- President promises to intervene in Bauchi, Edo assembly crisis
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Some aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bauchi State House of Assembly and party leaders in the state Wednesday stormed the State House, Abuja to demand for President Muhammadu Buhari’s intervention in the lingering crisis rocking the assembly.
In his reaction, the president promised to ensure that constitutional provisions are upheld in resolving the matter.
Trouble began in the legislative house on June 21, this year, when a faction of the house loyal to Governor Bala Mohammed elected Abubakar Ningi by 11 members out of the 31-member assembly following a proclamation issued by the governor.
Subsequently, the 20 other members loyal to the former governor, Mohammed Abubakar, elected Kawuwa Damina at another inauguration ceremony of the house. Since then, there has been no peace in the assembly.
But leading his faction to the State House wednesday, Damina told journalists after a meeting with the president that the visit was organised by the party leadership in the state with the aim of briefing the president on the development.
He insisted that the election of a speaker by 11 of the 31 members of the House defied logic and was in breach of the provisions of the constitution, arguing that the right thing must be done in accordance with constitutional provisions.
“The situation is as it is now, because in Arithmetic, there is nothing that will make 11 to be greater than 20; and later, that 11 grew to 13. So, that is the position. Let me clearly state that this is not about any individual. All what we, from the APC are asking for, is a sane institution irrespective of who emerges as a leader.
“All we are saying is that the right thing based on constitutional provisions should be done – with a proclamation issued, specifying date, time and venue – should be announced. Once that is done, election should be conducted and whoever emerges as leader, fine and good.
“If you are following the event where parallel leaderships emerged, our senior colleagues at the National Assembly threw a motion by one representative from Bauchi, which resulted in its adoption and later setting up of a committee. They even visited Bauchi and reported back to the plenary in the House of Representatives, on which already, a decision was taken,a four-week ultimatum given to the state governor within which to issue a fresh proclamation for proper inauguration of the state assembly to take place.
“So, we have briefed Mr. President, being the leader of our party and father of the country and a custodian of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, to seek his advice,” Damina said.
In a statement on the meeting later, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said Buhari promised to work with the relevant constitutional bodies to resolve the crises rocking both the Bauchi and Edo Houses of Assembly.
According to the statement, Buhari met with members of Bauchi Assembly and other stakeholders in the state, disclosing that he was aware of the situations in the two houses.
“I am aware of the problem in Edo and Bauchi states and I try to appreciate my position as the President, the political situation vis a vis the constitution of our country, the role of the commissioners of police and the party. I always like to be on the side of the constitution,” Buhari reportedly said.
Adesina said Buhari also promised to liaise with the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice when sworn in, as well as the Inspector General of Police, with a view to ensuring that the rights of affected constituencies and individuals are not abused in any form.
“The president however urged the members not to give up their rights and the rights of those who elected them, charging them not to compromise on their individual integrity so as not to divide the House and the party.
“He advised them to stay firm, bearing in mind their responsibilities to their constituencies and always keep the party in the state and at the centre informed.
The party members led by the Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, had briefed the President on events leading to the crisis in the House,” Adesina added.