Kogi Speaker

The leadership crisis in the Kogi State House of Assembly took another twist yesterday when five lawmakers out of the present 20-member assembly said they have impeached the Speaker, Momoh Jimoh Lawal.

The group of five named Umar Imam, representing Lokoja 1 constituency as the new speaker of the house, Friday Makama  as the new majority leader, Lawi Ahmed as the deputy majority leader and John Abba as the new chief whip.

The Kogi assembly, which has members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the majority, has been embroiled in crisis for long. The Speaker was thrice ‘impeached’ but the moves were inconclusive.

The emergence of Alhaji Yahaya Bello as governor under the platform of the All Progressives Congres (ACP), and from the same zone with the embattled speaker has aggravated the crisis in the assembly.

Also said to be impeached along the speaker were the deputy speaker, Alih Ajuh  and the majority leader, Kolawole Matthew.

This was happening just as the remaining 15 members of the house of assembly also passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of  Momoh Jimoh Lawal.

  It was learnt that the five lawmakers, who spearheaded the impeachment, had yesterday converged at the house of assembly complex at about 11 am, and had their meeting behind closed doors, where the purported impeachment was perfected.

Journalists who had gathered at the premises of the complex were barred by security personnel from entering the chambers to witness the proceedings.

After their meeting, spokesman of the group, Friday Makama, who is also the Speaker Protempo during the purported impeachment, addressed waiting journalists on the outcome of their sitting.

He claimed that 15 signatures of members were earlier collected for the impeachment, and that seven members of the house, who were present at yesterday’s sitting resolved to effect a change in the leadership of the house.

Makama said Jimoh was impeached because of his inability to convene the House as it should be.

He said they were not induced by anybody to perfect the impeachment as being insinuated.
“The reason for the removal of the Speaker today is not far from the fact that the assembly could no longer seat, and we needed a situation where the assembly can seat. We needed a leader that can be acceptable to all. That is why this change became pertinent,” he said.

But in a swift reaction, the embattled speaker described the development as “Kangaroo arrangement that cannot stand”.

Lawal said the purported impeachment was illegal, saying five members out 20 could not claim to have impeached him.

According to him, the said sitting where he was purportedly impeached was illegal as it was not done in accordance with the rules of the House.

“By the power vested on me as the speaker, I issued a proclamation at the last sitting that House should resume on Thursday. Any sitting outside Thursday is illegal. House of Assembly is an institution, so it is not a situation whereby five dissident members will just sit in somebody’s office and say that the speaker has been impeached.

“There were no 15 members that signed the purported impeachment document, rather 15 members came to my residence to pass vote of confidence on my leadership. So, how can they claim that 15 members again signed the purported impeachment.

“That was illegal and fake. It was forgery of signatures. In any case, any impeachment exercise is supposed to take place in the house  chamber, so you can’t stay in the Chief Whip’s office and say you have impeached the speaker,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lawal said the House will reconvene on Thursday. Just the Umar Imam led group adjourned to March 3.

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Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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