By Rabi’u Garba
I read Bala Dan-Alkali’s piece titled: “Nasarawa: Of impeachment and the rest of us”, published in Blueprint of Monday, July 21, 2014 and wish to strongly assert that the author merely distorted the facts surrounding the raging impeachment crisis in the state.
The author sidetracked the truth when he wrote that “as things stand today in Nasarawa State, members of the state assembly have by their action, abused the office which they took oath to protect, by allowing selfish considerations to override public interest”. This allegation is simply laughable.
If the legislators who decided to take their constitutional responsibility of over-sighting the excesses of Tanko Al-Makura led executive is selfishness, then how do we describe the series of constitutional breaches committed by the governor?
Dan-Alkali, the Goebbels of the Al-Makura administration, must be told that his description of the move by members of the State House of Assembly as “premeditated just to paint Al-Makura black ahead of the 2015” is neither here nor there.
Instead of whipping up sentiments and attempting to tar the state legislators with the brush of selfishness, he should be bold enough to advise his ‘Oga’ to climb down from his moral high horse and address the fundamental issues raised by the assembly members.
The allegations leveled against the governor are weighty enough to warrant his impeachment. Imputing politics into this serious matter will neither help the embattled governor nor the state.
The pertinent question to ask is: if the governor feels he has not committed any offence, he should be bold enough to answer all the queries raised by the legislators. If his answers are satisfactory, of course, he will be cleared to continue with his gubernatorial assignment.
What I found really irksome is this insinuation by the likes of Dan-Alkali that the PDP-dominated House is after the governor for politically motivated reasons. Nothing can be farther from the truth.
The truth is that the legislators finally gave their blessings to the impeachment process after a report of recent probes by the House indicted the governor over alleged sundry offences. Amongst the allegations are the recent recruitment of hundreds of youths without budgetary provisions; missing N2billion from the Local Government Joint Accounts; N3billion SURE-P funds spent by the Local Government Ministry; missing N700million and N400million Federal Government flood intervention fund to the state.
It would be recalled that before the current face-off, the House had severally complained about the governor’s persistent refusal to implement resolutions passed by it. Also, in 2013, the House Committee on Public Accounts chaired by Hon. Francis Orogu indicted the governor for extra-budgetary expenditures. The committee equally alleged that the offices of the governor, his deputy and SSG spent over N3billion outside what was approved in the budget.
In the same vein, the House Committee on Capital Market, Commerce and Industry chaired by Hon. Ibrahim Moskolo scored the Al-Makura administration low in terms of budget performance, stressing that the N200million appropriated for Nasarawa Urban Development Board (NUDB) was not released to it from January to November 2013. He was also accused of refusing to reinstate sacked 10,000 local government workers.
If people like Dan-Alkali think that by casting unhelpful accusations against the legislator will help the cause of their master, then they must be living in a fool’s paradise. Imagine Dan-Alkali saying that they assembly members are after the governor because the latter’s refusal to “commit the resources of the state to service the insatiable interest of the legislators” and the “desperation of the PDP to re-claim Nasarawa State through dubious means’’.
Methinks that such tepid response to a grave situation like what is currently obtainable in Nasarawa state is doing incalculable damage to both the cause of the governor and even the state in general. If the action of the legislators to halt the governor’s impunity as epitomized in reckless spending of public funds by the administration in the state is an abuse of public interest, then something must be terribly wrong with Dan-Alkali’s thinking faculty.
That the four APC members of the 24-member House did not sign the impeachment notice does not mean that they are party to the administration’s burgeoning recklessness. Far from it! The truth is that they have all been actively involved in several resolutions passed by the House, which the governor has been accused of refusing to implement. In fact, it will be quite unusual for them to append their signatures to a notice that will ultimately end up sending the leader of their party in the state packing.
In conclusion, the governor and his aides should squarely address the issues before them and stop chasing shadows. Casting aspersions on the House members will not help the situation.
Garba wrote from Lafia