The Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has described the crisis rocking the state’s House of Assembly as “shameful,” insisting that there is just one Speaker in the state.
He said this during a courtesy call on him by the mediation committee set up by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, to intervene in the crisis in the assembly, at the Government’s House in Bauchi on Monday.
The committee later paid a courtesy visit to the Emir of Bauchi, Dr Rilwanu Adamu, at his palace.
The PUNCH had reported that the assembly had been enmeshed in a crisis when elected members of the assembly held parallel inauguration leading to the emergence of two Speakers.
While Abubakar Suleiman was elected by 13 members loyal to the governor and inaugurated by the Clerk, the 18 other members elected Kawuwa Damina as the factional Speaker, at an event held outside the assembly complex under the statute of the mace.
The assembly consists of 22 members of the All Progressives Congress, eight of Peoples Democratic Party and one of New Nigeria Peoples Party.
The governor said, “We are really ashamed with the situation here in Bauchi; my deputy and I are high ranking senators, only to find ourselves in this logjam but certainly, politics is dynamic, some of the democratic manifestations come with crisis, some salutary and some negative.
“We are, by this, loyal to the people of Bauchi and we respect the autonomy and the sanctity of the parliament. What happened in Bauchi is very regrettable.
“As far as we are concerned, there is just one House (of Assembly) in Bauchi because elections were conducted and I was privileged to sign the proclamation and the elections were held with the clerk and the symbol of authority — the mace — was there and inside the House not outside but within the timeline.”
Mohammed, who expressed concern that some members of the assembly were excluded when the election of Suleiman was held inside the chamber, said, “It is very sad for people representing constituencies to be excluded in the discharge of their parliamentary exercise.”
He told the committee that he and his deputy, as former senators, would never undermine the importance of the parliament.
“Certainly, your coming here is salutary to the people of Bauchi and a shame to us distinguished senators, the only state where you have two senators managing the affairs of the state. We will never, in our culture and tutelage, undermine the importance and the respect the parliament has as the second arm of the government,” he said.
The governor lamented that the crisis in the Assembly had caused a setback for him and the government, pointing out that the withdrawal of some of members was slowing down the government.
“It is just because of this that we are exercising some restraint, otherwise, we would have gone ahead to do so many things,” he said.
Mohammed promised to abide by the decisions and recommendations of the committee, promising to give the necessary support needed to succeed in the assignment.
Earlier in his speech, the Chairman of the Committee, Sarki Adar, told the governor that the committee was set up to come to Bauchi and investigate the crisis rocking the state assembly.
He said as a result, an ugly incident in the history of that parliament happened where two Speakers emerged, and the subsequent closure of the assembly, which halted the legislative proceedings of the state assembly.
According to him, the committee comprised 12 members drawn from across all the geopolitical zones representing various tribes and across party lines, adding that the committee is in Bauchi as unbiased team and will do everything possible to discharge its assignment diligently.
He said, “With this, we seek the support of your state government, members of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, members of the political parties and any other stakeholder involved in the state, who has information that will help us.
“Our concern is to find solutions so that the progress of this state can continue without hindrance. All of us here represent various constituencies, some of us represent up to four local governments and we know the importance of representation.
“So, by the act of what happened, the good people of Bauchi State have been deprived of good representation at the assembly because the assembly has been closed for about a month now.”
Adar called on members of the public in the state to feel free to appear before the committee and make presentations which they would work. [PUNCH]