Kogi Assembly Crisis Resolved

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Bello denies spending N750m to celebrate his birthday

The lingering crisis rocking members of Kogi State House of Assembly over leadership tussles may have been resolved.

The crisis started sometime in November last year, creating two factions among the assembly members namely G15 being led by the embattled Speaker, Hon. Momoh Jimoh Lawal, while the other one is G5 led by factional Speaker, Hon. Imam Umar.

The crisis which almost engulfed the state, saw the intervention of the National Assembly as committee was set up to look into the crisis.

In an effort to resolve the crisis, the House of Representative made a resolution ordering the takeover of the legislative functions of the assembly and sealing of the assembly complex.

Yesterday, a 10- man reconciliation committee headed by Mr. John Nihi, in a closed- door meeting with all the warring factions of the state assembly including the state Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello; his deputy, Mr. Simon Achuba, and other top government officials brokered peace between them.

Nihi, while speaking to journalists shortly after the closed-door meeting, said the crisis had degenerated to the level that the good image of the state was being battered, saying since no elders deemed it fit to reconcile the warring factions, the youths have stepped in to do the reconciliation.

He said they were happy that all the warring factions were ready to work together for the progress of the state, adding that by today, all issues would have been resolved. The governor, while speaking with journalists, said he still believed that there was no crisis in the assembly, adding that there was bound to be some misunderstanding but expressed satisfaction that the members have decided to forget their differences and come together.
He noted that they are all brothers and that what was happening was between two brothers, stressing that it has been a very wonderful deliberation.

“Like I said earlier, Kogi State has never been in crisis because in any home, there is bound to be misunderstanding.
The assembly members have reached agreement to set aside their differences and continue the business of legislation,” he said.

The spokeman of the G15, Hon Mathew Kolawole, who spoke shortly after the reconciliation meeting, said the two factions have agreed on some template for the total reconciliation of the crisis, adding that there was nothing that was permanent.
“The governor has spoken to us as his people and we the assembly members have agreed on certain templates and I am very sure by tomorrow (today), we will finish with our differences and the peace we have been looking for will return to the assembly.”

The spokesperson of G5, Hon. Hassan Bewa, said they have been exchanging pleasantries as they have not done in the last five months adding that they would be stronger than before.

Meanwhile, THISDAY finding yesterday reliably gathered from sources close to the reconciliation committee that both the embattled Speaker, Hon. Momoh Jimoh, and the factional Speaker, Hon. Umar Imam, may lose their speakership position along with other principal officers in the new arrangement as the governor is disposed to having a one united assembly.
In another development, the state government has denied the allegation of spending N750 million on the recent birthday celebration of the state governor.

The organised labour in the state, through a bulletin signed by its Chairman, Onuh Edoka, and other principal officials of the union, yesterday accused the governor of spending the huge amount on a birthday party.
In swift reaction, the Secretary to the state government, Mrs. Folashade Arike Ayoade, dismissed the claims, saying it is the greatest lies of the century.

According to her, the get together was at the instance of the political appointees who tasked themselves to honour the governor on his effort to take the state out of the wood.
“The governor did not know about the birthday party, and for the organised labour to claim that the governor spent N750 million on get together is an embarrassment to the governor and the good people of the state,” she said.