Crisis in the Kogi State
House of Assembly is
becoming worrisome. The
recent event, where four of
the key figures in the house
were attacked in the heart
of the capital city, Lokoja on
Wednesday, is frightening.
This dangerous twist in
the unfolding drama may
not be unconnected with
the on-going crisis over the
leadership struggle among
the lawmakers. The latest
happening has therefore,
created the impression
that the dust raised by the
speakership tussle may
turn bloody, if stakeholders
fail to resolve the kernel
of the issue involved.
While steps were being taken
to allow voice of reason to
prevail in a view to finding
a safety valve and get the
solution to the crisis, some
of the factional leaders of the
state House of Assembly who
retired to a popular hotel in
the capital city to cool off and
deliberate a way forward
last Wednesday, turned out
to be a fatal mistake. The
lawmakers never knew that
danger was lurking ahead.
They were taken by the
peace meeting said to have
been brokered by Captain
Idris Wada, the governor of
the state the previous day,
believing that the governor’s
intervention in the crisis
was strong enough to give
them cover. Just like a bolt
from the blues, unidentified
people suspected to be
hired thugs appeared from
no where and destroyed
their official vehicles
parked at the hotel lobby
and disappeared to thin air.
According to the majority
leader of the House of
Assembly, Matthew
Kolawole, he and his
colleagues came on a firing
line on Wednesday in
Lokoja by thugs, damaging
cars belonging to factional
principal officers of the House.
Kolawole added that he
was earlier attacked as he
came out of a bank in the
capital city, but that he was
saved by his driver who
hurriedly pinned the doors
of his car when the thugs
came banging on the door of
his car, as they were trying
to force the doors open.
The lawmaker said he escaped
by grace of providence, as his
driver zoomed off before his
assailants could put their act
together for the desired effect.
Kolawole, who claimed
to know the leader of his
assailants, said he reported
the ugly incident to members
of the factional group of 17 who impeached the embattled
Speaker, Alhaji Momoh-Jimoh
Lawal on Thursday, last week.
Explaining further, Mr Godwin
Osiyi (PDP- Ogori-Magongo),
factional speaker of the house,
said the attack on the majority
leader, and later three others,
was at about 11 am on the
fateful day in Lokoja.
He said Kolawole was first
attacked as he came out of a
bank in the city, but was saved
by his driver who acted fast
when the thugs came calling,
saying he escaped that move,
but the car’s side glasses were
smashed in the process.
Osiyi stressed that the
attempt on the majority
leader’s life was reported to
the Police and Department of
State Security, DSS, adding that
while some of the members
were meeting in the hotel to
discuss the matter, they started
hearing gunshots outside, only
for them to come out and meet
their damaged cars.
While he condemned the
attack on the lawmakers, the
factional speaker described the
act as criminal, as he fingered
the embattled speaker as the
brain behind the attack and
destruction.
“Lawal’s Junior brother, one
Abdul, led the thugs and they
used his (Lawal) official Hilux
van in the attack,” he said.
The damaged cars include
Toyota Land Cruiser Prado
TXL jeeps belonging to Osiyi,
the factional speaker(PDPOgoriMagogo);
Salifu Idachaba
(APC-Ofu); John Abah (PDPIbaji),
the factional deputy
speaker, and a KIA Sportage
belonging to majority leader,
Matthew Kolawole (PDPKabba-
Bunu).
“Only last night, Governor
Idris Wada called all the
members to a meeting to settle
the leadership impasse but
the members said enough is
enough for Lawal; he should
tow the path of honour and
leave, otherwise he will end up
in police cell very soon.
“This attack cannot intimidate
any of us, we are resolute. Even
if he burns my house, that will
not change the situation, we
should do things in the right
manner they should be done.
We are law abiding and even
if we have to go the police
on Okada, we will go,” he
expressed.
But the embattled
speaker, Momoh-Jimoh Lawal
said the allegation against him
was nothing but a moon light
tale that lacks substance. He
added that he had no reason
to embark on such wanton
destruction and attack on his
colleagues, saying that their
meeting with Governor Idris
Wada was resolved in his
favour.
Hon. Lawal denied any
knowledge of the attack,
stressing that he was not aware
and neither did any member
call to tell him about the
incident; even as he said that he
had been indoors all day.
The seed of discord was
sown in the house penultimate
Thursday when 17 out of 25
members of the legislative
assembly signed the
impeachment paper that led
to the removal of Hon. Momo
Jimoh- Lawal (PDP-Okene
II). He was replaced by Mr
Godwin Osiyi, representing
Ogori-Magongo constituency
in the same senatorial district
of the state.
Mr Ukubile Ochijenu-Acharu
(PDP-Idah) moved a motion,
calling for the removal of
Lawal after presenting the
paper containing the list of
17 members who gave their
consent for the move. The
motion was seconded by
Zakari Mohammed (APC-Kogi
Koton-Karfe).
The speaker was said to have
been removed on the grounds
of incompetence, greed,
betrayal of trust, inadequate
representation and care for
welfare of members, as well
as lack of administrative
principles.
Also, two other principal
officers of the house, Mr Aliyu
Akuh (PDP-Omala), Deputy
Speaker and Hassan Bello
(APC-Ajaokuta), minority
leader, were impeached along
with the speaker on same
grounds.
Godwin Osiyi (APC-Ogori
Magongo) who was given the
nod to pilot the affairs of the
House, said the 25 members
of the House were potential
speakers as nobody was elected
into the House as speaker,
stressing that Hon. Abdullahi
Bello was impeached for Lawal
to become speaker.
“This gentleman that was
removed did not come in as
speaker. If I, Godwin Osiyi (alias
2+2) misbehave tomorrow,
I should be impeached. As
long as we continue to have
incompetent leaders, we will
continue to effect changes.
“We have to do away with
incompetence. If it is not well
with the legislature, it will
not be well with the state”, he
expressed.
In a swift reaction, Lawal
said his impeachment was an
aberration and not procedural;
adding that it was an attempt
by aggrieved members that
were not in consonance with
extant rules, arguing that the
list of signatories of members
was not laid before the House.
Lawal said, “Having foiled
the attempt by majority of the
members, it is important to let
the public know that the claim
by aggrieved members that the
required number of members
needed to impeach the speaker
had been signed is not true.
“It is unfounded and not
in consonance with extant
rules of the House on such
impeachment move,” saying
he was still the speaker.
It was gathered that change
of leadership in the House
has ever been a rowdy affair,
depending on the stand of
the executive arms of the
government.
For instance, the embattled
speaker, Momoh Jimoh Lawal
came in with 12 members
against 13 of Mohammed Bello,
who was the then speaker. It
was widely believed that his
move gained legitimacy by
the alleged backing of Captain
Idris Wada, the governor of
the state, who was said not to
be enjoying a good working
relationship with Hon. Bello
because of his principled stand.
To some analysts, the fate of
Hon. Lawal is a perfect scenario
of ‘what goes around comes
around.’ The beat therefore,
goes on for the hawks and
moderate in their quest to play
leadership role in the Kogi
State House of Assembly


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