Politics

”I Can’t Be Impeached” — Al-Makura …As Probe Panel Begins Sitting Tomorrow

The governor of Nasarawa State, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, on Tuesday, told the 20 lawmakers pushing for his removal in office through impeachment procedure that no one could tamper with his mandate.

The governor, who promised to make himself available before the seven-man probe panel to clear all the indictments, stated this while receiving various groups, which paid him a visit during the Eid-el-Fitri celebrations at the Governor’s Lodge, Lafia, the state capital.

He further told the sympathisers that the era of sharing public funds among few individuals or looting state treasury had gone finally in the state, saying his mandate went beyond the 20 lawmakers, who were hell-bent on his removal from office, as it would be jealously guarded by the people of the state.

Al-Makura lamented that all the allegations levelled against him were frivolous and would not distract his administration’s attention in forging ahead with its developmental stride and the provision of social amenities that had direct advantage on the populace.

According to him, “I am happy with the way and manner you protected your mandate. You have shown them that nobody can tamper with your mandate. All what they have said about me is absolutely lie. I will defend myself at appropriate time. I am accountable to you, not those 20 people. I will defend myself, and all my lawyers are ready to exonerate me.

“I want you to continue to live in peace and harmony with one another. I want you, as well, to continue giving your adequate supports to this administration, so that we will continue to give you all the dividends of democracy,” he assured.

It will be recalled that the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Honourable Musa Ahmed, on Monday, July 14, directed the clerk, Ego Maikeffi, after 20 out of 24 lawmakers signed impeachment notice, to serve Al-Makura for gross misconduct, a situation which later resulted to pockets of violent protests within and outside the state capital, before the security operatives brought the situation under control.

Meanwhile, barring a last-minute change, the seven-man probe panel set up to investigate the alleged gross misconduct of Nasarawa State Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, will begin sitting tomorrow, Nigerian Tribune has learnt, the tentative venue of the sitting is the conference room of the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs, Lafia.

Nigerian Tribune also gathered that four members of the panel are under pressure to throw in the towel, following the discovery of their alleged membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Their alleged party membership numbers of the said members had reportedly been obtained by the majority members of the House of Assembly elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The said lawmakers are currently in Abuja.

The alleged numbers from a source, the request was turned down on the basis of not ready to release “our joker against the panel when it begins sitting” the source explained.

The lawmakers have packaged a new set of alleged corrupt acts for onward transmission to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The move is reportedly targeted at surprising the governor and make it impossible to tamper with the pieces of documentary evidence needed to pursue the alleged misconduct needed to push the impeachment through.

The governor has also promised to expose the alleged official shady deals of the lawmakers when the panel begins sitting.

The alleged corrupt acts, according to Nigerian Tribune source, would be used in pushing for the freezing of the bank accounts of the state government by the anti-corruption commission.

The commission is also being reportedly primed as a principal witness that may end up being subpoenaed by both the governor and the lawmakers.

Both parties have been claiming of getting each other investigated by the anti-corruption commission.

The fresh set of alleged corrupt acts of the governor had not been submitted to the anti-corruption commission as at the time  of compiling this report.

Another issue being raised against the probe panel is lack of auditing and accounting experience by all members, which the petitioners felt would affect the outcome of the probe since figures and data are involved in the allegations of fraud on both sides.

Meanwhile, a senior federal government official may have been caught in the middle of the fraud allegations rocking the impeachment process in Nasarawa.

The said official, a southerner, is among the first ten in the national leadership hierarchy.

In one of the allegations of fraud against the governor, a low-cost housing project which his company handled for the state government, has come under accountability radar.

The multi-billion project in Lafia, the state capital was reportedly awarded his company by the leadership of former governor, Aliyu Akwe Doma and sustained by Al-Makura.

The project allegedly turned to a conduit-pipe while the job done, was also allegedly sub-standard despite the contract being allegedly fully paid for before completion.

The official has reportedly been at the fore-front of those pleading with President Goodluck Jonathan to halt the impeachment process.

A source said the probe panel may be conducted round the project to compare the job done and the money paid by the state government.

Nigerian Tribune can also reveal that a couple of judges of the Nasarawa State Judiciary had spoken with the Chief Judge on the allegations of partiality and partisanship against the members.

It could not be confirmed if the Chief Judge planned to make changes to the panel before sitting would commence.

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