The Kogi State House of Assembly has entered into a leadership crisis and troves of impeachment declarations from two warring factions, both claiming loyalty to the Governor of the state, Yahaya Bello.
The crisis deepened a week ago when 19 members of the House led by Rt. Hon. Ahmed Mohammed passed a vote of no confidence on the Speaker, Matthew Kolawole, with resolutions to impeach him over allegations of financial impropriety, high-handedness serial abuse of office and refusal to abide by the constitution of the country.
The members had placed the Speaker on suspension pending the outcome of an investigation by the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges.
Barely a week after, the members loyal to the Speaker convened an emergency sitting on Friday, announcing the impeachment of the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Muhammed and suspension of three other principal officers.
Recall ebirareporters.com reported that the three principal officers removed by the Kolawole faction are Bello Hassan Balogun (Majority Leader), Idris Ndako (Deputy Majority Leader), and Hon. Edoko Moses Ododo (Chief Whip).
Heavy presence of security personnel was reported at the Assembly complex consisting of the Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, (NSCDC), and the Department of State Services (DSS).
Meanwhile, the Ahmed Mohammed faction has reacted to the impeachment, declaring it as null and void.
In a press statement obtained by ebirareporters.com, the faction insisted that Kolawole has been impeached and activities conducted under him are illegal.
The faction further accused Kolawole of gross corruption and diversion of funds meant for the assembly since 2019.
The statement reads, “That the said Mr. Matthew Kolawole used the Kogi State House of Assembly account to collect a personal loan running into hundreds of millions to the detriment of Members of the House.”
“That the Said Mr. Mattew Kolawole stepped on and diminished the integrity and status of fellow elected members by serially recording meetings and confidential conversations of members with which he maliciously played for the Governor of Kogi State as a tool to blackmail members and destroy the trust and loyalty of members to the Governor overtime.
“That all the undersigned 19 members upon being perplexed and vexed at the obvious evil behaviour and machinations of Mr. Mattew Kolawole met and decided to constitutionally impeach the said Mattew Kolawole to wit signatures were collected and the said Mattew Kolawole impeached and a Speaker Pro Tempore duly elected amongst members.
“The standing orders of the Kogi State House of Assembly state that Mondays and Fridays are meant for Committee business and oversight functions and are not plenary days.
“For the business of plenary and by extention resolutions to be effected, a proclamation must be made a minimum of 48 hours before the date of sitting. This then goes to the fact that all the activities of the intimidated and kidnapped members under the impeached Mr. Mattew Kolawole today the 17th day of June, 2022, are null and void ab initio and cannot stand the test
The faction pledged their loyalty to Governor Yahaya Bello and the All Progressives Congress in the state.