Umar Imam: Former Kogi Assembly Speaker didn't resign to avoid impeachment (Exclusive)
According to his spokesman, there were not enough votes to impeach him.
Contrary to reports, the former Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Alhaji Umar Imam, did not resign to avoid getting impeached.
This was disclosed by his Chief Press Secretary, Umar Yakubu Ali, in an exclusive interview with Pulse Nigeria as he addressed the issues surrounding the resignation of the representative of the Lokoja I constituency.
On Thursday, August 3, 2017, Deputy Speaker of the House, Hassan Abdullahi (Dekina-Okura – APC), read Imam's resignation letter during the day's plenary session.
This had followed unofficial reports that the embattled former Speaker had tendered his resignation to avoid an impeachment plot that would have resulted in his dismissal.
While speaking to Pulse on Thursday, his spokesperson said there was never a realistic chance that he would have been impeached by the state's lawmakers because the votes were in his favour.
Ali said the lawmaker made the decision to step down only because he is more interested in letting peace reign in the state.
According to him, "He chose to resign. Of the 25 members in the House, only eight members signed the impeachment notice.
"So if he wanted to stay, he still would have stayed, but he chose of his own volition to step down because he’s a peaceful man."
While explaining the events that led to the former Speaker's resignation, Ali suggested that it might be because of his principled positions that didn't align with that of the state government.
He said, "The honourable came in one year ago during a crisis, but he was able to stabilize the Assembly.
"Unfortunately, he became attached to the people which was not expected by the government of the day who felt he should be more on the side of the government.
"He asked the government of the day to pay salaries to the people and demanded for an independent Assembly, devoid of interference from other arms of government.
"He also took the welfare of members of the Assembly very personally.
"There was a time when there were issues between the Governor (Yahaya Bello) and the Senator representing Kogi West (Dino Melaye), and he said he's not going to get involved because he was more interested in the genuine reconciliation of Kogi state."
In his resignation letter read by Deputy Speaker Abdullahi on Thursday, Imam said, "I am resigning from the office to avert plunging the state into further crisis.
"Within the same period, I have revamped the integrity of this noble institution and redirected it on the path of honour and in line with the democratic principle of Separation of Powers.
"What transpired last Tuesday during plenary, thugs desecrating the sanctity of this hallowed chamber, was undemocratic, an act of hooliganism, a criminal act and attempted murder."
The Speaker narrowly escaped being assaulted on Tuesday when suspected political thugs attacked the Assembly's plenary session to disrupt it.
While reacting to the incident that left a few lawmakers and journalists wounded and properties damaged, the former Speaker had said, "We have been witnessing crises in assemblies but it had always been in-house, but this one coming from outsiders makes it news, the hoodlums came in and took over in the presence of the policemen.
"The business of the day was carried out with the assurances from the commissioner of police but the hoodlums had a free day in the presence of the policemen."
During Thursday's plenary session, Majority Leader, Honourable Matthew Kolawole (Kabba-Bunu – APC), was sworn in as the Assembly's new Speaker.
Abdullahi urged him to try his best to follow in the footsteps of Imam as he showered praise on the former Speaker, telling the state's lawmakers, "If we must tell ourselves the truth, we will know that we have lost a leader.
"The leadership quality of Imam is something near perfection but we know that even our lives don’t last for ever. Everything has a terminal date."
Honourable Victor Omofaiye (Ijumu – APC) was also sworn-in as the new Chief Whip of the Assembly to replace Bello Hassan Balogun (Ajaokuta – APC) who was sworn in to replace the new speaker as Majority Leader.