Kogi House Speaker, Hon. Abdulahi Bello
There was free-for-all at the early hours of Thursday , with a member of the Kogi State House of Assembly losing two of his teeth at the state governor’s residence when a meeting held to find political solution to the leadership crises in the state Assembly ended in a deadlock.
The meeting held at ‘High Ground’, a private residence of the governor, had former governor Ibrahim Idris, the state governor, Captain Idris Wada and all the lawmakers, except the Speaker, Hon. Abdulahi Bello, who was hospitalised in a private hospital in Abuja, in attendance.
It was a follow-up to an earlier mediation meeting held at Ibro Hotel, Abuja last Monday.
The meeting slated for 9.pm eventually started at about 12.20 am.
But inner sources hinted that trouble started when the agenda of the meeting was perceived to have changed, which did not go down well with the pro-speaker Bello lawmakers.
According to a source, who was present at the meeting: “The meeting which was at the instance of the former governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris was meant to return the House to status quo ante, but when the meeting started, we suspected foul play and as such, we disagreed with their illegal proposition.”
The proposition, according to the source, was that the Majority Leader, Hon. Yunusa Yakubu, should write a letter of proclamation to the Speaker for endorsement and approval so that the Assembly could seat.
Though that would have nullified the initial impeachment, but the grouse was that the Speaker was to resign honourably at the resumed sitting of the Assembly:
“It was that suggestion that sparked the fight.
“The Minority Leader, Yori Afolabi, stood up to note that the suggestion was wrong and that, Kogi had been in the news for so many wrong reasons and there was every reason to first right the wrong before talking about Speaker Bello’s resignation.
“It was at that point that Hon. Friday Makama, who had been pacing around with a bottle of stout attempted to shut him up and that led to the fight,” the source said further.
It was during the melee, a notable member of the group of 12 lawmakers lost two of his teeth before other lawmakers present could separate the warring lawmakers.
Meanwhile, the elders of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who petitioned President Goodluck Jonathan over the state of affairs in the state have been accused of leaving “precincts of truth and probity to traverse the terrain of outright falsehood in order to vilify the administration.”
The state Commissioner for Information, Hon. Yabagi Bologi, while reacting to the petition circulated in the media, in a press conference yesterday, described the group as: “self-styled Kogi PDP elders, setting aside all known rules of constructive criticism and positive engagement, and in a most unelderly manner chose to attack the credibility of Governor Idris Wada and passed him on as an inept, corrupt and rudderless leader.”
Senator Alex Kadiri; Senator Mohammed Ohiare; former Speaker of the state House of Assembly and former acting governor, Clarence Olafemi; former state PDP Chairman, John Odawun; Air Vice Marshall Salihu Atawodi (rtd) and former governorship aspirant, Dr. Adinoyi Ojo Onukaba, who were all members of the PDP, had listed the under-development of the state, crisis in the State House of Assembly, the looting of state resources and several illegalities and undemocratic practices as holding sway under the Wada administration in a petition they presented to Mr. President.
But, while noting that the group’s move was targeted at bringing the “hardworking leadership of Wada to public ridicule and opprobrium,” Bologi stressed that the issue of the PDP membership of Wada, which was mentioned in the petition, had been a subject of litigation before the courts of the land, “which declared a verdict of not guilty on the governor. Since the court have made a pronouncement on the matter, we do not think it proper for any one to make an issue from it” and that, “the allegation bordering on corruption levelled against the governor is rather generalised and neither here nor there.”
He also argued that Kogi was one of the states paying the highest emolument in the country and that it was not indebted to its work force as stated by the aggrieved party leaders, who called on the President to intervene in the drifting of the state and the PDP under Wada.
Though a number of the lawmakers have openly accused the governor of fanning the ember of discord currently engulfing the House, the Information Commissioner also maintained that on the purported “impeachment of Hon. Abdullahi Bello as Speaker of the state House of Assembly, the state government has said times without number that the crises in the Assembly is purely an internal affair of the lawmakers. The executive have resisted every attempt to take sides in the crises.”