By Ohia Israel
The battle between the Nasarawa State House of Assembly and the Governor has continued unabated and it seems it has no end to it. Gathered by this paper, the State Assembly members who are made of 20 PDP and 4 CPC members are not leaving any stone unturned in challenging the governor in whatever they feel is not constitutional or the governor did without taking a cue from the assembly. This paper learnt that there is indeed political turmoil between the Governor and the House of Assembly which is dominated by the PDP. Information made available to DESERT HERALD indicates that the House Members have resorted to considering an impeachment move on the governor if he refuses to ascent to the bills passed by them. For instance this paper gathered that the State House of Assembly had rejected the list of nominees for appointment sent by the state governor to the lawmakers. The policymakers rejected the nomination of chairman and commissioners that will man the Nasarawa State Independent Electoral Commission for four years term.
The recent fiasco marks another fresh brawl 7 days in the second year in the life of the current CPC government, as the 20 PDP members were supported by the four CPC lawmakers in an effort to make the state unfavorable to the chief executive.
As gathered, the house members are making a move to impeach the governor who refused to accent some bills passed into law by the parliamentarians in the last one year even as fresh fact has emerged that the state legislators will use their reserved power to accent to some bills passed by the legislative arm of government which is yet see the light of the day.
Another issue that may also call for his impeachment is what the lawmakers term “the governor’s reckless handling of State affairs and resources”.
As learnt by this paper, the Governor has been accused of hijacking the entire financial transaction of the State – whereby all persons that are constitutionally empowered to handle the affairs in financial matters are denied. The governor was also charged of being dubious as he was said to have transferred all duties of salary preparation of civil servants and local government workers away from the office of the Accountant General and the Ministry of local government areas [LGA] – and transferred them to office of the Head of Service [HOS], a scenario which Legal experts within the Nasarawa State assembly described as unconstitutional and thus illegal.
What is more disturbing is the transfer of the Directors of Personnel Management [DPM] for the entire 23 LGAs and 16 development areas – away from their respective stations at the LGA and development areas – and brought them to the LGA service commission office located at the State capital in Lafia. Inside sources within the State government point to the transfer as a deliberate act “to conceal his financial activities”. The lawmakers who frowned at the arbitrary transfer asked the governor to reverse the transfer of the DPMs “but he refused”.
Another issue which the lawmakers are also frowning at is the security upheaval which has continued to bedevil the state without any solution, as sources within the legislative house has indicated that about N100million had been claimed by Governor Almakura as being spent for security in southern Nasarawa alone.
According to the lawmakers, they claimed they are yet to see any sign of such bogus amount as security situation is still fragile in the state. It will be recalled that the governor is yet to establish the six military formations he promised to establish in order to quell the rising spate of violence and insecurity in the state. It will be recalled also that recently the House Committee Chairman on Information, Mohammed Baba Ibaku, had lambasted the state government when he spoke on the state of insecurity in the state. He said the lawmakers are concerned that the “governor appears helpless in the face of bloodshed”, even asDESERT HERALD gathered that the military men stationed at the respective stations at the sensitive areas have pulled back because of non-payment of allowances from the State government.
However, in their apparent move it will be recalled that the Assembly has gone ahead to set up a Committee to investigate the governor’s financial activities and alleged funds diversion. The motion to setup the Committee was moved by Hon Anthony Obande. The Committee was setup the last week of May 2012. Principally, the Committee is charged with probing the State and LGA Joint Account to determine how much was spent – and to investigate the seizure of civil servants salary for 10 months.
As also learnt by this paper, the House had another stand against the governor, this came up when the House passed a unanimous decision and rejected the revenue consultant from the state Board of Internal Revenue Service (BIRS). The consultant, who was already doing business in the state, was engaged by the government to turn around the state revenue and in the process earn 10 per cent of the improved revenue for 16 months. The House kicked against the contract insisting that it contravened the provisions of the law establishing the BIRS.
Just as that dust is on, the State Assembly and also the State Chapter of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP), and the state’s House of Assembly, have also condemned the Governor’s recent trip to the US, as they said he never followed due process before leaving the state.
It is of note that the governor is currently leading a three-man delegation the US to inspect broadcast equipment which the state is planning to procure in its digitalization programme for the state owned Nasarawa Broadcasting Corporation (NBS), and to woo investors in the education sector. According to the Chairman of the House committee on information, Baba Ibaku, the governor did not inform the House before travelling. “He did not officially inform the House. We are not officially aware of his trip so the governor’s trip is unofficial since it did not follow due process.”
Meanwhile, the State PDP chairman, Chief Yunana Iliya, also lampooned the governor on the recent travel as he said; “When somebody is not knowledgeable about an office he’s occupying, he just has to ask so he can be given orientation. The governor has not gotten that orientation yet, and he will continue to fumble and violate laws until he seeks to be corrected,” he said.