BAUCHI: ONE GOV, 2 DEPUTIES
Two rams cannot drink from the same bucket without locking horns, is a popular adage. This seems to be the scenario in Bauchi State as Alhaji Mohammed Garba Gadi and Mr. Babayo Gamawa are currently laying claims to the office of the deputy governor of the state.
As the two politicians beat drums of war, political actors and their supporters have employed all sorts of intrigues, and machinations to outwit one another even as the situation is creating uneasy tension in the relatively calm state.
While Gadi is now operating from the deputy governor's office, Gamawa is operating from the Government House, Bauchi. In fact, just as Gadi is trying to settle down to work, Gamawa has not stopped carrying out the duties of the deputy governor as he still represents the governor in public. He claims that he did not contravene any provisions of the law.
Gamawa was on Friday, June 25, ordered to vacate office following the judgment of Bauchi High Court 4 presided by Justice Haruna Tsammani which declared the removal of Gadi as deputy governor unconstitutional, null and void. After his impeachment 11 months ago, reprieve came the way of Gadi that Friday as he was reinstated by the court as deputy governor.
Tsammani argued that Gadi's impeachment for alleged gross misconduct by the state House of Assembly on August 15, 2009, presided over by Gamawa who was then the Speaker based on the report of an investigative panel was not proper. Tsammani then ordered the state government to pay the plaintiff all his entitlements since he was removed just as other incentive of the office of the deputy governor were to be given to him.
But the state government, dissatisfied with the judgement of the lower court, appealed for stay of execution for the status quo to remain until the determination of the Appeal Court. But Gadi argued that as far as the declaration of the high court was concerned, he was asked to resume office as the deputy governor of Bauchi State. Armed with this confidence, on Monday, June 28, as early as 7 am, Gadi went to office to resume his official duties. But he was to receive a shocker as he was barred from entering his office by armed policemen who were stationed at the entrance of the office complex.
Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Al- Mustapha Hassan said Gadi's resumption was illegal and he could be arrested. Hassan said that Gadi could not just go to the office but must wait for the authorities to help him do so. However, Gadi who lamented that there was a contempt of court by trying to stop him from entering his office said: 'I was in the office exactly 8am (Monday, June 28) but met some policemen who refused to open the gate but they greeted me, so I told them that I am the deputy governor coming to office.
They told me they are aware but that the commissioner of police asked them not to open the gate but I should go and see him. 'I believe as far as I am concerned I am the second citizen in the state, I should be given the due respect. Even if he needed to see me or he has anything to advice, he should come to my house and advice.'
As the situation got complicated, the state Commissioner of Police, Danlami Yar'Adua, denied giving order to any of his men to bar Gadi getting access to his office: 'I did not tell anybody to tell him to come and see me.
'If I want to see him, I can see him any where. The policemen he met there are the normal guard men on duty and some are escorts to the other Deputy Governor, Babayo Gamawa. Nobody gave directives to stop Gadi from entering. After all, he went to office yesterday so I did not give order to come and see me.
'He (Gadi) came to me on Friday (June 25,) with the notice of his reinstatement into office. Then I told him I have not received any notice from court. I told him that I will go to Abuja to brief the IG. I was in Abuja for an advice from above so I am still waiting to hear from them.' While the heat was going on, the Bauchi Police Command, asked both Gadi and Gamawa to stay away from the office of the deputy governor pending the final determination of all the cases instituted.
Yar'Adua said: 'The primary concern of the police is to see that there is peace in the state and we will do everything within the law to ensure that peace reigns. 'We are therefore appealing to all those involved in the matter to please respect the law and abide by it. We have all the court papers which have been forwarded to the Legal Department of the Force Headquarters for proper legal advice on the step to be taken by us.'
What appeared to be the biggest political battle of his life appeared to have been over when few days later, precisely on Wednesday, July 7, the police restored to Gadi his full security, empowering him to resume duty as deputy governor. The CP said: 'We have restored all his security aides including the full police escort based on the advice of the Force Legal Department which studied the development. As I am talking to you he is in his office and that is where our own stops; any other thing, I am not aware or responsible.'
The police was, however, silent on Gamawa who is alleged to have been allocated an office by the state government. He still moves in a convoy, accompanied by security men and siren as if nothing was unusual about it.
Gadi who resumed fully on Wednesday, July 7, at about 8 in the morning promised to cooperate with Governor Isa Yuguda to ensure that the people of the state got the deserved dividends of democracy.
He said 'even before the impeachment saga there was no quarrel between the governor and myself. Nobody will say that I connived with others to cheat the government in my capacity as the deputy governor or Garba Gadi. I did my schedules as directed by the governor based on the provision of the Constitution. 'In as much as I will cooperate with the governor, I will not decamp to the PDP which was the point of our disagreement initially.
'I will remain in the ANPP and do my work as directed. I will attend all government public functions as well as the EXCO and other meetings. But I will not attend any political meeting other than the one organized by my party, ANPP.'
However, Gamawa insisted that he was still operating as Bauchi's substantive deputy governor and so his action did not in any way contravene the provisions of the law: 'I can only cease to be the deputy governor if the appeal we filed at the Appeal Court rules against us. But for now, I am the substantive deputy governor. The law says in the event any law appeals against the ruling of a lower court, the status quo should be maintained until the determination of the case before the Appeal Court.'