The Speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly, Peter Abel Diah, on Sunday threw in the towel, saying “my resignation is on personal reasons.” He spoke to journalists on the telephone yesterday night.
The Majority Leader of the Assembly, Joseph Albasu Alkinjo, is likely to be sworn as Speaker today, it was learnt.
It has been a long battle between the Speaker and Governor Darius Ishaku. After an unsuccessful attempt at the weekend, the Speaker could not stand the reinvigorated impeachment moves against him yesterday.
The onslaught against the Speaker is alleged to be sponsored by Governor Darius Ishaku. The governor, however, denied the allegation.
It was gathered that the plan to impeach the Speaker was spearheaded by a trio of the Taraba State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Victor Bala, Joel Ikenya, a former senator from southern Taraba and Abubakar Bawa, a Political Adviser to the Governor on Political Matters.
Member representing Yorro constituency, Mohammed Danlandi Gwampo, is said to have anchored the collation of signatures of his colleagues for the purpose of impeaching the Speaker.
The relationship between the governor and the Speaker has been frosty of late, allegedly over the distribution of the state’s resources.
Full-blown political crisis erupted between the Taraba’s executive arm and the legislature when the Assembly, at the prompting of the Speaker, had bared their fangs in futility to impeach the governor.
“The Speaker had wanted the governor removed by the lawmakers,” our source said.
The rift between the governor and the Speaker deepened when Gwampo, a former deputy Speaker and loyalist of the governor, was impeached on October 7, at the prompting of the Speaker.
“Gwampo’s impeachment dawned on the governor that if his loyalist in the Assembly could be impeached without his knowledge, he too could be kicked out of office any time. So, he (Ishaku) has to avert any unknown situation,” a source close to the governor told The Nation.
It was gathered that only nine of the 24-member House have signed the impeachment of the Speaker on Friday. Only 16 members and above can form the required 2/3 majority of the 24 members to effect an impeachment.
The anti-Diah group however, got the 2/3 majority yesterday night. It was learnt that the five APC members of the House who had been sitting on the fence during the squabbles yesterday joined the anti-Speaker group to make up the required number.
“It planned to impeach him (Speaker) tomorrow morning (today), that’s why he has resigned,” one of the State Assembly members said.
The Nation also gathered that the PDP chairman Victor Bala is aspiring for the 2023 governorship election, and Diah’s removal as Speaker would be to his advantage, because Diah is also aspiring for the plum office.
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor, Bala Dan Abu, yesterday denied allegations that the governor had sponsored the impeachment of the Speaker -the longest serving member representing Mbamga constituency.
Abu said: “The social media is inundated with reactions to a certain unsigned fake news story containing essentially rumours of a purported impeachment plot against principal officers of the Taraba State House of Assembly including the Speaker, Abel Peter Diah.
“The article made spurious claims to the effect that Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku is the sponsor of the so-called impeachment plot and that he had committed N200 million Naira public funds to it.
“Nothing can be more untrue. It is yet another wicked and malicious attempt to cause confusion and conflict in the relationship between the executive and legislative arms of government in Taraba State on the one hand and Governor Ishaku and Peter Diah, his political god son, on the other.
“Both men have had several years of fruitful personal and official relationships nurtured by mutual trust, cooperation and collaboration.
“Governor Ishaku will never sponsor and did not sponsor the so-called impeachment move, if indeed there was any such move by the members, let alone fund it with such a staggering amount of money from the public purse.
“The allegations are ridiculous, absolutely false and malicious. It is certainly for these reasons that the author of the article failed to sign it. Governor Ishaku wants the general public to ignore this article and the lies contained in it. Governor Ishaku is an apostle of peace and will not do anything that will rock the existing level of trust and understanding between him and members of the state House of Assembly.”