Ribadu tackles Kumangar, insists appointment of caretaker chairmen alien to the constitution

~ Says action assault on democracy, impeachable offence

The organizing secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Adamawa State, Mustapha Atiku Ribadu, has reiterated his earlier position on the swearing-in of caretaker chairmen in the 21 local governments of the state by governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri saying, the action constitutes gross abuse of power which can premise impeachment proceedings.

Ribadu was reacting to the position of Adamawa State government, via a statement credited to the Director General media and communications to the governor, Solomon Kumangar.

Kumangar who dismissed the position of Ribadu and his party as rantings of a sinking political party, said the governor’s action was in order and has been endorsed by a large cream of Adamawa people.

He accused the APC organizing secretary of double standards by looking the other way when governor Muhammadu Umaru Jibrilla Bindow hoisted caretaker committees on the 21 local governments when APC was in power.

But reiterating his position on the matter, Ribadu maintained that the action of Fintiri is alien to Nigeria’s extant constitution as expoused by different judgements including judgements of the supreme court, accusing Kumangar of trivializing a substantive constitutional matter for the expediency of remaining in the payroll of the governor.

“In my submission, I raised valid constitutional matters as espoused by different courts including supreme courts at different times but to my dismay, instead of addressing the key constitutional issues I raised, Kumangar resorted to attacking my personality.

“I don’t know when public relations for a government deteriorates to this unfortunate low,” Ribadu said.

Ribadu who qouted the constitution copiously said it is preposterous for the governor to hide under an illegal provision by the state assembly to override provisions of the constitution, adding that such disregard for law and order have no place in a civilized democratic entity adding that such posture can only breed anarchy in the land.

The organizing secretary who called on president Muhammadu Buhari to intervene by withholding the allocations of local governments noted that as responsible and discerning son of Adamawa State, he would not fold his arms and allow some egocentric leaders take the state to the abyss in order to attain their whimsical and selfish political proclivities.

“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Section 7(1) guarantees democracy at the local government level. The section provides that local governments must be manned by democratically elected chairmen and councillors,” he said.

Ribadu added that section 7(1) stated in unambiguous language that at no point in time should there be vacuum at the local government level.

“This provision is further validated and sealed by the Supreme Court on many occasions. A Supreme Court panel of 5 men in a judgment delivered on 11th December 2019 led by by Hon. Justice Olubolade Joe gave a unanimous judgment banning appointment of local government transition committees by state governors.

“The court further directed that a copy of the judgment should be served on all Houses of Assemblies in the country and the Minister of FCT on or before the 30th day of December 2019.

“The court made this pronouncement in order to reiterate the importance of its judgment and the need for the Houses of Assembly to be properly guided,” he said.

Ribadu added that the judgement barring state government from interfering with local governments was also upheld by the former Chief Judge of Adamawa State, Bamare Benson in 2004.

He added that the purpose of creating local governments is to bring governance close to the people. He however expressed reservations that such noble ideal has been defeated in Adamawa State through the sheer abuse of power and executive rascality being hoisted by the governor.

“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended at its 4th Schedule particularly Item 2 (d) gives the State Houses of Assembly powers to provide for the functions of a local government but such functions do not include tempering with or creating a vacuum of democratically elected persons at the local government level.

“The reasoning is such that at all times, the local government is manned by elected persons and not the selected or political party cronies, stooges and hangovers who are selected to administer the local governments.

“The recent charade and executive recklessness of Governor Fintiri of swearing in selected cronies and stooges in Adamawa as chairmen and vice-chairmen of local governments councils on 13th January 2022 is an aberration and a rape of democracy. This should not be allowed to stand. It is morally disgusting and should be frowned at by all citizens and inhabitants of the state.

“The practice of selecting and appointing caretaker committees or transition committees or in whatsoever name possible called or referred to is an aberration of the ground norm which is the constitution, an illegality and an assault on the principle of grassroot democracy and our hard-earned democracy,” Ribadu added.

Also responding to the allegation of double standards, Ribadu who accused Kumangar of selective amnesia told the DG that he is either suffering from acute loss of memory or was not in tune with actual happenings during the Bindow’s administration noting that history will remember him for being vocal in condemning the inadequacies of the administration including hoisting of unelected persons at the local governments.

“Nobody spoke about the poor handling of LGs in Adamawa in the last few years like me. I want the DG to wake up from his self inflicted dementia and check the records in order to separate the chaff from the grains. As the chief spokesman of the government, I had expected Kumangar to do his homework very well and respond to issues after deligent research and findings. But such rashand uncultured actions are unbefitting of his status,” Ribadu maintained.

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