BARING any possible change in plans, the impeached former governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, will be facing a judicial panel of inquiry being set up by Acting Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintri to investigate him over the allegedly missing N82 billion state funds.
In a live broadcast in Yola yesterday, Fintri said the task before his government was daunting considering the state’s debt profile of over N12 billion in the statutory revenue account and other liabilities amounting to N70 billion.
However, worried by the gale of impeachments across several houses of assembly, the representative of Edo North Senatorial District, Domingo Obende, yesterday urged states legislators to emulate the National Assembly, which has decided to ignore several impeachable offences allegedly committed by President Goodluck Jonathan because of the need to ensure the nation’s stability.
Obende alleged that it was shocking that the same Federal Government was suppressing the opposition, initiating impeachments and crisis in several states simply because they are controlled by the opposition APC.
According to Fintri, “the level of mindless plundering of state treasury and the shameless and outrageous executive stealing that took place were far worse than the insurgents had perpetrated in the north-east. Never in the history of Adamawa State had executive stealing and institutional corruption been elevated to statecraft as in the past administration.
“We shall set up a judicial panel of inquiry and cooperate with all anti-graft agencies to recover stolen state funds and through effective positive publicity, bring to public notice the abuses that necessitated and justified this change of government in Adamawa State.
“Further more, the Secretary to the State Government shall in due course inform the world about these scandalous abuses and how the simple cannons of government activities were thrown overboard.
“So much damage has been done to our economy, collective psyche, democracy and the benefits of our unity in diversity. All hands must be on deck to reshape the state within this short period.”
Noting that the challenges arising from this will weigh heavily on government, Fintri assured, however, that he was committed to handing over a better state than he met. He added that the circumstances that led to Nyako’s impeachment and the change of government confirmed the maturity of “our democratic institutions.”
To restart the ailing economy and revive the machinery of governance towards achieving peace and progress, therefore, “we have mapped out strategies to reinvigorate the various sectors of the economy through which dividends of democracy can reach our citizens.
“These include giving a new lease of life to the civil service and the machinery of government, which we have already began, a reappraisal of our health, education, infrastructure and social services, as well as ensuring economic rejuvenation and enthronement of equity, justice, fairness and respect for all.”
He warned that anyone who attempts to cause problem in the state would face the full wrath of the law, stating: “I therefore urge our traditional rulers, who are now our first line advisers, religious leaders, elders in all sectors, security agencies and ordinary citizens to avail themselves this opportunity to participate fully in bringing back the lost glory of Adamawa State.”
Meanwhile, the state’s 21 local council chairmen, 226 councilors and 50 development areas administrators have declared support for President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election.
Speaking at the Government House in Yola after their defection from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday, their spokesman and Chairman of Michika local council, Mr. Vandi Favandza, said they came to inform Fintri that they would not only back the PDP but his government and Jonathan’s 2015 ambition.
Favandza said that Nyako’s impeachment was not only good for democracy but also paved way for indigenes to enjoy freedom and dividends of democracy. Nevertheless, he urged the President to give Fintri all necessary support to ensure a smooth and successful government for the benefit of the people.
He further revealed that since they became chairmen, they were only seeing on pages of newspapers that their councils were getting N10 million monthly allocation while what was coming to them could not even pay the salaries of a unit.
Responding, Fintri advised them to be prudent with their council’s funds, noting that as political office holders, they are messengers of the people and can only sustain people’s trust by abiding by their oath of office and the rule of law.
Addressing newsmen in his home in Igarra, Akoko-Edo local council, Obende said he was depressed at the way crises were being orchestrated in the APC-controlled states, noting: “What is happening is very disheartening to a couple of us.
“First, there is danger in the political arena because a political system that ought to be stable is burdening itself with self-imposed tension orchestrating impeachments, which does not augur well for this fledgling democracy.
“What are we even talking about? Who says the President has not committed impeachable offences that the National Assembly ought to be looking at? But because we want stability and the leadership of the National Assembly is mature in the way it is handling issues, we look at Nigeria as an entity that must be salvaged and of course the whole African nations are looking at us. Should we continue to be seen as a giant in rascality?
“To me, I see it as a clear parliamentary misbehaviour where governors, who were given mandate by their people, are not allowed to exercise their rights. If you ask me, there should be a total repeal of these sections of harassment or impeachment.”
Obende advocated that impeachment processes should first be subjected to judicial tests, stating: “Let it go through the court process first and if you win in the courts you can now come to the house and seek an impeachment and of course, they must query the chief judges who will just set up panel without having to know if the cases are right for such a person to be impeached.
“For me, they know that what they are doing now in Edo State is illegal because the courts have told them to obey the law of the house, because they are internal laws that govern what they are doing. I have never heard or seen two chambers sitting on state matters. Some are legislating and transmitting to Abuja or to EFCC or wherever.”
Source: Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu and Emmanuel Ande-http://www.nigeriamasterweb.com/paperfrmes.html