularly where and when it affects the appointment and impeachment of a presiding officer.