The ousted speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Hon Abdullahi Bello, and 12 other members, mostly principal officers of the state Assembly, held a session in a hotel in Lokoja where they resolved to write to the United Nations agencies and the international donors to rescue the state from flooding.
Bello, who disclosed the development while holding a press briefing amidst tight security in Abuja yesterday, asked President Goodluck Jonathan and the inspector-general of police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, to call the state commissioner of police, Mr. M.M. Katsina, to order for allegedly withdrawing the security operatives attached to him by 2am on Thursday.
Among other resolutions made available to journalists, the Bello-led Legislature sacked Hon. Habibat Deen (Ankpa 1 constituency) after a vote of no confidence passed on her, and she was immediately replaced by Hon. Abdullahi Zakari (Ankpa 11 constituency) as deputy chief whip.
Bello said, "Some minority members of the Kogi State House of Assembly broke into the House of Assembly with a fake mace belonging to Igala-Omela local government council and purported to have sacked the speaker and all the principal officers. It shows the low quality of their minds and, by the grace of God, the great people of Kogi State will resist the illegality and rascality of the highest order.
"To my dismay, the Kogi State commissioner of police who was supposed to give us security went round and disallowed us from getting into the Assembly Complex. This informed why we decided to hold our parliamentary sitting in another place within Kogi State, provided we have the mace.
"We have taken our case to the IG of police and I am therefore using this opportunity to tell him to call the CP to order to avoid anarchy. We will not take laws into our hands but the CP should be called to order. By 2am today (Thursday), the CP withdrew all the security around me. In the few days ahead, you will see our legal options and, as you aware, we have informed the National Assembly on the matter. Meanwhile, we have adjourned for another parliamentary sitting on October 23.
"We are taking all legal measures to reverse the illegality. We are therefore calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to rescue Kogi State legislature from crisis. If any governor resorts to muscle-flexing, the parliament would be in confusion."
Bello, who stated that he was no longer safe because of the withdrawal of his security, stated that the clerk of the Kogi State House of Assembly was arrested and later forced into the Government House while the House of Assembly Complex was burgled.
According to him, the clerk was "forced to write spurious and malicious issues against me".
The embattled speaker also dismissed as lies insinuations that he did not come to welcome the president who was in the state in respect of the recent flood disasters.
He said, "The accusation that I did not come to receive the president is incorrect. I want to make it clear that I was not informed that the president was visiting. I was attending a conference of speakers' meeting on constitution amendment in Abuja where I was a guest speaker and it was too late for me to leave immediately to the state.
"They still accused me of not showing concern during the attack on Deeper Life Bible Church in Okene in which many worshippers including two soldiers were also killed. I was in Mecca then and, immediately I was informed, I was in constant touch with this same CP who then applauded me. When I came back, I visited the victims and we invited all the security chiefs in the state on the floor of the House."
In its resolution made available to journalists during the press briefing, Bello said, "a resolution of this Honourable House should be forewarned to the organized private sector and international donor organizations including USAID, UNICEF and WHO to come and rescue the state from flooding".
My hands are clean - Gov Wada
The Kogi State governor, Captain Idris Wada, said in a statement yesterday that he had no hand in the impeachment of the speaker and the principal officers.
The statement signed by the special adviser to the governor on media and strategy, Mr. Jacob Edi, said Wada did not instigate the impeachment.
The statement reads: "The executive denies in very strong and unequivocal terms Bello's attempt to trace his woes to the executive under the leadership of Governor Idris Ichalla Wada. Since assuming office early in the year, the governor has remained committed to the principles of Separation of Powers as embedded in every modern democracy.
The issues, as contained in the impeachment notice, was purely an internal problem of the legislature. Therefore, any effort to link the good name of the governor and thereby tag him as the mastermind of the impeachment is not only unfortunate and puerile, but should be treated as a desperate attempt by somebody on a free fall with a view to diverting the attention of the public from the real issues as listed by Hon. Bello's colleague.
"The former speaker's claim that he has been having problems with the governor without mentioning such problems sounds at best like a half truth.
"The grounds for impeachment as contained in the impeachment notice which have been well reported in the media are well spelt out and not vague. For anyone in doubt, Bello and his cohorts were accused of poor leadership and high-handedness.
To be precise, the former speaker was accused of being insensitive to the feelings of the citizenry as shown in his refusal to show reasonable concern first when 19 worshippers, and two soldiers on national assignment were gunned down by unknown persons in the Central Senatorial District and later during the flood that ravaged nine local councils cut across the three senatorial districts of the state.
He was accused of adjourning the House indefinitely and being absent during the visits of President Goodluck Jonathan and Senate president David Mark who separately paid solidarity visits to the flood victims.
"It is true that members of the House paid courtesy call on the governor to intimate him of the leadership change and to introduce the new leadership, in the spirit of Separation of Powers. Governor Wada was not in a position not to receive the legislators or any indigene of the state at any time they need to see him as partners in the development of the state.
In fact, there is a standing rule for the top echelon of the judiciary and legislators to have express passage to see the governor, whenever they so desire. Bello himself has been a beneficiary of that rule.
"The allegation of financial inducement is satanic and most unfortunate. The profile of Governor Wada does not march the one currently being canvassed by Bello and his co-travellers. The governor is a prudent manager of resources whose major concern is how to use the available resources to bring the good life to the people of Kogi State."