Former Deputy Governor of Taraba State, Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi
The Taraba State House of Assembly, recently brought to fruition, long drawn speculations about the planned impeachment of the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Sani Danladi. In this report, Wole Ayodele unveils the intrigues that culminated in the removal of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart from office
The curtain was drawn Friday, October 4, on the impeachment saga of former deputy governor of Taraba State, Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi, when the state House of Assembly perfected and completed the process. This immediately followed the appointment of Alhaji Garba Umar as the new deputy governor. Danladi was impeached by the Assembly on Thursday, October 4, exactly a month after he was served an impeachment notice following the adoption of the report of the seven man committee set up to investigate allegations of gross misconduct leveled against him by the Assembly.
The seven man committee, headed by Barr. Nasiru Abdu Dangiri concluded that Danladi was guilty of all the three allegations and held that his response to the allegations dated September 12, 2012 was more of an admission than denial.
On the first allegations, the Committee held that no contrary documentary evidence was laid before it by the ousted deputy governor as against the oral and documentary evidences presented by the Assembly. On the second allegation, the panel found out that based on the documentary and oral evidence before it, the Assembly has proven the allegation beyond reasonable doubt and that Danladi was guilty of the allegations.
The panel also held that from the evidence given by the Assembly in support of the allegation in respect of the third allegation, there was no rebuttal by way of rejoinder from the deputy governor and therefore, the allegation remains uncontroverted and unchallenged.
Concluding, the Committee stated: “From the foregoing, the panel unanimously agreed that the three counts of allegations and the particulars of allegations have been proved against his Excellency, the Deputy Governor of Taraba State, Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi”.
Other members of the panel were Mr. Riman Tari Ikitausi, Japheth Wubon, Arc (Chief) Usman Binga, Julius Dawhai Kaigama, Alhaji Mustapha Sani and Aishatu Mohammed.
However, receiving the report of the committee after the conclusion of its work, the Assembly reconvened from its recess, deliberated on it and decided his fate. After the deliberations, 20 out of the 24 members of the Assembly voted for his impeachment while three members, namely Dr. A.A Jugulde (Gembu), Hon Joseph Albasu Kunini (Lau) and Hon. Aminu .J. Umar (Jalingo II) were absent from the sitting.
The 20 members who voted for the impeachment were, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Peter Abel Diah (Mbammga); the Majority Leader, Hon. Charles Maijankai (Karim1); Hon. Mark Useni (Takum II); Hon. Daniel Ishaya Gani (Wukari II); Hon. Mohammed D. Gwampo (Yorro); Hon. Ibrahim Adamu Imam (Jalingo 1); Hon. Yahaya Abdulraham (Gassol II); Hon. Bonzena .K. John (Zing); Hon. Edward G. Baraya (Karim II) and Hon. Gambo Maikudi (Bali I).
Others included Hon. Hamman Adama B Abdullahi (Bali II); Hon. Haruna Tsokwa (Takum I); Hon Iratsi Yohanna Adaki (Ussa); Hon Josiah Sabo Kente (Wukari I); Hon. Adamu Tanko Maikarfi (Gassol I); Hon. Mohammed Abdulkarim (Ibi); and Hon. Mohammed G. Umar (Gashaka) and the only female member of the Assembly, Hon. Rashida Abdullahi (Nguroje).
Less than 24 hours after the impeachment was carried out, Governor Danbaba Suntai forwarded a three paragraph letter to the Assembly, intimating it of the nomination of Umar as the new Deputy Governor.
Entitled: “Re: Nomination of a new Deputy Governor” and addressed to the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Istifanus Gbana, Suntai sought for the confirmation and approval of Garba as the new deputy governor of the state. And in a swift response to the governor’s request, the Assembly unanimously confirmed Garba’s nomination on October 5 and was sworn-in same day by the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Josephine Tuktur.
Swearing-in the new deputy governor at the dome tent of Taraba Motel, Justice Tuktur said the exercise was in fulfillment of the provisions of the 1999 constitution.
Suntai described the impeachment of the former deputy governor and Garba’s swearing-in as the handiwork of God. He, therefore, called on all to put the past behind them for the state to move forward.
“There are lots of stories, both known and unknown. I want to plead with all of us, let us thank God for a brand new day; let us thank God for a brand new chapter and let us ask him for the grace to push on to the journey of making Taraba a better place for our people that are here today and our people that will come tomorrow,” he declared.
Justifying the urgency with which the impeachment process was commenced and concluded, Chairman, House Committee on Information, Gani said by its action, the Assembly has demonstrated and proven to the world its zeal and commitment towards removing any vice or abnormality in the state’s body polity.
He said the Assembly was quick to adopting the report of the committee due to the indictment of former deputy governor on all the three allegations leveled against him, adding that there was basically no reason to procrastinate or unnecessarily elongate the matter in the face of the confirmation of his guilt by the investigative panel.
“The House was on recess and members were recalled from recess to deliberate on the matter. Besides, the report was brought in by the committee and there was no grey area. If there were contradictions on the report, it would have generated arguments and debates that would have prolonged the adoption of the report. But in this case, the report was very clear and explicit and the Assembly had no reason to defer its adoption.”
Interestingly, while the impeachment process was on, the jostle to succeed Danladi had begun in earnest, ostensibly because of Suntai’s tacit support for the move. By the last count, no fewer than four names had featured prominently as likely successor leading to a lot of intrigues and lobbying by some of those concerned and their political associates to swing the pendulum in their favour.
Prominent among the names that were speculated was Hon Ali Sani Kona, a former Chairman of Jalingo local government and immediate past Special Adviser to the governor on local government and chieftaincy affairs and gubernatorial candidate of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the last gubernatorial election, Engr. Ahmed Yusuf, who recently returned to PDP.
Apart Sani Kona and Yusuf, other heavy weights whose names had featured included Alhaji Kabiru Pitiko, one time Chairman of Karim Lamido local government area and incumbent Chairman of Jalingo local government, Alhaji Hassan Bappa, who is also a former member of the state House of Assembly.
But against then subsisting permutations, Garba popularly called UTC because of his long years of meritorious service at the defunct trading company and whose name was hardly mentioned was emerged the successor to Danladi.
Though most, if not all those that were mentioned for the post are close political associate and loyalists of the Governor, several factors were said to have worked against their consideration and eventual nomination.
For example, Kona, who was favoured for the office was dropped because his cousin, Hon. Victor Bala Kona, is the incumbent Chairman of PDP in the state while Yusuf, according to investigations, was not considered because he returned to the PDP barely four months ago even though he was appointed Chairman, Board of Taraba Investment and Properties Limited few weeks after his return to the party.
But Suntai was said to have settled for Garba for some deft political reasons. While Kona, Yusuf, Bappa and Pitiko all hail from Jalingo local government, Garba is a native of Bachama in Karim-Lamido local government area of the state as the ousted deputy governor. The governor was also said to have expressed his preference for an experienced person with strong character and personality, a frame Garba is believed to fit in.
Meanwhile, Garba has expressed his readiness to do everything humanly possible to engender a cordial and harmonious working relationship with Suntai. Addressing the people shortly after he was sworn into office, Gareba declared his unflinching support and loyalty to the Suntai administration and the people of the state and expressed his gratitude to God for the privilege to serve in that capacity.