IRKED by the impeachment saga involving Momoh Jimoh, speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly, the House of Representatives on Tuesday, February 23, resolved to intervene in the matter.
The decision followed the adoption of a motion moved by Karimi Sunday, representing Kogi State at the plenary session presided over by Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the House. Hence, the lawmakers mandated a 10-member fact-finding committee, led by Pally Iriase, deputy majority whip, to probe the removal of Jimoh by five out of the 20 members of the House, which they said ran contrary to the provisions of the Constitution.
Members of the House who condemned the removal of the speaker also directed the Iriase-led committee to within one week submit a report aimed at proffering solutions to restore sanity and adherence to the rule of law in the Kogi State House of Assembly.
While leading the debate, Sunday argued that Jimoh’s impeachment ran contrary to the provisions of Section 90 (2) (c) of the constitution, which stipulates that the speaker or deputy speaker of the state assembly shall vacate office if he is removed from office by a resolution of the House of Assembly by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of members.
Alleging that Jimoh’s impeachment was masterminded by Governor Yahaya Bello who was bent on installing his stooge as speaker of the state Assembly, Sunday argued: “I am aware that in Kogi State, there are a total number of 25 members of the Assembly, but five of them had their elections nullified at the Court of Appeal and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is yet to conduct a fresh election in the state constituencies.
“Accordingly, only 20 members are currently validly elected in the Assembly and two-thirds of 20 is at least 13 members. The purported removal of the speaker by the House of Assembly on 16th February 2016 by only five of the 20 elected members is therefore, unconstitutional and void.”
Femi Gbajabiamila, House leader, said it behoved members of the National Assembly not to allow what happened at Kogi State Assembly to reoccur in the polity.
Gbajabiamila, who recalled how he had always spoken against impunity in governance over the years, likened the way the impeachment of Jimoh was carried out as a treasonable act which required heavy sanctions on perpetrators.
Other members of the Iriase-led fact-finding committee include Nnenna Ukeje, Zakari Mohammed, Halliru Jika, Obinna Chidoka, Bassey Ewan, Sunday Adebutu, and Abdulsalam Dasuki.
— Feb 24, 2016 @ 14:00 GMT