APC and the drama of a lawmaker’s suspension



 

The purported suspension of the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs, Hon Usman Bello Kumo, by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at his ward went viral last week. JOSHUA EGBODO writes on  

The petition

The Kumo East ward chapter of the APC in a suspension notice dated April 1, 2020 and addressed to the party national chairman, raised certain allegations against the Gombe lawmaker, citing one as “anti-party activities”. It explained that upon receipt of a petition by the executive committee of the said ward in Akko Local Government of the state, against the lawmaker, a seven-man fact finding panel was raised and given one- week mandate to turn in its report.

Another reason cited in the notice reads; “Infamous conduct in his (Kumo’s) official capacity”, and “other offences likely to have adverse effects on the reputation, progress and stability of our great party”.

Issues in the panel’s report

According to the notice forwarded to the party’s national headquarters, Kumo was found guilty by the panel of anti-party activities “against the election of Alhaji Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya at the 2019 general elections as governor of Gombe state”, describing the act as “an infamous conduct, that cannot be tolerated and it is contrary to the provisions of the party’s constitution as enshrined in Article 21, Paragraph A(I) and (II) as amended”.

Further, Kumo was indicted of factionalising the party as well as destroying its campaign office located at Bakoshi Street, using hired thugs, an act it said was a clear indication and manifestation of bad faith against the party’s rules and constitution.

The report further noted that the lawmaker insulted and humiliated “the good name and personality of our party leader, Senator Muhammad Danjuma Goje, during the hypocritical empowerment programme at Kumo”, which it noted is against the party’s ethics, religion, natural justice and good conscience.

Kumo was also indicted of donating a car “to an interloper, one Garba Inuwa Akoma, who is not even a constituent of Akko federal constituency”, describing the action as a reward by the lawmaker to the said man for insulting Senator Goje on a radio programme.

Kumo reacts

In a swift reaction to the development however, Hon Kumo vowed to challenge the suspension notice in court, even as he described the signatures in the notice as fake, and accusing Senator Goje as mastermind of the entire saga.

Kumo in a statement to that effect said “no amount of mudslinging and deliberate attempt to frustrate my laudable efforts to better my constituents will prevail. 

The statement reads further; “To this end I am going to court to challenge the suspension because all the allegations are spurious and none can stand the test of time. 

“Can you imagine that one of the allegations is that I bought a car for my constituent? How could this be described as anti-party?

“I have never done anything against my party’s principles or carried out any act of violence against my party as alleged in the purported suspension notice cooked by Senator Goje and his hatchet men. 

“I have concrete information that the mastermind behind this plot to rubbish me is my former governor, Senator Goje, a man I have remained loyal to in all my political sojourn. 

“The committee also alleged that I exhibited acts of indiscipline against who I don’t know because all the allegations were concocted and (the) script written by my former principal.

“Procedurally, the ward failed as it has no right to write straight to the national chairman of the party, it ought to have gone through the local government and zonal office, instead it chose to violate all procedures. 

“A careful look at the signatures (showed that) they were all faked in a bid to malign my person. This development is a sad commentary for our democracy, which we all fought to bring to bear in Nigeria.  

“The court is the final arbiter of justice, and there I am heading to clear all the unfounded allegations against my person”.

Hunter turned the hunted?

The situation turned rather dramatic, when within 24 hours, reports emerged that the APC ward chairman, Mr Musa Barade, involved in the saga was suspended over allegation of signatures forgery in the Hon Kumo suspension notice. The report was that some other ward executive members did not in person sign the notice as presented to the APC national headquarters.

After a meeting held on the issue, ward members distanced themselves from the purported dismissal of the member representing Akko federal constituency at the House of Representatives, Usman Bello Kumo, from the party, saying the ward’s chairman, Musa Barade, and six others acted illegally.

The Secretary of the party in Kumo East, Shu’aibu Adamu, during a media at the instance of the ward executive, held at the state party’s secretariat in Gombe alongside others, faulted the purported suspension, or expulsion of Kumo alleging that their signatures were forged by a few aggrieved members.

His words; “Some unscrupulous elements in the party forged our signatures and purportedly expelled Usman Bello Kumo from the party. This was done without our knowledge.

“For this damage of reputation and credibility, we therefore suspend Musa Barade as APC chairman, Kumo East ward for six months with effect from today, 2nd of April, 2020”, adding that their support remain with Usman Bello Kumo as member representing Akko federal constituency in the House of Representatives, and were satisfied with his style of representation. He subsequently called on the public to disregard any report on expulsion of Usman Bello Kumo from the APC.

APC mum?

While there had been no known official response from the national headquarters of the party at the moment, Hon Kumo’s disposition and reaction to the entire saga so far, has been commended by followers of the development. To such analysts, opting for the court, even before the ward party executive committee acted was gentlemanly, and proof of being a democrat.

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