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Huge Embarrassment: Saraki Reacts To Plateau State Assembly Crisis

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Huge Embarrassment: Saraki Reacts To Plateau State Assembly Crisis

Former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has reacted to the leadership crisis which has engulfed the Plateau State House of Assembly.

Saraki in a statement on Saturday made available to Naija News described the situation as a huge embarrassment not only to Plateau State but to Nigeria as a whole.

The former Senate President in his submission said after over twenty years of unbroken democracy in Nigeria, such a thing that has kept the Plateau State House of Assembly under lock is simply inexcusable.

He called on all the stakeholders to do the needful and preserve the nation’s democracy.

Naija News recalls the crisis rocking the Plateau State House of Assembly took a new turn last Wednesday as fierce-looking police operatives sealed off the assembly premises.

Leadership crisis had engulfed the state assembly with two different factions laying claim to the seat of the Plateau Assembly Speaker.

The two lawmakers laying claim to the speaker’s seat are Sanda Yakubu (Pengana Constituency) and Abok Ayuba (Jos East Constituency).

After sealing the assembly premises on Wednesday, the security operatives said to be acting based on the instructions of the AIG in charge of Zone four comprising Plateau, Benue, and Nasarawa State commands, Mustapha Dandaura prevented both factions from gaining access.

Reacting in a statement through his media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki said happenings at the Plateau Assembly is simply a case of unconstitutionality and lack of respect for due process.

He said: “The Plateau crisis should be viewed in a larger context. It is not about Governor Simon Lalong with whom I have 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. 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,”  Saraki stated.

He added that a situation that prevents lawmakers from sitting also denies the people of the state due legislative representation.

According to him, “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.”

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