- Achuba’s impeachment won’t save you, PDP tells Bello
- Panel report exonerates him, says investigative panel
Chuks Okocha in Abuja and Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja
The Commissioner of Police Kogi state, Hakeem Busari, has said that the impeached deputy governor of Kogi State, Elder Simon Achuba is not under house arrest.
But the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the Friday impeachment of the deputy governor would not save Governor Yahaya Bello from the pending doom awaiting him during the November 16 governorship election.
Also yesterday, Mr. John Baiyeshea, the chairman of the panel set up to investigate allegations of gross misconduct against the deputy governor, said his committee could not prove the allegations levelled against Achuba.
Busari dismissed allegation of house arrest while speaking in a telephone conversation with THISDAY yesterday in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.
Achuba had earlier claimed that he was under house arrest while speaking on satellite Television. However, Busari said the presence of security personnel at the official residence of the deputy governor was to prevent looting of government property.
He noted that this followed an advice to him to relocate from his official residence, as he was no longer the deputy governor.
When journalists visited the official residence of the deputy governor on Saturday morning, there was heavy presence of fully armed security personnel, manning the gate and preventing visitors from going in or coming out of the house.
Busari however said the security personnel would be there until he finally moves out of the house
Achuba was impeached on Friday shortly after the seven-man committee investigating allegations of gross misconduct against him submitted its report.
Achuba described his removal as an exercise in futility and could not stand.
“As I speak to you, I am under house arrest. My security aide has been withdrawn. Currently in my house, security operatives from government house have taken over my residence. Nobody can come in and no body can go out”.
According to him, Nigeria was not a Banana republic hence the action exhibited by the Kogi State House of Assembly was a rape of democracy and would not stand.
Meanwhile, the newly appointed Deputy Governor, Edward Onoja, will be screened tomorrow, Monday on the floor of the assembly.
THISDAY gathered that he would be sworn in the same day, after the screening by the assembly as he is expected to scale through without any hitch.
The assembly is made up of 25 members, who are all members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
There had been a major face-off between the governor and his deputy, until his recent outburst on some government policies.
This, it was gathered, led to the constitution of a panel of enquiry that investigated but did not indict him.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary yesterday, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said the impeachment of Achuba was a desperate bid to use underhand measures to reinvent his continued stay in office.
The statement said the PDP “holds that by coercing the state House of Assembly against the deputy governor even when the State Judiciary Panel acquitted him of all allegations, Bello only confirms that he has lost public trust and now desperately resorting to dirty politics and crafty methods for survival.
“This action of trying to remove the deputy governor via unconstitutional methods and in total disregard to the verdict of the judicial panel is in itself, a gross misconduct and grave constitutional violation for which the state assembly, as an institution, ought to have removed Bello as the governor of the state.”
PDP therefore alerted that the next victim of such underhand methods would be the state assembly itself, which now appears to be on the way to being used to enact draconian rules to suppress and intimidate the people of Kogi State, since there was no way Bello would win the November 16 election and return to office.
PDP said it was instructive to state that the action of the Assembly in yielding to Bello’s antics has further reduced Kogi State to a butt of jokes among compatriots in other states of our federation.
“What it means is that Yahaya Bello can wake up tomorrow morning and shut down institutions of government, including the state legislature, the judiciary and even the civil service and become a law unto himself.
“However, whether the State House of Assembly has any morsel of courage left in its chamber to protect the state and her people or not, Governor Bello will surely face the judgment of the people on November 16, where he will be kicked out of office through the ballot box.
“It is also public knowledge that Yahaya Bello seeks to repress the deputy governor over the latter’s decision to expose the impunity and corruption in the Bello administration, which has brought so much suffering to the people of Kogi State in the last four years,” the PDP noted.
Describing the announcement that Achuba had been removed as “the most bizarre thing that I have ever heard in my life”, Baiyeshea said the report of the panel was submitted when the house was not in session.
He said in accordance with the law, the lawmakers could not have commenced impeachment proceedings since the panel could not prove the allegations against Achuba.
“This is the most bizarre thing that I have ever heard in my life,” he said in an interview.
“We submitted the report to the speaker around 1pm and I left Lokoja for Abuja. I was at Gwagwalada area when one of the panel’s members who had not left Lokoja called to tell me that he saw it on television that the deputy governor had been impeached.
“As far as the report that we submitted to the house of assembly is concerned, the committee returned the decision that all the allegations were not proved. What the constitution said by section 188(8) is that, ‘once the panel returns a verdict like that. No further proceedings can be taken on it.
“That is it. It is only when the panel returns a verdict that allegations have been proved (to be true) that they can go ahead within 40 days. When did the house sit? We delivered the documents and the house was not even in session today.”