The impeachment plot against Governor Murtala Nyako began on a dramatic note yesterday, with the temporary blocking of the Yola airspace to enable the House of Assembly serve the governor with a notice.
A chartered plane, which ought to take the governor to Abuja, was diverted midway to Gombe to restrict his movement to Yola for the notice to be served on him, according to sources.
But the governor, who got a report of the impeachment notice, travelled by road to Gombe to board a plane for Abuja.
In spite of the initial drama, the House of Assembly yesterday sent impeachment notices to Nyako and his deputy, Mr. Bala Ngilari.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governors criticised the impeachment move.
APC National Chairman Chief John Odigie-Oyegun described the move against the governor as “unfortunate”.
He said: “Well, it is unfortunate, but we are already looking into it on how to deal with the situation.
“Let me give the legislators the benefit of doubt by saying I hope what they are doing is just a warning shot and it won’t go beyond that.”
Asked if the APC was suspecting the PDP as the sponsor of the impeachment move, Odigie-Oyegun replied: “I cannot put it beyond them. Definitely, they are behind it because they have money to play with.”
It was learnt that Ngilari’s notice was a smokescreen as forces in Abuja have teleguided the Assembly to absolve the Deputy Governor of any blame.
Although the allegations were said to have bordered on alleged mismanagement of funds, it is believed that “the real plot was to remove Nyako and put him on trial for alleged treason over the toxic” letter he wrote to President Goodluck Jonathan.
It was gathered that about 19 of the 25 members of the House of Assembly signed the impeachment notices.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Some of the lawmakers were invited to Abuja last week where they were told why they must remove Nyako.
“There were indications that some forces in the Presidency spent time with the lawmakers on the impeachment process.
“When some of them were hesitant, they were threatened with likely arrest by anti-graft agencies on some allowances which they ought not to have collected.
“Before some of these lawmakers left, they gave their words that they would serve Nyako impeachment notice this week.”
The Assembly met briefly to serve impeachment notices on the governor and his deputy.
“But the notice on the deputy governor was a decoy by those plotting to remove Nyako. The plotters decided to give it a semblance of fairness. But their plan is to prevail on the Assembly to clear the deputy governor and remove Nyako,” the source said, adding:
“Ngilari, a Christian minority, will then take over as the governor. A former member of the House of Representatives, Awwal Tukur, son of a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, may emerge the next Deputy Governor.
“Immediately Nyako is impeached, he will be arrested and put on trial for treasonable felony for writing a toxic letter to President Goodluck Jonathan on security issues with grave consequences for the unity and survival of Nigeria.
“As I talk to you, the reports of security agencies and the police are ready for Nyako’s trial. The target is to strip him of any immunity.”
Another source gave an insight into the drama behind the issuance of the impeachment notice to Nyako.
The second source said: “As the House of Assembly was about to meet, the Yola airspace was temporarily blocked in the morning to stop the governor from flying to Abuja on a chartered flight.
“I think those against Nyako got wind of his itinerary and wanted him to receive the impeachment notice before jetting out to Abuja.
“The governor also beat the House of Assembly to the game by travelling by road to Gombe to board the chartered flight to Abuja.
“Yet, the governor missed the inauguration of the new National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress(APC).”
Responding to a question, the source said two things also played out between Tuesday and Wednesday, signalling Abuja forces and the presidency’s final move against Nyako.
The source added: “The President personally invited Nyako to the inauguration of a comprehensive National Emergency Relief Programme for the country, beginning with the Northeast, in Abuja on Tuesday. The session was attended by a former British Prime Minister and the governors of Borno and Yobe states.
“Nyako could not make the session. This angered the Presidency. So when they got wind of his chartered flight to Abuja on Wednesday, the airspace was also blocked.
“I think the governor was skeptical about Jonathan’s invitation because the Gombe Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) had on Tuesday invited Adamawa State’s Secretary to the State Government and the commissioners for Finance and Local Government Affairs.
“The mistrust had set in as at Tuesday.”
The thinking is that if Nyako had come to Abuja on Tuesday, the House of Assembly would have had enough time to debate and serve impeachment notice on him.”
It could not be ascertained last night, if the governor will go to court to stop the impeachment proceeding or not.
An official statement from Nyako was being awaited last night.
The provision for the removal of a governor and his deputy is contained in Section 188 (1-11) of the 1999 Constitution.
The section says: “A motion of the House of Assembly that the allegation be investigated shall not be declared as having been passed unless it is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of the House of Assembly.
“Within seven days of the passing of a motion under the foregoing provisions of this section, the Chief Judge of the State shall at the request of the Speaker of the House of Assembly, appoint a panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party to investigate the allegation as provided in this section.
“The holder of an office whose conduct is being investigated under this section shall have the right to defend himself in person or be represented before the panel by legal practitioner of his own choice.
“A panel appointed under this section shall (a) have such powers and exercise its functions in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly; and (b) within three months of its appointment, reports its findings to the House of Assembly.
“Where the Panel reports to the House of Assembly that the allegation has not been proved, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter.
“Where the report of the Panel is that the allegation against the holder of the Office has been proved, then within 14 days of the receipt of the report, the House of Assembly shall consider the report, and if by a resolution of the House of Assembly supported by not less, than two-thirds majority of all its members, the report of the panel is adopted; then the holder of the office shall stand removed from office as from the date of the adoption of the report.
“No proceedings or determination of the panel or of the House of Assembly or any matter relating to such proceedings or determination shall be entertained or questioned in any court.
“In this section, ‘gross misconduct’ means a grave violation or breach of the provisions of this Constitution or a misconduct of such nature as amounts in the opinion in the House of Assembly to gross misconduct.”
Source: The Nation


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