The immediate past Senate President, Bukola Saraki has broken his silence on the crisis rocking the Plateau State House of Assembly, describing it as an embarrassment to Nigeria after 21 years of uninterrupted democracy.
In a statement on Saturday signed by Yusuph Olaniyonu, head of his Media Office, Saraki expressed dissatisfaction over what he described as the conspiracy of silence among politicians, urging them to speak out to find a solution to the impeachment saga in the state.
According to him, the drama of unconstitutionality and simple lack of respect for due process is the subject of the crisis, and is exposing Nigeria to ridicule among the comity of nations.
“The Plateau crisis should be viewed in a larger context. It is not about Governor Simon Lalong with whom I have a personal relationship and enjoy mutual respect. Neither is it about the two claimants to the office of Speaker of the State House of Assembly or their supporters in the legislature,” Saraki said.
“It is even bigger than Plateau State or any individual. The issue is about how the world sees us as a serious democratic country. It is about whether the rest of the world will see us as a people who lack respect for due process and therefore incapable of putting the provisions of our constitution to work on simple matters.
“How can we after 21 years of democracy be talking of the impeachment of a Speaker by six or eight members (whatever is the correct figure here) in a 24-member legislature and a picture of a parliamentary proceeding to impeach the speaker holding at 7 am? These are developments that will surely make this country a laughing stock in the International community.
“Yet, all our leaders and top politicians are silent. We, the political leaders, are behaving as we are unconcerned. This conspiracy of silence is the major worry that I have on this issue. We should all speak against the flagrant disregard for due process and lack of respect for the provisions of the constitution. This is the reason why we make a simple issue complex,” he added.
Furthermore, the former lawmaker described the closure of the State Assembly Complex as a mere diversion and the using of a wrong response to correct a wrong development, saying it is a measure that would deny the people representation and prevent the legislature from performing the duty for which the members were elected.
“It is trite to state that by the provision of our constitution, only 16 members can validly impeach a Speaker in a 24-member legislature. It is also not difficult to determine whether 16 members of the Plateau State House of Assembly want Hon. Abok Ayuba to be removed as Speaker or not.
“If those who want him to be removed have the number, it should be easy to determine during a peaceful, properly convened proceeding and if those against the Speaker do not have the number, they should bide their time and go back to renew their strategy. No state machinery or institution should be used to perpetrate or condone illegality.
“All of us should learn to insist on the right thing being done at all times, no matter who is involved and what their motive is. My concern is the need to always take actions that will strengthen, not weaken, our democracy and its institutions.
“We should stop exposing our country to ridicule and contempt of the global community. Maybe I feel this way because of my antecedent as a former legislative leader who was also a victim of the disrespect for due process and constitution.
“I hereby urge all political leaders to speak out on the need to respect due process and protect the integrity of our political system. We should all make interventions that will help the country’s democracy to grow,” Saraki stated.
Ripples Nigeria reported the political drama in the Plateau State House of Assembly as Abok Ayuba, the speaker of the state assembly, was on Thursday, October 28, impeached by eight of the 24 members of the legislature over allegations of corruption.
The lawmakers had reportedly attempted to impeach the speaker on Wednesday night, but could not succeed and returned on Thursday morning.
However, Ayuba and his loyalists in the morning of November 1, gained entrance into the chambers, and during plenary, suspended six of the eight members that carried out what he described as an illegal impeachment.
Meanwhile, the governor of the state, Simon Lalong has reacted to Ayuba’s impeachment saying that he was surprised about the development.
However, the Governor who received the new Speaker, Yakubu Sanda at the Rayfield Government House in Jos, insisted that 16 lawmakers signed the impeachment of the former Speaker.