- Speaker sworn in as acting governor
- Governors, Saraki, Atiku, Balarabe, condemn action
An acting governor mounted the saddle yesterday in Adamawa State after Governor Murtala Nyako’s controversial impeachment.
Speaker Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri took the oath of office in Yola, the state capital, at a hurriedly organised ceremony witnessed by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains.
Lawmakers impeached Nyako shortly after the “hawks” in the ruling PDP forced Deputy Governor Bala Ngilari to resign.
There were plans to arrest Nyako, who was said to have left Yola late Monday.
After deliberating on the report of the Investigative Panel headed by Buba Kaigama, 18 of the 25 members of the Assembly opted to remove Nyako.
The Assembly actually needed the consent of 17 members to remove the governor.
Shortly after the impeachment, the Assembly wrote the acting Chief Judge of the state to inaugurate Speaker Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri as the acting governor.
The letter, signed by the Clerk of the House, Francis Gbanisenso, reads: “The Honourable House during its sitting on Tuesday, 15th July 2014 resolved and directed you to swear in the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri as the Acting Governor of Adamawa State today 15th day of July 2014.
“This is in pursuant to Section 191(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999(As Amended).”
According to sources, PDP leaders in the state opted for “arm-twisting” when they discovered that they could not initially secure the majority to remove Nyako.
But to push the impeachment proceeding through, the “hawks” prevailed on Ngilari to resign.
A source said: “The resignation of Ngilari was the joker which was used to convince pro-Nyako lawmakers that the game was up.
“Those against Nyako queried the rationale of leaving the governor untouched when the deputy has quit.
“The game-plan is to compensate Ngilari with a juicy appointment.”
Ngilari wrote: “Pursuant to Section 306(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended), I kindly notify you of my resignation from the office of the Deputy Governor of Adamawa State forthwith on personal grounds.
“I want to thank you immensely for the opportunity to serve Adamawa State and wish you and the good people of the state well in the remaining period of your administration.”
It was gathered that to intimidate the Assembly members, those against Nyako in the Presidency mobilised troops, policemen and security agents to Yola.
The National Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Northeast, Mr. Babachir David Lawal, described Nyako’s impeachment as “illegal”.
Lawal said: “The whole process was characterized by a litany of illegalities. The constitution requires a direct service of impeachment notice on the governor and this was not done by the House of Assembly. The Assembly opted for substituted service but the Supreme Court has ruled that such a notice must be personally served.
“But we know we are dealing with people who have no respect for law; we are dealing with members of the House of Assembly who have no respect for the constitution they have sworn to obey.
“They are doing this because they have the assurances of their sponsors in Abuja that whatever illegalities they committed, they would assist them to sustain it.”
The Assembly raised a seven-man panel to probe Nyako and Ngilari.
Members of the panel, led by Buba Kaigama (Mubi Northern Zone), were Laraba Hassan (Michika Northern Zone), Njidda Kito (Song Central Zone), Joshua Abu (Hong Central Zone), Binanu Esthon (Guyuk Southern Zone), Sa’ad Lawan (Mayo-Belwa Southern Zone) and Esthon Gapsiso (Genye Southern Zone)
The provision for the removal of a governor and his deputy is contained in Section 188 (1-11) of the 1999 Constitution.
The section states: “A motion of the House of Assembly that the allegation be investigated shall not be declared as having been passed unless it is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of the House of Assembly.
“Within seven days of the passing of a motion under the foregoing provisions of this section, the Chief Judge of the State shall at the request of the Speaker of the House of Assembly, appoint a Panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, investigate the allegation as provided in this section.
“The holder of an office whose conduct is being investigated under this section shall have the right to defend himself in person or be represented before the Panel by a legal practitioner of his own choice.
“A panel appointed under this section shall (a) have such powers and exercise its functions in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly; and (b) within three months of its appointment, reports its findings to the House of Assembly.
“Where the Panel reports to the House of Assembly that the allegation has not been proved, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter.
“Where the report of the Panel is that the allegation against the holder of the Office has been proved, then within 14 days of the receipt of the report, the House of Assembly shall consider the report, and if by a resolution of the House of Assembly supported by not less, than two-thirds majority of all its members, the report of the Panel is adopted; then the holder of the office shall stand removed from office as from the date of the adoption of the report.
“No proceedings or determination of the Panel or of the House of Assembly or any matter relating to such proceedings or determination shall be entertained or questioned in any court.
“In this section, ‘gross misconduct’ means a grave violation or breach of the provisions of this Constitution or a misconduct of such nature as amounts in the opinion in the House of Assembly to gross misconduct.”[The Nation]