The crisis in Kogi State House of Assembly remains a sad commentary on all the political gladiators in the state. Considering the imbroglio foisted on the state by the unfortunate demise of late Prince Abubakar Audu and the resultant debacle, it is sad that another crucial arm of government, the legislature is enmeshed in unnecessary and avoidable bickering. Many thought with the inauguration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello as the Governor, relative sanity will return to the House but events have proven this a wrong assertion.
The House was able to pull its act together and this was exhibited in the manner with which the Deputy-Governor nominee sent to the House was confirmed with dispatch. It is however, ironic that the same Deputy- Governor confirmed by the Assembly became the agent of destabilization in the assembly crisis as soon as he was sworn in.
But soon afterwards, insinuations started flying all over on the underhand dealings between the Governor and the assembly members over modalities of how to effect changes in the leadership of the House to correct the imbalance in the distribution of political offices that has the three first positions in the state in order of protocol occupied by persons from the same senatorial district, Kogi Central.
Sources said that this should normally be a seamless process considering the cooperative disposition of the assembly, but that the insistence of Alh. Yahaya Bello to handpick and impose a new Speaker from his party which is in the minority in the House is the sole reason for the crisis that eventually led to the taking over of the Assembly by the National Assembly.
An inside source, who craved anonymity, revealed that the Speaker, Alhaji Mohammed Jimoh agreed to step down in order to move the state forward, but that he expected the final outcome to be from the deliberations in the House.
Unknown to him however, the Governor reportedly had other ideas, which manifested in the criminal but futile attempt by five of the lawmakers to impeach, not only the Speaker, but the entire House leadership in a House of twenty-five members.
The Governor’s refusal to allow the legislators choose their leaders allegedly snowballed into the crisis that engulfed the assembly.
For a Governor plagued with credibility issues considering the manner he emerged, sources stated that it was surprising that he would engage in any activity that would aggravate the sordid situation in the state.
Despite the fact that he is feigning innocence, we gathered that it is incontrovertible that Gov. Yahaya Bello is the cause for the closure of Kogi State House of Assembly for ignoble reasons. Apart from this, it was gathered that this was an act of inexperience ‘considering the fact that his stint in politics is less than one year before he was conscripted to substitute the late Prince Abubakar Audu.’
“It is obvious the Governor knows little about governance and sees the perpetuation of the crisis in the state a good opportunity for unfettered and unrestricted appropriation of funds.
“For example, a loan of N1.9 billion was taken from Zenith Bank without approval from the House of Assembly in contravention of extant laws.
“The Governor also claimed to have spent N100 million to renovate the Government House while all he did was to rehabilitate the Presidential Lodge, which he converted to his office while the Governor’s Office has not been renovated,” said a source.
The sources added that for a state that is almost bankrupt to witness such profligacy is really unfortunate; and that with the inability of the government to fulfill its obligations to its workers, all hands should be on deck to find and apply solution to the myriads of challenges facing the state.
“The earlier Gov. Yahaya Bello understands that there can be no development in an atmosphere of confusion the better for the state. The principle of separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution must be respected and obeyed by both the Executive and legislative arms of Government,” said another informant.
Many people have said that it is important for Alh. Yahaya Bello to understand that he still has opportunity to write his name in gold in the history of Kogi State despite the obvious reality that his tenure might be brief.
“But even at that, a politician like Dr. Chris Ngige has shown it is really not how long one occupies a political office that determines performance because over a decade after his short and tumultuous tenure as Anambra State Governor he left indelible marks in the state that remained a template for purposeful governance in his state,” a source offered.
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