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Bauchi Assembly crisis: Will House of Representatives intervention count?

As the Ad-hoc Committee set up by the Speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, to wade into the Bauchi State House of Assembly leadership tussle rounds off its assignment not a few Nigerians are waiting to see how peace would be restored in the troubled hallowed chambers.

The 12 member committee headed by Musa Sarkin Adar came to Bauchi on Sunday, July 14, 2019. Other members of the committee include: Abubakar Fulata, Olododo Abdulganiyu Saka, Tunji Ojo Olubunmi, Benjamin Kala, Jaha Ahmadu Usman and Julius Ihonybere. The rest include: Bamidele Salad, Darlington Nwokocha, John Dyegh ,Unyime Josiah Idem and Abubakar Yarima.

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It was put in place with the primary mandate to find out the circumstances that led to the emergence of two Speakers at the Bauchi State House of Assembly. During the committee’s public hearing, it met with the lawmakers and other stakeholders at the Command Guest in Bauchi.

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It collected 28 written memorandum and oral submissions from political parties, groups and individuals.

Individuals and groups that appeared before committee were also questioned by members of the committee during the sitting to ascertain what really happened during the inauguration of the 9th Bauchi State House of Assembly on June 20th, 2019.

The committee also met with workers and staff of the House of Assembly as well as administrative staff of the State Assembly Service Commission during the sitting. The committee also paid a visit to the House of Assembly complex particularly the inner chamber and addressed the press afterwards.

Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed’s Spokesperson, Dr Ladan Salihu, the Chief of Staff Government House, Alhaji Abubakar Kari and the PDP Legal Adviser appeared before the committee on behalf of the government.

PDP Chairman, Alhaji Hamza Koshe Akuyam, other officials of the party as well as the State APC chairman, Alhaji Uba Ahmed Nana and its officials also appeared before the committee.

While the APC urged the committee to recommend a fresh inauguration of the 9th Assembly and election of Speaker, the PDP insisted that the inauguration and Speaker’s election was done in order and in accordance with all the laid down rules.

The last submission on Wednesday was by the Bauchi State Commissioner of Police, CP Habu Sani Ahmadu and officers who coordinated the security operations on the day of the inauguration.

After their tour of the State House of Assembly Complex, the committee chairman, Musa Sarkin Adar commended the people of Bauchi State for the cooperation accorded them during their stay.

He also commended the people who made submissions for their understanding of the situation on the ground and their quest for justice.

He promised that, as they rounded up their assignment in Bauchi, they will prepare their report and submit to the House of Representatives for proper recommendation.

When the committee visited Governor Bala Mohammed in Bauchi, a day after their arrival, the governor expressed his disappointment with the crisis rocking the State House of Assembly for almost a month since inauguration.

“We are really ashamed with the situation in Bauchi, I and my colleague the distinguished senator of repute, who is ranking senator to me, all to find ourselves in this logjam”.

He however noted that politics is dynamic with some of the democratic manifestations coming with crisis.

Governor Mohammed reiterated his respect the autonomy and sanctity of the legislature saying that what happened in Bauchi is regrettable.

“Certainly it is a shame to us as distinguished senators, where you have two distinguished senators managing the affairs of the state. We will never in our culture and tutelage undermine the importance and respect the parliament has as the second arm of government,” the governor added.

He described the parliament as the driving force because it determines what happens in governance, adding “we are not supposed to interfere in what is happening in the House.”

He said that, the state government will not preempt or interfere in what the House of Representatives committee on the Bauchi impasse is going to do, but would accord the committee all the necessary support required to do its job.

“As far as we are concerned there is only one House in Bauchi, and elections have been conducted. I was privileged to sign the proclamation, and elections were held with the Clerk and the symbol of authority (Mace), in the House chamber and within the timeline,” he said.

He further explained that as a Governor whose emergence came as a result of bipartisan support he will not undermine the importance of the State House of Assembly.

The governor assured the committee that, the government will abide by the outcome of its recommendations expressing confidence that the outcome will be acceptable to both parties.

Responding, chairman of the committee, Musa Sarki Adar described as an ugly incidence the crisis where two speakers emerged  during the election of the House leaders.

He explained that the subsequent closure of the House has not only halted legislative proceedings, but also deprived the electorate of representation in the Assembly.

Sarkin Adar said that the committee membership was bipartisan with members drawn from the six geo-political zones of the country, representing various ethnic backgrounds and across party lines.

“Our concern is to find solution so that the progress of this state can continue without hindrance. So by the act of what happened, the good people of Bauchi state have been deprived of good representation with the Assembly closed for almost one month now after inauguration,” he added.

It could be recalled that, the committee was set up to wade into the protracted Bauchi State House of Assembly leadership tussle which arose after the controversial dual inauguration by two groups of lawmakers which led to the emergence of Abubakar Suleiman and Kawuwa Shehu Damina as Speakers.

Suleman was elected as the Speaker of the House by 11 lawmakers comprising of eight PDP members, two APC members and the lone NNPP member.

However, the other group comprising of 20 lawmakers later convened at the premises of the House and elected Damina as Speaker. The Abubakar Suleman led group had after their inauguration adjourned sitting indefinitely while the Damina led group adjourned to few days after their inauguration.

The Suleman led group however obtained a Court order which restrained the Damina led faction from holding their plenary on their adjourned date.

However, while the House of Representatives Ad-hoc committee was in Bauchi, they held plenary on Monday where it approved the appointment of 10 Special Advisers by Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed.

While the recommendations of the House of Representatives are being awaited, the people of Bauchi State and other Nigerians are waiting to see how peace is achieved in the troubled hallowed chambers of the State House of Assembly.

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