On Tuesday the social media and rumour mail in Maiduguri, Borno state capital was agog with an unverified story of how governor Babagana Zulum and his deputy, Umar Kadafur were saved from looming impeachment plot by the members of the state House of Assembly.
As shocking as unbelievable the hush husb rumor was, it continued to trend loudly among various groups and even on social media.
According to those who machinated unverified news, about 23 disgruntled members of the State House of Assembly who were not happy with the alleged high-handedness of the governor’s administrative style, converged in Gombe town in neighbouring Gombe state to fine-tune the plot to impeach Governor Zulum and his deputy.
The rumour went on to claim that it took the intervention of top Borno political leaders, including former governors Kashim Shettima, and Ali Modu Sheriff to save the popular governor from being impeached.
The source of the impeachment story said the Assembly members were not happy because the governor has not been carrying them along in all his activities in the state, including those pertaining their local constituencies. And that the governor has starved mainstream politicians of the normal government patronage like contracts and related government enterprise.
To that effect the sources said the governor had to go.
INVESTIGATION Even though The Humanitarian Times editors are fully aware of the constitutional provisions that sanctions the impeachment of an elected governor, which did not include any of the above reasons cited for the alleged plot to impeach Governor Zulum, our reporter went to town to dig into the verility of the rumor. No smoke, they say, without fire.
Our reporter made several phone calls and met with some of the state lawmakers to find out if they were aware of the trending news. Most of those who spoke to this reporter had either expressed shock of hearing it for the first time or confirmed hearing the rumour which they insisted was unfounded and “maliciously contrived”
While many of those who spoke to out reporter insisted “nothing like that happened, they begged not to be mentioned by name in this report.
“My brother, you and I know that this impeachment thing won’t work even if it was brought up because we have a single party assembly and the governor has never infringed on the constitutional provision that warrants such extreme action,” said a lawmaker from the central constituency of Borno.
The lawmaker added that “how can you begin to explain to the people that you are impeaching a governor simply because is not carrying you along or giving out contracts to politicians? That is ludicrous and childish.”
Another lawmaker from southern Borno said “please don’t quite my name but I can swear by Allah that there is nothing like that. I don’t want my name mentioned in this matter because people may think one behind the spread of the fake news. We are in good terms with the governor and he has impressed us with his good work so far.”
The deputy speaker of Borno state House of Assembly, Engineer Abdullahi Askira, was bold to condemn the rumour in a chat with The Humanitarian Times on Thursday.
He also dismissed the rumour as “mischief in its highest order.”
“As far as the leadership and entire members of the Borno Assembly are concerned we have no issues what soever with out governor. People would always want to rouse the rabble when there is peace and harmony, and when business is not longer as usual,” he said.
“We are with the Governor and we would continue to support him as long as he continues to make the people of Borno state happy through quality projects and programmes. The lawmakers are proud of him and they are with him.
The deputy speaker said the Speaker of the House, Right Honorable Abdulkareem Lawan would be issuing a statement to the effect that there is no plot to sack governor Zulum.
The Humanitarian Times had also gathered that the lawmakers would be having an emergency session on Friday morning to possibly pass a vote of confidence on Governor Zulum.
Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has explicitly stated that a governor can only be impeached by the state assembly if he or she is found to have committed “gross misconduct” or violate the constitution of Nigeria.