The gale of controversial impeachments touched down in Adamawa State on Tuesday when nine of the 26 lawmakers impeached the speaker of the state assembly, Hon. Umaru Fintiri.
For some time now, there had been a lingering face off between the executive and legislative arms of government in the state with the legislature polarized as some supported the state governor, Bala Nggilari while others are in the camp of the speaker, Fintiri, himself a former acting governor of the state following the impeachment of Governor Murtala Nyako by the assembly.
The development had caused the speaker to put the gates of the assembly complex under lock and key for the past three weeks now.
The ding dong affair however came to a dramatic end on Tuesday when members believed to be loyal to Governor Nggilari sat at the conference hall of the Adamawa State Government House and impeached speaker Fintiri.
Before now the 11 aggrieved lawmakers have issued a statement accusing Hon. Fintiri of highhandedness and unilateral closure of the house which lasted for weeks and issued a warning to the effect that by that action they have no alternative other than to convene the sitting elsewhere.
Shortly after the March/ April general election, the house of assembly went on a three week recess to allow members to rest after the electoral process.
However, a day to the opening of the house after the recess, 11 members believed to be loyal to the governor issued a statement expressing their dissatisfaction with the leadership style of Fintiri and threatening to effect a leadership change in the house.
This development forced the speaker to shift the plenary sitting which out to have commenced on Monday 20th April till Monday 27th April 2015 and even at that, the house could not convene on the appointed day as the house of assembly premises remained under lock and key prompting the aggrieved lawmakers to issue another statement warning that since the speaker could not open the house for legislative functions, they have no alternative than to sit somewhere else.
As the crisis heightens, nine among the 11 aggrieved lawmakers on Tuesday 29 April convened at the conference hall of the Government House where they impeached the speaker and his deputy.
it all started shortly after the nine lawmakers arrived the conference room, and member representing Gombi constituency, Hon Jerry Kumdisi, moved for the appointment of Wale Fwa as Protem Speaker and was seconded by member representing Girei constituency, Abubakar Umar Girei.
After assuming his role, Protem Speaker, Hon. Wale Fwa noted that the reason for convening of the session follows consistent refusal of the Speaker to open the house after series of entreaties made to him fell into deaf ears.
She added that majority of the lawmakers have lost confidence in the leadership of Fintiri as a result of which 17 lawmakers representing 2/3 of the lawmakers duly signed for his impeachment and his deputy.
“All the members who signed the impeachment notice have resolved to remove the speaker and his deputy,” she noted.
It was at that point that member representing Verre constituency, Hon. Salihu Kabillo moved for the impeachment of the speaker and his deputy leading to the removal of Fintiri.
After this, he again moved for the nomination of Hon. Jerry Kumdisi as the new speaker and was seconded by member representing Yola South, Hon Abuzarri Ribadu.
In his acceptance speech, Kumdisi pledged to end the era of impunity as was entrenched by Fintiri’s leadership which led to his eventual fall.
He promised to work in harmony with the executive arm of government as the relationship was earlier frosty which affected the people of the state adding that Fintiri also ensured that the house has remained under lock and key for some months.
However, he described some of the lawmakers who failed to turn up for the impeachment as cowards adding that despite their failure to show up at the sitting the decision to impeach the leadership of the house remained sacrosanct as their signatures were duly appended and acknowledged.
The new speaker later moved for the adjournment of the sitting to Wednesday at 10:00am.
While reacting to what he called a nullity, the embattled speaker of the house, Fintiri said he remains the constitutionally recognized speaker of the assembly as those that claimed to remove him from office did not follow due process of the law.
His words: “It beats my imagination for nine lawmakers who are under the payroll of the governor of the state to sit down with a fake mace at the government house to effect my removal”.
He said the people of Adamawa State know who their representatives are and called on the media to safeguard the truth and the Constitution of Nigeria.
According to him, “their action is a nullity as they did not follow the due process of the law. If they are right, they ought to come to the floor of the house and effect my removal not at Government House,”