When Commotion Beclouds Kaduna House: The 2023 Connection ?
By Sardauna Ibrahim
The 2023 governorship election in Nigeria ,may look far away.But some political actors might have assumed that an early grip on power blocs in their respective states,could in the long run ,gives an edge over contenders.Here is a piece by Sahel Standard on the recent political drama in the Kaduna State House of Assembly,KSHA,and its seeming link with 2023.
The Lugard Hall Kaduna is a complex that is highly referred.From the name,students of history need not be told that it was the place used by Lord Fredrick Lugard as office during the colonial era.During the pre and post independence era,the complex was the official place where regional officers and the northern monarchy ,took decisions on the region about domestic policies and the regions affairs with it’s neighbors and overseas.In the contemporary era.the Lugard Hall complex,perhaps due to it’s centrality,expanse ,architectural beauty and majestic history ,among others,served as the complex that houses the Northern Regional Assembly and Kaduna State House of Assembly, KSHA,since the days of parliamentary democracy in Nigeria to date.
REMOTE FACTORS THAT CAUSED TENSION
On Thursday ,the 11th of June,2020 to be precise,tension had enveloped the Lugard Hall complex in the morning,as the State Assembly Complex was shut to official visitors and others.The general feeling was that ,all was not well since the closure was not in anyway,envisaged and was considered abnormal.
Journalists were told that the Speaker of KSHA,Hon,Zailani had traveled the previous day.Later explanation from sources in the KSHA ,were that moves to impeach Zailani because of certain reasons,were hatched and about to be perfected under the guidance of the Deputy Speaker,Hon. Mukhtar Isa Haro. Speaker Ibrahim Zailani,in their accusations,was not doing what they had expected when they supported him to succeed Hon.Aminu Shagali.Shagali had,few months ago,resigned as Soeaker of the House.It was alleged that his seeming romance with the executive arm in the state,was counter to the members welfare and progress.
Like some humans who could’ve premonition ,Ibrahim Zailani had returned to Kaduna and while his antagonists were mobilizing for the change of hour,he surprised them by appearing in the All Progressive Congress,APC ,dominated complex.He quickly garnered support ,made political realignments and reached consensus particularly with the bloc of state lawmakers from the opposition People’s Democratic Party,PDP.
What happened next ,for now,was history as the plot by the Deputy Speaker and his apologists ,was foiled .Subsequently and to further consolidate his influence in the KSHA,the pro Zailani House was able to Impeach the Deputy Speaker and in his stead ,Hon.Auta Kanzai from Kauru constituency was sworn in as the new Deputy Speaker of the KSHA.
VIOLATING SANCTITY OF LUGARD HALL
After Speaker Zailani successfully retained his seat,journalists learned that 24 lawmakers out of 34 attended an emergency plenary where a vote of no confidence was passed on the Deputy Speaker,Haro.A inside source said “the lawmakers had also pledged their support for the House leadership under Speaker Zailani and vowed to resist any plot or plan against him.”
Thereafter, “Hon. Isaac Auta Zankai representing Kauru was nominated and sworn in as the new deputy speaker.”
The Speaker had said that the impeachment of his deputy would serve as deterrent to those who did not believe in the house leadership. He described the crisis as internal, saying others had been impeached in the past.
But the impeached deputy speaker said 21 lawmakers had agreed to impeach the speaker for lack of competence. He also said Zailani failed to call for sitting since he emerged speaker in February, 2020.
Subsequently,confusion ensued on the floor of the House when the member representing Makera constituency, Dahiru Liman snatched the House mace. Liman had ,some minutes after the announcement of the new deputy speaker,walked into the chamber accompanied by the impeached deputy Speaker.
What happened next was a violation of the sanctity of the House.That moment on the floor was characterized by violent crisis in which aggrieved members pounced on Liman and he was dealt with ,viciously.Even as he was bundled outside the chamber,he was trailed and beaten.Liman who was advised to flee,was recalcitrant and was heard saying he would not be that cowardly.” I’m going to be here,even at the expense of my life,” he had said.
Though some lawmekers and others were heard in groups,discussing in hush tones,the possibility of the KSHA ,allegedly being influenced by varying powerful persons or groups within the ruling party in the state and Abuja,there was no direct link to either the state government or a Federal lawmaker in Abuja,as was speculated during the conflict.The story that Governor Nasiru Ahmad El-Rufa’i had expressed surprise and wondered why should the Senator be interfering in the affairs of the House,also remained unsubstantiated.
While some pointed accusing fingers on the governor,others on the Senator representing Kaduna Central, there was no external intervention while the House crisis lasted.Only a former member of the KSHA, Chakis was sighted busy trying to pacify the contending parties as violence intensified.Some had listened to the former member from Kawo constituency,and temporarily sheathed their sword.It was a development that signified Chakiis had enjoyed some goodwill and respect amongst his former colleagues.
THE SEEMING LINK WITH 2023
Till date nothing,officially,was heard from the executive arm of government on the House crisis.Also,messages put through to the Senator on the crisis ,had not yielded any result.Only a terse statement from Dambatta,who organizes the media for the Senator in Kaduna.He told Vanguard that they knew nothing about the House crisis.
It was the Kaduna State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress that in a stared ,condemned what it termed “the ugly behavior exhibited by some lawmakers on the floor of the Kaduna State House of Assembly on Thursday, June 11, 2020 during its plenary session.”
Chairman of the APC in Kaduna state,retired Air Commodore ER Jekada, had during a chat with journalists ,affirmed the position of the party on the supremacy of rule of law and dialogue in resolving disputes.
Jekada said the actions of the lawmakers were highly regrettable because it ran afoul of the standard practice of the All Progressives Congress both at the National and State levels.
” The application of thuggery in resolving political disputes is an aberration in modern day democracy, it was also against the Change mantra of the All Progressives Congress,” he said.
He advised the lawmakers to embrace dialogue and peace in their deliberations and appealed to members of the public not to judge the party from the ugly trend exhibited by the lawmakers.
However,the state chapter of PDP was hard on the lawmakers,where in a statement issued by Abraham Alberah Catoh,the State Publicity Secretary,said the leadership of the Care Taker Committee,CTC, of the Kaduna State Chapter of the People’s Democratic Party,PDP, has condemned, in strong terms, the leadership fight of the Kaduna Sate House of Assembly.
“The party frowned at the reckless manner in which members conducted themselves, where they threw caution to the wind, without recourse to the plight of the electorates. This is a threat to our democracy.
“The PDP wondered why the honourable members allowed their internal crisis snowballed into fisticuffs with all the attendant media coverage, when there are more serious burning issues like the Coronavirus pandemic,poverty, insecurity and other economic woes bothering the citizenry.”
“The APC leadership has disappointed the people of Kaduna State with their shameless behavior,to say the least!The party further advised the members of the legislature to use their energy to sponsor bills and motions the would move Kaduna State forward, rather than fighting each other in public.”
“Though, it is their stock in trade to steal mandate giving to politicians by the electorates, it is totally unacceptable for members to go as far as stealing the symbol of authority of the Assembly, whatever the provocation.Finally, the PDP called for calm and amicable resolution of legislative disputes.”
Mr.Danjuma Sarki,a chieftain of PDP in the state,said the last session of the Kaduna State House of Assembly was the worst in the history of the state.
“For the benefit of their pockets, members jettisoned the principles of check and balances between the executive and the legislature. They were known to hardly scrutinize bills presented to them by the executive, talk more of debating or holding public hearings before passing them. That session of the House unenviably holds the record of passing a bill in 34mins,” he alleged.
Between Uba Sani,Sir Kashim Ibrahim House and 2023
When Governor Nasiru Ahmad El-Rufa’i of Kaduna State commented on the live radio phone in program,he did not anointed anybody as a likely successor.Rather,there was a reference indicating Kaduna has many young political juggernauts,who if given the opportunity,could steer the ship of state well.
For supporters of Senator Uba Sani,the expectation was a categorical statement from the former Minister of the FCT. They believe that their favorite deserves support and all the endorsements necessary to ensure he occupied the most coveted seat in the state come 2023.
Uba Sani,they reasoned ,had been identified as “one who sacrificed much for the return and sustenance of democracy in Nigeria .In Kaduna,the state he represents in the Nigerian Senate,he was among the few that used enormous resources,sacrificed time and stood solidly behind the incumbent governor to chase the opposition out of power.”
” Uba shown exemplary leadership skills and has brought together sections of the party,all working for the overall development and progress of the state ,'” Malam Mamuda has said .
As time unfolds,the journey to Sir Kashim Ibrahim House Kaduna in 2023,may be full of political intrigues and power play,as the struggle for relevance ,superiority and dominance between the seeming contending camps,might have begun.
Kaduna lawmakers to face disciplinary committee:
Meanwhile,the Lawmakers who were associated with the violent conflict on the floor of the Kaduna State Assembly,were to face the Ethics and Privileges Committee of the House.
This House resolved in its sitting that the matter be deliberated with a view of restoring the integrity of the house .
According to a source close to the legislature,”the decision followed a motion moved by the member representing Zaria City Constituency, Alhaji Suleiman Dabo.”
“In the motion, Dabo said that the attitude of the members had caused embarrassment to the Assembly, as such those involved must be made to explain their actions in order to redeem the image of the lawmakers and the state.”
According to Dabo,”the seven lawmakers, not only attempted to seize the mace, but also caused confusion in their attempts to prevent the House from sitting.Their conduct was uncalled for as they are being referred to as honorable members and should be seen as one.”
“Those involved in the fracas were former speaker, Alhaji Aminu Abdullahi-Shagali, Alhaji Mukhtar Isa-Hazo, who was removed as deputy speaker, and Alhaji Dahiru Liman.Others included Alhaji Yusuf Salihu, Alhaji Salisu Isa, Alhaji Nasiru Usman and Mr Nuhu Shadalafiya,” he alleged.
He said “the seven lawmakers conducted themselves in a disorderly manner, obstructed the business of the house and attempted to steal the mace.”
“Their refusal to conform to the standing order of the house and willful disregard of the authority of the house, brought upon the house a total embarrassment as it was aired and published in all media houses and circulated in the new media.It has portrayed a bad image of the house in particular and Kaduna state as a whole.II hereby recommend that the members mentioned above should be referred to the committee on ethics and privileges for investigation and proper necessary action which should be taken against them.”
The sitting, presided by the Speaker, Alhaji Yusuf Zailani, had adopted the motion and directed the seven members to appear before the Ethics and Privileges Committee to defend themselves.The committee had one week to submit its report.