Deputy Governor, Taraba State, Alhaji Sani Danladi Abubakar
By Wole Ayodele
The Deputy Governor, Taraba State, Alhaji Sani Danladi Abubakar, was Thursday impeached by the state House of Assembly.
Abubakar was impeached following the adoption of the report of the seven-man panel set up to investigate the allegations of misconduct and abuse of office levelled against him.
A total of 20 members, representing over two-thirds of the 24-member of the Assembly voted in favour of his impeachment while three members were absent at the emergency plenary sitting.
Abubakar was alleged to have used his office to among other things, to loot and divert public funds to establish and finance his private business ventures as well as lacking the capacity to function effectively as deputy governor of the state.
In the particulars of the allegations, the former deputy governor was alleged to have used his office to acquire a large expanse of land in Jalingo on which he built Yagai Academy and other multi million naira business ventures which include Yagai Water; Yagai Printing Press and Yagai Restaurant which put together are said to be worth over N1billion.
Similarly, he was alleged to have used his office and influence to divert Millennium Development Goals (MDG) facilities such as ICT Centre, motorised borehole and solar lights to Yagai Academy, a private school owned by him thereby denying the less-privileged members of the public who ought to benefit primarily from the projects access and use of the facilities thereby contravening the oath of office he swore to observe and protect.
In the same vein, the House accused Abubakar of engaging in sharp practices in government ultimately to enrich him and the proceeds of which he and his company used to acquire, build and fund Yagai Academy which is reputed to be one of the best private schools in the state.
The House further held that Abubakar’s total emolument as deputy governor cannot justify his investments in Yagai Academy, stressing that he did not only breached the code of conduct for public office holders but also created in the minds of the people of the state the impression that the government condones, with impunity, the looting and diversion of public funds.
The legislators further noted that the former deputy governor’s declared assets as at the time of assuming office was not more than N56 million naira, adding that the share capital of Yagai Academy when it was established in 2009 was N2 million insisting that he was neither in business or own any business that could yield any reasonable income.
On the allegations of lack of capacity to discharge his functions as deputy governor, the Assembly alleged that since assuming office as chairman of the state Boundary Commission, he has failed, neglected or refused to call any Board meeting in the face of abundance of communal rivalries/disputes bordering on boundary delineation which is the statutory responsibility of the Board of the Commission.
His refusal to properly discharge his responsibilities and functions, according to the legislators has created disaffection, favouritism and undue interference in the running of government contrary to the oath of office he took just as he was accused of unduly interfering with the postings and transfers of indigenes of Karim-Lamido local government area where he hailed from in circumstances that caused disaffection among the people and portrayed government in bad light.
Abubakar was found guilty by the panel on all the three allegations levelled against him by the Assembly as it held that his response to the allegations dated September 12, 2012 is more of an admission than denial.
On the first allegations, the panel 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 held that it found that based on the documentary and oral evidence before it, the Assembly has proved the allegations beyond reasonable doubt and that Abubakar was guilty of the allegations.
Similarly, the panel held that from the evidence given by the Assembly in support of the allegations in the particulars in respect of the third allegation, there was no rebuttal by way of rejoinder from the deputy governor and therefore the allegation remained uncontroverted and unchallenged.
Drawing its conclusion, the panel stated “from the foregoing, the panel unanimously agreed that the three-count of allegations and the particulars of allegations have been proved against the Deputy Governor of Taraba State, Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi.”
The report was signed by the Chairman of the panel, Hon. Nasiru Abdu Dangiri and the six other members of the panel namely: Riman Tari Ikitausi; Japheth Wubon; Chief Usman Binga; Julius Dawhai Kaigama and Alhaji Mustapha Sani as well as Aishatu Mohammed.
The 20 members that voted for Abubakar’s impeachment are the Deputy Speaker, Hon Peter Abel Diah (Mbammga); the Majority Leader, Charles Maijankai (Karim1); Mark Useni (Takum II); Daniel Ishaya Gani (Wukari II); Mohammed D. Gwampo (Yorro); Ibrahim Adamu Imam (Jalingo 1); Yahaya Abdulraham (Gassol II); Bonzena .K. John (Zing); Edward G. Baraya (Karim II) and Gambo Maikudi (Bali I).
Others are Hamman’Adama B Abdullahi (Bali II); Hon. Haruna Tsokwa (Takum I); Iratsi Yohanna Adaki (Ussa); Josiah Sabo Kente (Wukari I); Adamu Tanko Maikarfi (Gassol I); Mohammed Abdulkarim (Ibi); and Mohammed G. Umar (Gashaka) as well as the only female member of the House, Rashida Abdullahi (Nguroje).
The three members that were absent at the plenary and therefore did not vote for the impeachment of the former deputy governor were A.A. Jugulde (Gembu); Joseph Albasu Kunini (Lau) and Aminu J. Umar (Jalingo II). Albasu Kunini was however a signatory to the impeachment notice.