“It is out of our hands or the hands of the Chief Judge now.”
Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State has decided to fight-off his impeachment after several interest groups mobilised to help save his job.
Mr. Nyako had on Monday informed closed aides of his decision to resign rather than be impeached.
Various sources informed PREMIUM TIMES that Mr. Nyako decided to resign so that his deputy, Bala Ngillari, would be sworn in, thereby forcing the Speaker, Umaru Fintiri, to also resign since he hails from the same Madagali Local Government as Mr. Ngillari.
Although, the Deputy Governor is also facing impeachment, observers believe that the seven-member panel set up by the Assembly will eventually clear him of any wrong doing.
Mr. Nyako’s decision to fight it out rather than quit is said to be based on the support he is getting from different interest groups.
One of the efforts to save Mr. Nyako is from traditional rulers in the state.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the state’s council of traditional rulers met at the Palace of the Lamido Adamawa on Tuesday on steps to prevail on the lawmakers to drop the charges against the embattled governor and his deputy.
Vanguard Newspapers also reports that two former Nigerian leaders, Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida, used the occasion of Tuesday’s meeting of the Council of State to prevail on President Jonathan to use his office to save the governor.
That may explain why Mr. Nyako chose to attend the meeting on Tuesday after staying away from the Villa for quite some time now.
Mr. Nyako, was among the most virulent critics of the Jonathan administration, but has absolved the president of any role in the impeachment moves. The Adamawa governor, a close ally of Mr. Obasanjo, is one of five Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governors that decamped to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
However, while efforts were being made to stall the impeachment, a seven-member panel investigating the allegations of ‘gross misconduct’ against Mr. Nyako and his deputy continued its work.
Panel secures venue, to sit for six weeks
After being prevented from using several choice venues for its sitting, the seven-member panel appointed by the state’s acting Chief Judge, Ambrose Mammadi, finally secured the auditorium hall of Ribadu Square, Yola, for its public sitting.
The panel could not formally begin sitting on Tuesday after it emerged that the first venue they used- J & J Holiday Villa – had sent the committee packing owing to a large presence of security officials which the hotel described as bad business; saying the presence of soldiers would scare away customers.
The clerk of the Adamawa House of Assembly, Francis Gbenenso, who was tasked with the job of securing another venue was also reportedly turned down by all the hotels he visited on Tuesday.
Mr. Gbenenso’s efforts to get approval for the use of both the NLC Club and NUJ Press Centre were declined by the officials of the two labour organisations.
PREMIUM TIMES, however, gathered that the clerk successfully secured Ribadu Square auditorium and the panel members held their meeting there on Wednesday behind closed doors.
When contacted, the majority leader of the Adamawa House of Assembly, Ishaku Bala, told PREMIUM TIMES that contrary to reports that the committee may sit and conclude its job within the week, it may likely sit for six weeks.
“They first of all have to get their admin set up ready, part of which is securing a befitting venue, hold their meetings and then decide on a timeline of their activities,” he said.
Mr. Bala also said everything regarding the impeachment is now in the hands of the panel.
“It is out of our hands or the hands of the Chief Judge now,” he said.
He said the panel is expected to invite the lawmakers to appear before it, after which the deputy governor will appear, followed by the governor, who is expected to be the last to appear.
“It is after all the appearances that they will submit their findings to us (the Assembly),” he said.