Beneath every smoke lies a raging flame. While outsiders could easily sight an oozing smoke, on the other hand, they may never be able to catch a glimpse of the fuel fueling the smoke.
In every conflagration, the smoke is not as important as what is fueling the fire. Flowing from this, political agitations as the recent effort by a 22-member faction of the Bauchi State House of Assembly to impeach Speaker Abubakar Sulaiman in July this year was born out of the inability of the associates of the concerned members to take part in the 2022 Hajj exercise in Saudi Arabia.
WikkiTimes exclusively gathered that plans to impeach the Speaker gathered more momentum after the last flight of the 2022 Bauchi State Amirul Hajj team and other crops of officials departed for Saudi Arabia. As the 2022 Deputy Amirul Hajj, the Speaker was onboard the last flight to Jiddah. His deputy and Chairman House Committee on Religious Matters were also onboard the flight.
On the other hand, at home, stranded are over 500 Bauchi intending pilgrims including the 22 enraged members and their families who could not make it to the Holy Land as planned due to visa-related issues from Saudi authorities.
Aside from the lawmakers, also, the Amirul Hajj of the 20 local governments, who are cronies of the lawmakers, found themselves among the stranded Bauchi intending pilgrims.
“By tradition, each lawmaker nominates Amirul Hajj for their respective LGs. However, because of the visa restrictions, all Amirul Hajj were unable to get visas into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform this year’s Hajj,” a source at the Bauchi State House of Assembly who does not want to appear in print told WikkiTimes.
Reeling on the trail of their disappointment and that of their allies, some of the lawmakers colluded among themselves, irrespective of party line differences, to impeach the Speaker while he was in Makkah.
They avered that he should have stayed back to secure visas for his colleagues. “The seeming unity among members of the house is because it concerns religious matters where all of them share common interests,” he added.
Waking up from a meeting outside the complex of the Assembly, 22 out of the 31 BAHA members announced a vote of no confidence on Speaker Sulaiman, citing unsettled allowance as the reason.
Previously, the Speaker was accused of being a toolkit for Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed and a spymaster to PDP in APC before he later decamped to the PDP.
Hon. Babale Abubakar, Majority Leader of the House, said, “After our meeting held today, Friday, 1st July 2022, 22 members of the Bauchi State House of Assembly resolved to pass a vote of no confidence on the leadership of the House from today”.
“We consider that as it is today, there is no leadership in the State House of Assembly, I am among the leaders but we feel that it is the right time and we must do it. We have therefore passed a vote of no confidence on all the leaders of the Bauchi State House of Assembly.
“We are calling on the leaders of the Bauchi State House of Assembly to honourably tender their resignation letters to the Clerk of the Assembly. That will allow the Honorable House the opportunity to elect its leaders in order to forge ahead.”
Soon after the proclamation by the Babale-led faction, Abdulkadir Umar Dewu, a member representing Kirfi Constituency, squashed the argument Babale advanced warranting their decision to pass a vote of no confidence on the Speaker.
He said, “So, as far as I am concerned, the number they are claiming of having is not true and it’s not realistic, so, that issue of 22 honourable members signed an impeachment notice against the speaker of the Bauchi state assembly and other leaders is not true, it’s not realistic. I am not with them and it’s something that we have to tell the world that it’s not true.
“I will be happy if they can come out and tell the world their rights that have been denied by the state government, I will expect that from them so that I can respond to it because as an honourable member of the Bauchi state assembly, I can authoritatively tell you that without fear of contradiction that there is no any single Kobo or any entitlement that is due for us as members of Bauchi state house of assembly that is not settled by the government.”
WikkiTimes independently gathered that members bargained for their respective Hajj seats that the state government allocated to them.
A reliable source told our reporter that some of the house members dashed out their Hajj tickets to highest bidders ranging from N2,000,000 to N3,000,000 accordingly.
“Those who purchased Hajj tickets from some members of the Assembly demanded a refund after it became apparent to them that they could not make it to the Holy Land this year. But it happened that the lawmakers have spent the money, hence, they are not capacitated to refund the money back,” he added.
Muhammad Sani, Information Officer, Bauchi State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board in an interview confirmed that a significant number of members of the Bauchi State House of Assembly were left at home because of visa restrictions.
He said, “the entire Amirul Hajj of the 20 local governments did not make it to Makkah as well as officials of the state Muslim Pilgrims Board.”