In Kogi, a minority group of lawmakers in the state house of assembly impeached the speaker and deputy speaker who had the majority of lawmakers behind them. The minority group had their way in the state because they had the backing and support of Kogi’s new governor Yahaya Bello.
On Thursday, that same group of minority lawmakers threatened that they will sue the speaker of the federal house of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, because the speaker announced that the House of Representatives was taking over the functions of the assembly due to the crisis.
The minority lawmakers mandated their legal representatives to file a contempt of court case against the Speaker, as well as the Chairman and Secretary of the 10-man House Committee which investigated the crisis in the Kogi House of Assembly.
The Kogi assembly has 23 members and the minority lawmakers claim that they now have ten members on their side following the defection of some members in the other faction. Still, 10 is less than the 13 in the majority faction.
Yet these minority lawmakers who are being backed by Gov. Bello, said today that they “rejected in its entirety the decision of the Federal House of Assembly to take over their functions, hinging their position on the provision of Section 11 (5) of the Nigerian Constitution.”
The factional Speaker, Rt. Hon. Umar Ahmed Imam, who presided over the sitting of 10 members, drew the attention of the House of Representatives to the fact that the issues concerning the legality or otherwise of the impeachment of the majority speaker were before the Federal High Court for determination, adding that the National Assembly went ahead despite a court injunction.
In his words, “It is of concern to this Assembly that the House of Representatives should act in flagrant disobedience to the Federal High Court that restrained them from interfering by seeking the appearance of same before it in the determination of such matter as to competence of the House of Representatives to so interfere in the functions of the State Assembly.
“The continued action of the House of Representatives, despite the court injunction, is not only prejudicial but, abuse of court process and in fact, insult on the preferred rule of law.”
The Speaker also questioned House of Representatives other extraneous interest in the dispatch with which it intervened without making efforts to exhaust the need for employing internal leadership resolution mechanism.
He said for the House of Representatives to have gone ahead in passing a resolution to take over the House without fulfilling the constitutional provisions of section11(4) and (5) is regrettable.
Imam queried the intellectual abilities of the House of Representatives, saying they could not properly interpret section 11(4) and(5) of the constitution. He said what the section meant was for the House of Representatives to take over if there was crises in the State that makes it impossible for the House to sit not when there is an internal wrangling within the House.
According to him, the Kogi State House of Assembly was in session, adding that it met and officially transacted its legislative business at both plenary sitting and at the committee meeting.
“I therefore call on the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to discountenance the concurrence sought by the House of Representatives and direct same to re-examine the prevailing situation dispassionately with a view to finding lasting solution to the situation,” Rt. Hon. Imam stated.
It would be recalled that some members of the House of Assembly had ‘impeached’ the former Speaker, Hon. Momoh Jimoh Lawal, even though they were in the minority.