FROM: EMMANUEL ADEYEMI,Lokoja
As the crisis rocking Kogi State House of Assembly continues, there are strong indications, that the Speaker of the House, Hon. Imam Umar, may be impeached any moment from now and replaced by Hon. Mathew Kolawole.
Hon. Kolawole only recently defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
The House was embroiled in series of crises last year when Governor Yahaya Bello was accused of foisting the current Speaker who is a member of APC on the then PDP-dominated Assembly.
The 25 members Assembly had 15 PDP members and APC 11 members. Kolawole representing Kabba-Bunu constituency who is the majority leader was the mouth piece of the aggrieved PDP members who were then known as G15 led by the former speaker, Momoh Jimoh Lawal while Hon Friday Sanni Makama, though a PDP was the arrow head of the then embattled speaker, Imam Umar suspected to having the backing of Governor Bello.
But investigations revealed that all this changed recently when the governor allegedly made some overtures to some PDP lawmakers to cross over to his party ostensibly to have a firm grip of the assembly and the effect another leadership at the Assembly.
A source close to Government House, Lokoja, said the governor was getting uncomfortable with the leadership style of the current Speaker who is said ” to be too hard to control”, hence the plan to impeach him ans replace him with Kolawole, who is now said to have wormed his way to the governor.
The source told Daily Sun that the outcome of the several secret meetings of the PDP lawmakers with the governor, resorted to the defection of six lawmakers to APC last week Thursday while the seventh one defected on Tuesday.
The source who said he could not ruled out whether the defected PDP lawmakers actually received monetary inducement from the governor before their defection, however said part of the game plan for the governor to have a full grip of the house was to also sack to some principal officers of the assembly and replaced them with “the friendly ones”
“That was. Why the deputy speaker when he got hold of the plan, quickly tendered a letter of resignation on Tuesday before who was disgraced out, and as you are aware, the house now has a new leadership look, except the speaker who will be impeached any moment from now ” the source added.
Those who defected at the floor of the House last week are Mathew Kolawole of Kabba/ Bunu constituency, Omofaiye Adewale of Ijumu,Bello Adoke, Adavi, John Abah Ibaji, Kekere Abdulmumini Okehi and Ahmed Mohammed, Ankpa1 while Hon Omiata of Yagba West defected on tuesday..
Meanwhile, the state chapter of the PDP while reacting to the defection, in a statement signed by the State Publicity Secretary, Mr Bode Ogunmola condemned in totality the action of the Legislators and urged them to vacate their seat immediately.
According to the PDP, Second 106 (a) of the 199 constitution ( as amended) states clearly ” that a person is qualified to be elected into the state House of Assembly if he is a member of a political party and he is sponsored by the political party”.
The statement also said Second 109 (g) categorically prescribed the tenure of seat of Assembly members inter alia ” a member of a state house of assembly shall vacate his seat in the house, if being a person whose election to the house was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period which that member was elected”
The PDP in the statement therefore disclosed that the Party will approach a Court of Law to enforce the above sections of the law against the defectors to vacate their seat at the house and order for a fresh election into the affected seats.