There are indications that the lawmakers and Mr. Nyako have reconciled.
Governor Murtala Nyako and his Deputy, Bala Ngilari, Friday, failed to appear before the seven-member panel investigating allegations of gross mis-conduct levelled against them by the state House of Assembly.
Messrs. Nyako and Ngilari were invited on Thursday by the panel to appear at the conference hall of the Federal Secretariat Complex in Yola, the new venue finally secured by the panel.
PREMIUM TIMES had earlier reported the frustration faced by the panel in securing a venue to sit as all major hotels and organisations with conferences centres refused them their facilities.
The panel on Wednesday finally secured the auditorium hall of the Mahmud Ribadu square.
But apparently, the panel just used that venue for its inaugural meeting pending when the Assembly Clerk, tasked with the job of securing a new venue for public sittings, finds a permanent site.
Assembly appears at sitting
Meanwhile the state Assembly appeared before the panel on Friday.
The Assembly was represented by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Duro Adeyede, and 16 others. It also sent the Chairman of its committee on Public Accounts, Thelma Wafarinyi, as a witness.
Mr. Wafarinyi tendered 23 exhibits including a video recording as evidence against Mr. Nyako, while he also submitted 6 exhibits as evidence against Mr. Ngilari.
Nyako and Ngilari get notice
The panel on Thursday placed a notice of invitation signed by the panel’s secretary, Binanu Esthon, at the main entrance of the offices of the governor and his deputy, requesting them to appear before the panel. The notice placed at the gates stated that the panel will seat at the Medical and Health Workers Union building along Army Barracks road.
Both men did not attend the sitting.
Settlement in sight
Meanwhile, PREMIUM TIMES gathered that despite the continued sitting of the panel. Mr. Nyako and the lawmakers may have settled their differences.
Unconfirmed reports said the governor had a secret meeting with the lawmakers in Abuja, after which he returned on Thursday to swear in about 36 Development Area administrators.
He also appointed a former secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the state, Peneas Elisha.
The refusal of Mr. Nyako to swear in the Development Area
administrators, was one of the reasons for the impeachment move against him. The administrators were all nominated by the law makers.
In return, the Assembly also rejected to clear Mr. Elisha, two weeks ago, after his name was forwarded to it for clearance to join the cabinet as commissioner.
Mr. Elisha is one of the governor’s loyalist who stood by him during the impeachment saga. Mr. Nyako has now named him as the Senior Special Assistant on Government Affairs.
Various sources in Yola informed us that swearing in of the administrators was in fulfilment of the negotiation between the governor and the lawmakers reached in their meeting in Abuja.
The probe panel will continue its sitting on Saturday with the cross examination of witnesses.
It has also re-invited Messrs Nyako and Ngilari to appear on Saturday.
A resident, Hassan Aliyu, who witnessed the sitting of the panel said it went on smoothly without rancour. He said members of the public did not show interest in the public sitting and most attendees were officials and journalists.
When contacted, the spokesperson of Mr. Nyako, Ahmad Sajo, said his principal declined to appear before the panel because it was illegally constituted.
“The service of the notice of gross misconduct against governor Nyako through the media was against a subsisting ruling of a high court which has passed similar ruling preventing a substituted service.
“The constitution of the panel was also against a Yola High Court ruling which prevented the constitution of the seven man panel,” he said.
“We cannot honour the panel a substance by our presence, the panel still remains a charade as far as we are concerned because the whole process that led to its birth was unconstitutional which made it to remain illegitimate,” he added.