Emmaneul Adeyemi, Lokoja
Crisis, on Tuesday, again, rocked the Kogi State House of Assembly as a serving lawmaker and immediate Speaker of the Assembly, Umar Imam’s seat was declared vacant.
The former Speaker had, a fortnight ago, defected to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to contest with five others for the Lokoja/Koto bye-election which is to hold on Saturday.
The former Speaker, it was learnt, has been having a running battle with the state government since his removal as Speaker barely a year ago.
Kolawole said the decision to declare his seat vacant was sequel to a letter sent to the House by the state’s Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Abdullahi Bello, notifying the Assembly of Imam’s defection from the party.
In a motion moved by the House’s Majority leader, Bello Hassan Abdullahi, which was seconded by the deputy Majority leader, Ahmed Muhammed, they urged the House should immediately declare the seat of Imam vacant.
Abdullahi also prayed the House should withdraw immediately the official vehicle in the care of the former Speaker, a situation which generated a stir among the lawmakers.
Contributing to the motion, Momohjimoh Lawal (PDP Okene II) disagreed with the letter of the All Progressive Congress and the motion moved by the Majority leader.
“I disagree with the APC and this motion to declare the seat of our colleague vacant. We are all aware that, at the national level, their is a Reform-APC which shows that their is crisis in the ruling party.
“Only the court of law can declare the seat of any member vacant. Mr. speaker, you are a beneficiary of this defection. So, why was your seat not declared vacant,” Lawal querried.
He also cited section 109 sub section (1G) of the 1999 constitution to backup his claim.
Momoh Rabiu, the member representing (APC Ankpa II), in his comment, told his colleagues that they were lawmakers and not law breakers.
“Declaring the seat of the former speaker vacant is of no use to the members. I, therefore, distance my self from this motion,” he noted.
Linus Eneche ( APC Olamaboro) urged the members to have the fear of God. According to him, “Are we deliberating on the letter sent to the house by the All Progressives Congress Chairman in Kogi State or the motion moved by the majority leader.
“We should not forget that, it is Imam today and could be any of us tomorrow. Declaring the seat of the former speaker to me is not necessary”.
Other lawmakers who distanced themselves from the motion were Barr. Oluwatoyin Lawal ( PDP Yagba West), Zakari Osewu ( APC Kogi Koton Karfe ), Obaro Pedro.
While those who supported the motion were Ododo Moses (APC Dekina Beraidu), Abdulkareem Kekere (APC Okehi), Lawi Ahmed (Okene I ), Adoke Muktar ( APC Adavi), John Aba (APC Ibaji), Jimoh Omiata (APC Yagba East).
In his summation, Speaker of the Assembly, Mathew Kolawole, who noted that he was on the side of the law on the matter, before the House direct the Clerk to convey the resolution of the Assembly to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
However, speaking with newsmen, Speaker Kolawole said the House was right in declaring the seat vacant, saying the decision was taken as a result of a letter received from the APC and the motion raised by members in the floor of the House.
He, however, denied any interference from external body even as he said with the motion passed, Imam has seized to be a member of the House.