Close associates of Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State, Saturday, confirmed to The Guardian that the governor has hurriedly put together a seven-man team of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) to defend him at the investigative panel set up by the state’s Chief Judge, Umaru Dikko, to probe allegations of fraud and gross misconduct against him.
The plot to remove the governor thickened last night, with the state house of assembly members insisting that they would take the matter to a ‘successful conclusion.”
Before the panel on Al-Makura was set up on Friday, the special adviser to the governor on public affairs, Abdulhamid Kwara, who addressed a press conference in Lafia on Tuesday, said the governor was putting everything together to appear before the panel at the appropriate time to exonerate himself. The panel is scheduled to commence sitting on Wednesday after the Eid-e-Fitri celebrations.
But when The Guardian called yesterday to ascertain whether, or not, the governor would make good his promise, Kwara neither picked the phone calls nor replied the text message sent to him to that effect. It was, however, gathered that the governor had, Friday morning, assembled a team of senior lawyers to stand in for him at the panel. A top government source said the team comprises seven senior advocates of Nigeria.
In the wake of the impeachment process against his friend, a former deputy governor of the state and professor of Law, Onje Gyewadu, had asked the governor to toe the path of resignation, which he said would be more honourable.
Speaking with newsmen on the development, professor Gyewadu noted that Al-Makura’s travails are as a result of bad leadership, even as he insisted that the impeachment process was a right step in the right direction. “The law makers are the true representatives of the people and whatever they do is in the collective interest of all and sundry,” he said.
While the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its chieftains have kept mum since the impeachment saga erupted, estranged political cohorts of the governor have continued to pour encomiums on the decision of the lawmakers.
A former magistrate and legal adviser to Ombatse, a cultural group, Zamani Zacharia Alumaga, said he has been vindicated. “I kept telling people that we came all out in 2011 because the oracle we went to said Al-Makura will win; and, today, that is history, the same oracle told us again that the governor will not exceed 2015 and the governor himself is aware of this. True to it, this too shall come to pass.”
Contrary to speculations that the embattled governor may have gotten some reprieve following series of intervention by some stakeholders in the state who prevailed on the presidency to intervene in the impeachment saga, the state assembly remains resolute, dismissing any insinuation that the house was considering making a u-turn on the matter.
Spokesman of the house and chairman, committee on information and security, Ahmed Baba Ibaku, has said the current development is constitutional and in line with democratic tenets. He urged those spreading falsehood to desist forthwith in the interest of the public.
Ibaku told The Guardian that the so-called protests said to have been recorded in the state since the governor was served the impeachment notice were sponsored by some disgruntled elements in the state, even as he insisted that the protests had no value to what the sponsors intended to achieve.
He accused the state governor and his cronies of saturating the town with aliens sent away from some northern states because of their involvement in crises, alleging that they were brought out to cause confusion in Lafia.
Also speaking on the issue, member representing Keana in the state assembly, Francis Orogu, described as unfortunate those peddling rumour to distract attention from the main issue on ground.
He noted that rumour thrives in an uninformed society like Nasarawa, dismissing with a wave of hand the information that they were considering a position that would bring reprieve to the governor.
Orogu, who spoke with journalists on phone in Lafia, the state capital, further wondered why some people are not looking at the gravity of the offences said to have been committed by the governor but are rather choosing to draw attention away from the real issue. The Guardian