Yesterday, Tuesday 21st November 2023, the good and peace -loving people of Plateau state were once again confronted with yet another strange and worrisome political logjam in the State.
Statement made available to this medium and was signed by Hon. Sylvanus Namang, APC State Publicity stated that the news, came in as a thunderbolt that the embattled Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Moses Sule and his Deputy, Rt. Hon Gwott Fomson who, going by the political tsunami sweeping the party off, would lose their seats, have purportedly resigned from their exalted offices.
As a result of this, Hon. Gabriel Dewan the Young Progressives Party (YPP) and Member Representing Pankshin North Constituency and Timothy Dantong, Member Representing Riyom constituency were “elected” or “appointed” as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively. Other outgoing PDP Members of the House were allotted Principal Officers’ position except the APC which has seven members in the House.
Not surprisingly, this sinister development has been predictable, considering the fact that early last week, the underhand scheme was already in the public domain that Barr. Caleb Mutfwang, the embattled Governor of Plateau State had, in apprehension of the unfavorable Court of Appeal verdicts on the State House of Assembly election petitions, perfected plans towards ensuring that the incoming Members of the House, are not sworn in thus causing a constitutional crisis in the legislative arm of government.
In order to execute this toxic and ill-motivated script by the Governor, as soon as he was sworn-in yesterday, the “new Speaker” immediately declared a 2-month recess till January 21st, 2024.
From every indication, the Governor is spoiling for a war with the very likely incoming APC -led Government as his action is clearly designed to operate a parallel legislature in the same manner he is operating an illegal Transmission Implementation Committee with appointed Chairmen who operate in guest houses and hotel rooms, thus flouting with impunity the Inspector General of Police directive ordering the reopening of LGA secretariats for the 17 elected Chairmen and 325 Councillors to operate.
This onslaught and legislative impunity has put paid to the speculations about the grand design by Governor Mutfwang to stall the inauguration and swearing in of the new Members returned by the Court of Appeal, which is to be effected next week.
It is instructive to note that going by the Appeal Court judgments, the APC would have an overwhelming majority of 22 Members out of 24 Members in the Plateau State House of Assembly while the YPP and Labour Party (LP) would have one member each.
This invidious move is a clear invitation to crises as by next week, in line with the Appeal Court judgments, all the 16 PDP members would cease to be members of the Plateau State House of Assembly.
This, therefore, implies that the 22 APC Members are expected to operate under a one man riot gang as “Speaker” for the two months because even when the House is on recess, legislative functions would take place under oversight functions.
It leaves us in no doubt that, as he has done in the case of the illegal TIC, he would continue to equally illegally operate with the sacked House of Assembly members in his remaining days in office.
While we regard the Government-instigated action playing out at the Plateau State House of Assembly as a mere circus and theatrical show, we are compelled to once again advise Governor Caleb Mutfwang and his bedfellows to desist from truncating the tenets of democracy and to also make a detour from further overheating the polity for the sake of Plateau State.
We have particularly noted with dismay, his misadventurous sponsored and contemptuous protests, especially against the Judiciary over its landmark decisions on the petitions before it which have taken its toll on the finances of the State.
There is also the aforementioned illegal operation of Transition Implementation Committee Chairmen he has foisted on the state.In good conscience, if the APC may ask, is this the legacy the Governor would want to bequeath the State?
We urge him, in line with the oath of office he took, to defend and protect the interest of the people of Plateau state and uphold its most cherished heritage of proud Home of Peace and Tourism instead of breaching the palpable peace and further plunging it into more avoidable crises.