Hon. Istifanus Gbana
Relief finally came yesterday for the Speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly, Hon. Istifanus Gbana, who had been under threats of impeachment, just as 18 out of the 24 members of the Assembly passed a vote of confidence on his leadership.
THISDAY gathered that Gbana, who emerged speaker of the Assembly in 2004 had been in charge since then, thereby becoming the longest serving speaker, surviving several impeachment attempts, two of which were hatched in the last six weeks.
But deliberating on a motion moved by Hon. Mark Useni, representing Takum II constituency and supported by Hon. Albasu Kunini, representing Lau Constituency, the lawmakers declared that it had become imperative for the Assembly to throw their weight behind its leadership in view of the massive achievements it has recorded.
While 18 out of the members present at yesterday’s sitting voted in support of the motion, five members were, however, against such a move, saying they don’t see any reason why the leadership, particularly the speaker should be allowed to continue.
Those who refused to endorse the vote of confidence were Dr. Abubakar Jugulde (Gembu); Hon. Hamman Adama Abdullahi (Bali II); Hon. Tanko Maikarfi Gassol I); Hon. Josiah Sabo Kente (Wukari I) and Hon. Emmanuel Dame representing Ardo-Kola constituency.
Speaking after the passage of the vote of confidence, the Assembly’s Majority Leader, Hon. Charles Maijankai, said the leadership of the Assembly was overwhelmed by the decision of the members to express their confidence in the Assembly leadership, saying the leadership would continue to serve the overall interest of the members.
“We are overwhelmed by the decision of our colleagues to believe in us and our leadership and we’ll remain as one irrespective of our political differences and I want to assure you that all that is meant for the members of the Assembly will always be directed to the members,” he said.
Expressing his appreciation to the members for the vote of confidence, Gbana, who was the immediate National Chairman of the Speakers Forum, said the Assembly would continue to work for the overall interest of the people of the state just as he accused some elements of working to destabilise the Assembly.
Meanwhile, a member of the Assembly, who craved for anonymity, described the passing of a vote of confidence on the speaker as a kangaroo arrangement organised to divert attention from what he termed “obvious failure of the speaker”, saying members were financially induced to sign the document.
“I want to tell you authoritatively that it was a kangaroo arrangement. They went and source money from Abuja with which they induced the members to sign the document and in fact, majority of them did not even know the content of the document before appending their signatures.
“The Speaker has not just failed us in Taraba State, but all the 36 state Houses of Assembly as he was used by the governors to truncate the financial autonomy for states Assemblies during the last constitutional amendment which has made states Assemblies to remain appendages of the executive and toys in the hands of the governors. I want to inform you that the battle has just begun and we’ll continue until the speaker is removed from office.”