|As Suntai 'pocketing' Taraba House of Assembly |
In this report AYODELE SAMUEL in Lagos, takes a look at intrigue and politics behind the impeachment process against Taraba State Deputy Governor Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi by the State House of Assembly
Recently Former Minister for Defense and Elder statesman General Theophilus Danjuma at a pubic function lamented the pocketing of State Houses of Assembly , Judiciary at the state level by the governors .
"The most stifling concentration of power is not in the central but at the state level, The governors almost all the governors are sole administrators. The first thing they do when they get to power is to pocket the state Houses of Assembly, neutralize the judiciary and abolish the local government" these are words from the retired General.
By providence , little did the 'wise' T Y Danjuma knew that his home state House of Assembly his suffering from the same virus from its Chief Executive.
Danjuma is from Taraba State, where its Governor Danbaba Suntai has mandated its House of Assembly to commence impeachment of its Deputy , Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi .
it began early last year when Suntai allegedly declared at one of the State Executive Council meetings in Government House that he had lost confidence in most of his principal officers, including his deputy governor.
Since then, Governor Suntai was said to have severally accused his deputy of holding clandestine meetings with his political opponents in the state , Abuja and of lately Saudi Arabia where he performed lesser Hajj.
Suntai was allegedly to have told his deputy that he will personally supervise his impeachment after accusing him that he Abubakar, the PDP national chairman, Bamanga Tukur, Senator Jummai Aisha Alhassan, Senator Abubakar Tutare and Abdulmumini Vaki, past state chairman of PDP, held another meeting in Abuja and resolved to kill him [Suntai] so that his deputy could succeed him.
Few days after the allegation, the Taraba State House of Assembly initiated impeachment process against Danlandi was moved in the assembly by deputy speaker Abel Peter Diah. The motion was signed by 21 out of 23 members in the state legislative body.
The lawmakers, who accused the deputy governor of using his office to acquire a business venture worth billions of naira, resolved to give him a two-week ultimatum to respond to allegations or face removal from office.
In the motion, Danladi was accused of diverting a Millennium Development Goals project to his private school, Yagai Academy, which houses his other business ventures like Yagai Water, Yagai Printing Press and Yagai Restaurant.
The legislators said locating the MDG ICT Centre and the sinking of motorised boreholes in Yagai Academy are gross misconduct as the school is a private venture of the deputy governor and the facilities sited there cannot be accessed by the public.
They also alleged that Danladi used his influence to acquire "a large expanse of land in Jalingo on which he built Yagai Academy (together with all other multi million naira business ventures sited therein like Yagai Water, Yagai Printing Press and Yagai Restaurant) an institution which is worth about a billion naira which your total emolument as a deputy governor cannot justify and in doing this you have not only breached the code of conduct for public office holders which requires you to show transparency in the act of governance."
Danladi is also accused of undue interference in the postings and transfers of indigenes of his local government area, Karim Lamido, and has been working against the interests of other stakeholders of the local government area.
Danladi in his response to the House of Assembly on the allegation says the Yagai Cybercafe was an initiative of Ishaka Bawa, Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Constituency and Member Repesenting Wukari and Ibi Constituency.
He said the project was carried out by MDG projects for Yagai Academy and that the Yagai Academy did not request or solicit for either in writing or orally.
According to him, the projects have MDG Logo to indicate that it is the contribution of the MDG to the development of the school, saying Yagai as a profit making body could sink a borehole from its profits.
He added that the contract for solar light at Yagai and street light were not awarded by his office adding that all the contracts were awarded by the State Government after being subjected to due process.
He also said his office was not assigned the responsibility of monitoring and supervising the contract and he could not be held responsible for the diversion of such projects.
The Deputy Governor also presented a Document to show how he acquired build the Yagai Academy from various individuals and evidence of a bank loan from the Zenith and First Bank where he collected facilities to develop the Yagai Academy.
He pleaded with the members of the House of Assembly to be objective in their deliberations and promised to be more committed to the party and the people of the State.
However political stakeholder believe that there's political undertone to all the allegations, accusing the lawmakers of doing a hatchet job for Governor Danaba Suntai
They viewed that how does one perform as deputy governor without the active support and cooperation of the governor? Who approved the sitting of the MDG ICT Centre at Yagai? and Who gave approval and signed the Certificate of Occupancy for the Yagai parcel of land?
As the impeachment threat rages, pertinent posers for the lawmakers and the judicial panel expected to be set up over the allegations are: How does one perform as deputy governor without the active support and cooperation of the governor? Who approved the siting of the MDG ICT Centre at Yagai? and Who gave approval and signed the Certificate of Occupancy for the Yagai parcel of land?
The Speaker of Taraba state House of Assembly Istifanus Gbana at a solidarity rally in support of the impeachment move staged by PDP supporters in the six local government that made up the northern zone with majority of the people from Dalandi hometown Karim Lamido, restated the house commitment to impeach embattled Dalandi.
Gbana denied that house is not working under anybody directive in the process to impeach the deputy Governor, its only carrying out constitutional duty to checkmate excesses of the executive arm.
Also chairman of the House Committee on Information, Mr. Daniel Ishaya Gani, said the impeachment process was not initiated by forces outside legislative chamber, saying members were genuinely concerned about the 'gross misconduct of the deputy governor.
Special Adviser to the Governor on media, Istifanus Giwa however refused to responds to question pose to him by Peoples Daily correspondent on phone insisting that "the matter is purely legislative"
However the state Commissioner of Information Emmanuel Bello argued that "Governor Suntai doesn't meddle in what legislators are doing. He is a firm believer in the rule of law and separation of powers. This is purely a legislative matter. So count him out of this."
Political watchers and indeed residents of the state are eagerly waiting to see the end of the impeachment process.