Hon. Naalong Gapyil, the Majority Leader of the Plateau State House of Assembly has explained why the State Assembly impeached Hon. Nuhu Ayuba Abok last Thursday in the state.
Speaking with airport correspondents on Sunday at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, Gapyil said that the former Speaker was impeached for financial misappropriation, dictatorial tendencies and gross incompetence.
According to him, the former Speaker allegedly used his position as to corruptly enrich himself and develop his personal political empire, thereby frustrating policies that could have engendered development to the state.
He also accused the former speaker of shutting down the House for three months and finding a home in the major opposition party, noting that these acts culminated in what led to his ouster last week by the House members.
He debunked the allegation that only eight out of the 24 members in the House carried out the impeachment and went ahead to show the reporters videos of the impeachment proceedings.
According to him, 16 members of the House of Assembly signed the impeachment notice, adding that the impeachment followed due process and was in line with the House rules.
The member Representing Mikang District at Plateau State House of Assembly further noted with regrets that the House tolerated the impeached speaker for a long time, purporting that he was at the lowest ebb on intellectual matters, especially in areas relating to legislative businesses.
“Abok is also said to have made concerted efforts to thwart all the efforts put in place by the current administration of Governor Lalong and the goodwill earned by it simply because he felt he has found a new home other than the All Progressives Party,” the majority leader alleged.
He said Abok is a product of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), stressing that all he ought to have done was to have worked in line with the policies and programmes of the current government to ensure delivery of dividends of democracy to the people of Plateau State.
He added: “But, I want to tell you that what the House under the former Speaker Nuhu Abok was doing was totally in the negation of what is expected of a leader who is supposed to put into account his primary responsibility first in all his undertakings. This is because we have the mandate of the people of Plateau State to represent them well.
“Being a speaker is a privilege and I must tell you that the way and manner Abok has managed this House as its speaker can be summarised as embarrassing. Firstly, since autonomy was granted to the State House under Abok, there was never a time that the Principal Officers ever met, discussed, and took any decision on any issue.
“Abok was only taking decisions solely without recourse to Principal Officers of the House. And I would be bold to state that his dictatorial tendencies are one of the reasons that cost him the speakership.”
The House Leader added that apart from financial recklessness, the former Speaker’s attempt to undermine policies of the current government embedded in Executive Bills was also his albatross.
He specifically mentioned the Bill for Livestock Transformation as one of such policies he attempted to truncate, stressing that the bill was to address the huge insecurity situation in the state.
Naanlong said it was laughable to hear some people say that the former Speaker’s behaviour and attitude were geared towards protecting the interest of Plateau State.
On this, the member asked rhetorically, “what is Plateau’s interest?. And how can the House of Assembly achieve that interest if is under lock and keyed as members of the Plateau State House of Assembly have not sat to deliberate on issues affecting the state since August?
“Let me tell you, since August, members of the House have not been able to sit despite the fact that they have motions and Bills that they needed to present, deliberated upon and when passed would have enhanced good governance. The former Speaker has vehemently refused to open the House for business since August.
“It might surprise you that attempt was made on the former speaker three times to allow the Governor of the state to satisfy the requirement of the constitution by fulfilling section 121 subsection 1 of the 1999 constitution to present the Appropriation Bill 2022 before the House but refused.”
The Lawmaker also observed that some people had equally fallen into the former speaker’s religious antics, noting that he was instrumental to the emergence and series of extension of tenures of Shehu Bala as Management Committee Chairman of Jos North.
Nanlong insisted that it was obvious that the former speaker had found a new home in the major opposition – the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and had allegedly been saddled with the responsibility of undermining the success of the Lalong administration.
On the rumour that Gov. Simon Lalong had a hand in the impeachment of the former Speaker, the House Majority Leader insisted that the House was autonomous and members were at the liberty to discuss their issues.
He explained further that the House members were mature enough to take independent decisions that affect the state, stressing that the State Government never had a hand in the entire crisis.
On the submission that the former speaker was impeached by a number not up to 2/3 of the 24 members of the House, Nanlo said: “Journalists from both the print and electronic media were invited and were present.
“We made it bold to ask members of the media to take a headcount of the Hon. members in the House today which they did. Now, if you have watched the video containing House proceedings today, you would find out that apart from the minority leader and Hon. Simi, all other PDP members were present.
“In all, 14 APC and 2 PDP members voted and impeached the former Speaker and the record is available. No impeachment can take place without satisfying the requirement of the law and we are fully aware of this,” he said.