Defection: Kogi assembly deputy speaker resigns

The deputy speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Mr Ali Akuh, representing Omala Constituency, yesterday tendered his resignation barely one week after six members elected under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party joined the governing APC.

Daily Trust reports that the defection of the six lawmakers made the PDP, which hitherto had majority in the house, become minority party with 10 members against APC’s 15.

In his resignation letter read on the floor of the house by Speaker Ahmed Imam, Aku said he took the action “after exhaustive discussions” with his family, his party, the PDP and other stakeholders from his constituency, Omala Local Government Area.

The former deputy speaker thanked his colleagues for their support and “doggedness to institutionalise and deepen democracy.”

Consequently, Hassan Abdullahi (APC, Okura Constituency) was elected as the new deputy speaker by the House based on resolutions signed by 19 of the 25 members of the assembly

In a related development, major shakeups in principal positions of the House were announced yesterday.

Under the new arrangement, Prince Kolawole Mathew of Kabba/Bunu Constituency was retained as Majority Leader; Ahmed Mohammed of Ankpa I Constituency, new Deputy Majority Leader; Bello Hassan Abdullahi of Ajaokuta Constituency, Chief Whip; while Muktar Adoke Mukhtar of Adavi is to serve as Deputy Chief Whip.

Others include Ojo Godwin Osiyi of Ogori Magongo as Minority Leader; Oluwatoyin Lawal of Yagba West as Deputy Minority Leader; Sunday Shigaba of Bassa Constituency as Minority Whip; and Dr. Friday Alih of Ofu Constituency who is to serve as Deputy Minority Whip.

Meanwhile, the position of minority leader in the house appears to be causing confusion following a letter sent to the chamber by the PDP State Publicity Secretary, Bode Ogunmola, that five PDP members unanimously endorsed Friday Sanni Makama as their minority leader.

But when Speaker Ahmed Imam read the letter before members in the hallowed chamber, three out of the supposed five members, whose signatures appeared in the letter, withdrew their signatures.

Only the former speaker, Momoh Jimoh Lawal, and the member representing Bassa Constituency, Sunday Shigaba, stood their ground based on the resolution of the state PDP.

Friday Sanni Makama, while reacting to the development, vowed to take legal action, alleging executive influence in the matter.