By Comrade JF. Dabo
Today our attention is drawn to the suspension of two members of the Kaduna State House of Assembly: Hon Yakubu Bityong Nkom PhD. Representing Kaura Constituency, and Hon Danladi Kwasu, Member representing Zangon Kataf Constituency in the Kaduna State House of Assembly. A report contained in www.naija.ng/1137649-kaduna-house-assembly-suspends-2pdp-members.html by one David Oladele has it that the said members were suspended following a “motion of matter of urgent public importance moved by Alhaji Muktar Hazo (APC), member representing Doka Gabasawa constituency and seconded by Alhaji Abdulrahman Haruna (APC), member representing Kawo constituency in the State House of Assembly. The report clearly stated that the motion did not state in clear terms the reasons for the suspension of these Honourable Members of the Kaduna State House of Assembly even when the accused and suspended members demanded to know what they are being accused of.
We are not unaware of the controversy relating to the way and manner the opposition party and the minority group in the Kaduna state House of Assembly have been silenced and the supposed compromise from the minority leader Hon. Jeremiah Kantiok (PDP) that have further pushed the minority parties to the insignificant zone beyond normal circumstances’. The very fact of the way and manner both Alhaji Muktar Hazo and the parties involved chose to be too economical with the details of the accusation on the two suspended members, the prompt action on the motion by Alhaji Aminu Shagali (Speaker Kaduna State House of Assembly) on the matter, the manner the resolution on the suspension was reached and the nature of the suspension leaves a lot to wonder.
THE IMPLICATION OF THE SUSPENSION AND THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION
By this very development, it means that the Kaura Constituency where Hon Yakubu Bityong is representing and Zangon Kataf constituency where Hon Danladi Kwasu is representing for only God knows how long shall lack representation in decisions that will be taken, laws that will be made and their contribution in state matters shall lack an ear to listen. On the extreme, it means that Kaura constituency and Zangon Kataf constituency is suspended from the legislative arm of the government of the state since we shall here after lack legislative representation indefinitely. By extension it means that Kaura and Zangon Kataf constituencies have been accused of indulging in activities that are considered injurious to the state legislative arm.
In the court of public opinion, it is held that the members where suspended for their outright rejection of the planned sack of the Local Government workers by the state Government among others. This may be mere propaganda or the truth. What ever it may be, it has relevance in the whole matter since for now both the two members suspended and the electorate is to the best of our knowledge unaware of the reason for the suspension which ought to have been stated.
MUCH TO WONDER ABOUT
There are a number of raw facts of primary reference on my desk that grants every reason to suspect the said suspension of the two legislators as an issue of political matters that should have little or nothing at all to do with the state as a whole. This then will further place the suspension as a case of impunity, bridge of law, and total disregard to legislative process and the rule of law. Below are issues raise from these facts I was able to acquire this evening and assessed.
The first on my desk suggests that the Rt. Hon. Speaker of Kaduna State House of Assembly, Alhaji Aminu Shagali received a letter supposedly from the Office of the Kaduna State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman (as indicated by the letter head and my source) dated 21st November, 2017 from the PDP state secretariat (Office No. 1 NDA Junction, Kaduna State). Addressed to the Speaker, Kaduna State House of Assembly, Lugard Hall Kaduna. Under the title: “Re: Resolution of members of the caucus of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of the Kaduna State House of Assembly on 14th November, 2017”.
The letter sort to “convey the Resolution of four (4) out of the six (6) Honourable People’s Democratic Party (PDP members of the Kaduna State House of Assembly effecting a change of there leadership in the House of Assembly as follows:- (i) Minority Leader: Rt. Hon. Bityong Yakubu Nkom PhD, Kaura constituency. (ii) Dep. Minority Leader: Rt. Hon. Labari S. Tella, Jema’a constituency and, (iii) Minority Whip: Hon. Danladi A.Kwasu, Zangon Kataf constituency”. The letter also stated that the party (PDP) has no objection in the resolution of the 14th November, 2017 resolution by the caucus in the House of Assembly and “hereby DISSOLVED” the existing leadership under Hon. Jeremiah Ishaku7 Kantiok Zonkwa constituency. It is signed by Felix Hassan Hyat (State Chairman) and copied to the six (6) members PDP members of the state house of Assembly.
The second before me is the fact that another document under the title: “Resolution of the Members of the Caucus of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of the Kaduna State House of Assembly on 14th November, 2017”. This document states that “the undersigned have resolved to effect a change of leadership of the PDP caucus … emphasis mine in the Kaduna State House of Assembly with effect from 14th November, 2017”. On this letter the following wrote there names individual (hand written) and signed in the following order. Hon. Labari Shelly Tella; signed, Hon, Bakoh Obadiah; signed, Hon Bityong Yakubu Nkom PhD; signed and Hon. Danladi A. Kwasu; signed.
The third is the Hand written motion with the title: “Matter of Urgent Importance” whish states “…my name is Hon Isa Hazo representing Basawa constituency.” The letter states that, “of late and recently some members of the Assembly have been engaged in activities intended to destabilize the Assembly and bring the Assembly to disrepute in the eyes of the public…” herein also the document stated “I wish to move that Hon. Danladi Angulu Kwasu and Hon. Dr. Bityong Yakubu Nkom … be suspended from the Assembly … till further notice”.
Oral interviews from very reliable undisclosed sources that clearly suggests the motion; (Matter of Urgent Importance) moved by the Hon. Member representing Basawa Constituency. This undisclosed source proves the motion could have been written by a different member (PDP) and given to the above mentioned to move.
The fifth will be the news report by David Oladele at www.naija.ng/1137649-kaduna-house-assembly-suspends-2pdp-members.html
MAKING A CASE FROM AN ANNALYSIS OF THE ABOVE DATA OBTAINED
It is no longer news that for long there has been a challenge to the leadership of Rt. Hon. Jeremiah Kantiok, who was elected Minority Leader on Tuesday, 9 June, 2015. Many have feel Hon. Kantiok has compromised the office to the disadvantage of the minority and the glory of the ruling APC. The 14th November, 2017 letter signed by the four members above and quoted in number two (2) above, (Resolution of the Members of the Caucus of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of the Kaduna State House of Assembly on 14th November, 2017 ) may serve as a confirmation to this. If that be true also, no prophet is needed to show that APC will prefer the leadership of Hon. Kantiok to any replacement. Beyond that a lot of other facts leave us more to think on the suspension issue.
More on Why We Suspect a Foul Play:
The motion “Matter of Urgent Importance” lacks merits as already states above. It never stated what the two (Hon Dr. Yakubu Bityong Nkom and Hon. Danladi Kwasu) actually did wrong to merit them the suspension.
Bridge of legislative procedure: We have reasons to suspect a high bridge of legislative procedure in this matter. Facts shows that immediately the motion was moved for the suspension of the two above, the Rt. Hon. Speaker granted no investigations, no room for counter motion, no debate, and no point of order. The speaker only swiftly asked “is that the wish of the House?” which he the Rt. Hon Speaker had to ask three (3) good times by my source before ruling in favour of the motion.
It is only customary that for a decision as such to take effect there must be a voting where a total majority of at least one-third (1/3) majority of the members present is needed to take a decision.
The form of voting used by the Rt. Hon. Speaker as data obtained shows is that the Rt. Hon. Speaker used Voice Vote. We may need to ask the legitimacy of that voting method. But whatever be, legitimate or illegitimate, we may need to establish how the Rt. Hon Speaker got his one-third majority through the voice voting to allow the motion gain favour.
I equally have reliable facts that in the voice vote, which the Rt. Hon. Speaker had to ask three good times, the reply he got was only from three members (Hon. Jeremiah Kantiok of PDP and two other APC members) out of the members present at plenary. And that was all the Rt. Hon. Speaker used to grant the motion the favour.
The question raised by the two suspended members still remain unanswered as the requested to know the activities they are accused of which a reply never came to that regard.
It is worthwhile to also note that the Rt. Hon. Speaker did not present at plenary the letters received on 14 November, 2017 and 21 November, 2017 from the PDP caucus members of the State House of Assembly and the office of the PDP state Chairman respectively. This equally leaves much to wonder.
On matters as this, there is the ethics and privileges committee that would have been mandated to investigate the matter and send recommendations to the honourable house before decisions are taken. That would have afford the two members the well deserved fair hearing and an opportunity to know and defend themselves from what they are accused of.
FROM THE ABOVE
The implication here is that there is a bridge of the rule of law for whatever expected gain since it does not seem the right procedure was followed in the suspension of the two members of the Kaduna State House of Assembly. The ills pointed out above gives a very one of us room to suspect a kind of conspiracy against democratic process which amounts to and abuse of power and a bridge of the rule of law.
We must also note the fact that it is a right for the Minority members to change the minority Leader when ever they feel the need to. Large the same majority members in the present administration have had to do such change three (3) times in times past. There is a report by AIT on www.aitonline.tv/apc_lawmakers_in_kaduna_assembly_demads_change_in_its_principal_officers accessed today 29 November, 2019 where it is reported that members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the assembly disrupted sitting as they demand the removal of the then House’s minority leader that was when APC was the minority party having 12 members out of the 34 members of the assembly where PDP had 22. The reason for this move as communicated by Hon. Adamu Usman, the Spoke man of the 8 out of 12 members that sort the change of the minority leader then was that they were misrepresented by their principal officer in the house. This means that the position of the 4 out of 6 PDP members is not out of place hence there is no legal way of stopping that if the majority leader and the Rt. Hon. Speaker feels they are at the advantage with the present minority leader that is only still the minority leader only because the Rt. Hon. Speaker is still to relate the change to the Hounourable house.
The only fact before us is that there is a sequence which follows thus:
There is a general lost of confidence in Rt. Hon Jeremiah Kantiok as the minority Leader of the Kaduna State house of Assembly.
There were two letters sent to the Rt. Hon. Speaker on 14 November, 2017 by 4 members out of the 6 members of the minority party in the house indicating their resolve to change their principal officers in the house and 21 November, from the office of the State Chairman of PDP indicating total support for the change. We must not so soon forget that the change came because the minority leader is perceived as compromising his office against the minority party in favour of the majority party.
The Rt. Hon Speaker for reasons best known to him is still to relate the move for the change of minority leader as the two letters above indicated which is the only reason Hon. Jeremiah is still the minority leader.
A motion came in stating that Hon. Bityong Yakubu Nkom who is to take over from Hon. Jeremiah Kantiok as the Minority Leader and Hon. Danladi A Kwasu who is to take over from Hon Samuel Tanko as minority whip should be suspended for indulging in activities judged as capable of destabilizing the house. It should be noted that the two among the four have been judged as key players in the move to change the minority leadership. Also note that the motion enjoyed immediate attention and treatment.
The motion was moved by an APC member, enjoyed the acceptance of some of the APC members and Hon Jeremiah Kantiok the only PDP member who voted in support of the motion. It is also important to reemphasis here the fact that there are strong indications that the hand writing on the motion is Hon. Jeremiah Kantiok’s.
The Rt. Hon. Speaker in a questionable manner immediately announced the suspension of the two members “till further notice” as the motion demanded.
First we here see the need to and hereby demand that Hon. Alhaji Muktar Hazo (APC), member representing Basawa Constituency should as a matter of urgency in the spirit of the rule of law make clear a statement stating in clear terms the ill activities the Honourable members where involved in to escape being interpreted as a party and chief player in conspiracy against the rule of law.
Secondly, we so demand the Rt. Hon. Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Aminu Shagali to clearly state how he judged and found the accused members guilty enough to make Kaura and Zango Kataf constituencies lack legislative representation indefinitely to avoid being perceived as chief player in impunity and bridge of legislative procedure.
Thirdly, the Rt. Hon. Speaker should as a matter of fact, explain to the general electorate if did or did not receive a later receive a letter dated 14th November, 2017 from the PDP caucus in the State Assembly and another dated 21st November, 2017 from the office of the PDP state chairman. If he did he should further defend his failure to present it to the house at plenary.
Fourthly, APC state Chairman should call his party members in the state house of assembly and clearly understand their role in this and advise them accordingly else we are left with no choice but to see the party as dirty and desperate at acquiring and controlling power against the rule of law hence, unreliable and unworthy to receive the trust of the electorate in the coming 2019 general elections.
Fifthly, we demand that the state executive should distant herself from the current challenge in the state house of Assembly to maintain the little confidence she has on some few of the rest of us.
The sixth prayer is to demand a statement of fact from the Hon. Member representing Zonkwa constituency, Hon. Jeremiah Kantiok on the extend of his involvement in the suspension of two of his party brothers and his perceived compromise.
If the accusation by Hon. Muktar Hazo is on the move to change the principal officers of the minority, if the Rt. Hon. Speaker, Rt. Hon Aminu Shagali did not bring forth the letters announcing the change of the minority leader, deputy minority leader and minority whip before the Honourable members at plenary before the suspension. Rt. Hon. Aminu Shagali, should tell the public how Hon. Hazo would have known there is a move to change the principal officers as contained in the two letters enough to take an official stand. Hon. Jeremiah Kantiok should explain how Hon. Hazo will have such information since he is not a member of the PDP. And defend that on the motion is not his handwriting as alleged. Hon. Muktar Hazo should explain how he come about such information enough to make a motion out of it. Failure to do this we have no option but to view the three mentioned as partners against the rule of law and guilty of administrative conspiracy against the Masses.
We pray that SOKAPU come into this matter as it deals with members from the Southern Kaduna Region of the state.
God bless Kaduna state, God bless the Federal republic of Nigeria.
CC: Rt. Hon. Speaker, Kaduna State House of Assembly.
Hon. Muktar Hazo, Member representing Basawa Constituency. Hon. Jeremiah Kantiok, Member representing Zonkwa Constituency
Hon. Bityong Yakubu Nkom PhD, Member representing Kaura Constituency. Hon. Danladi A Kwasu, Member representing Zangon Kataf, constituency.
The State Chairman, All Progressive Party (APC)
The Chairman, People’s Democratic Party (PDP)
The National President, Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU).
Comrade JF. Dabo is an
Activist, Social Development and Political Analyst.