The Bayelsa State deputy governor, Hon. Peremobowei Ebebi was yesterday impeached by 18 out of the 24 members of the state House of Assembly after the adoption of the seven-man probe panel report which indicted him on nine out of the 10 charges of gross misconduct levelled against him. The 18 members including the speaker, Werinipre Seibarogu, after a motion for the adoption of the report of the D.C.Dewingwe-led
panel was moved by Hon. Jonathan Obueibite (Nembe 1) and seconded by Hon. Finitimi Angaye (Kolokuma/Opokuma 2), voted unanimously with the raise of hands.
The deliberation of the House members on the report, which caught many political observers unawares, was carried out in less than one hour and was observed from the public gallery by the special adviser to the state governor on legal matters, Barr. Dennis Otiotio.
The speaker, at about 10.31a.m., announced that he had with him the report of the probe panel on the investigations into the allegation of gross misconduct against the state deputy governor for consideration and adoption. The House member representing Yenagoa constituency, Hon. Frank Otele, later moved for the adoption of the report to form part of the House’s document and was seconded by Hon. Alfred Egba (Yenagoa).
In his motion asking the House members to remove the deputy governor from office on the basis of his indictment by the seven-man probe panel, Hon. Jonathan Obueibite (Nembe 1) said it was no longer a rumour but the truth that the House initiated an impeachment process against the deputy governor and that, with the conclusion of the report and his indictment, “I want to move that the House shall consider him removed as deputy governor based on Section 188, sub-section 1&9 of the constitution.”
The motion was seconded by Finitimi Angaye and subjected to voting by the House with the raise of hands without any sign of opposition.
In the copy of the House resolution with reference number BYSHA/C/20/641 and obtained by LEADERSHIP yesterday, the Mr .D. C. Dewingwe(SAN) probe panel however absolved the impeached deputy governor of charge number 10 against him, which alleged that “the deputy governor of Bayelsa State, in violation of his oath of office, sponsored acts of terrorism with a view to making Bayelsa State ungovernable by recruiting gunmen who acquired and stored large quantities of explosives, together with arms and ammunition, in Latik Hotel, a hotel owned by him located along state INEC Road in Yenagoa.”
In his comment on the sitting of the House, the chairman of the House Committee on Information, Hon. Kombowe Benson, argued that the processes adopted by the House in the removal of the deputy governor could not be faulted “because all processes were complied with and effected by two-thirds majority of the House.”
LEADERSHIP’s attempts to get the reaction of the removed deputy governor proved abortive as his mobile line was not answered. His counsel, Barr. Wodu Kemesuode, told LEADERSHIP on telephone that he was in Abuja handling a case at the Supreme Court and would get back with a position.
One of the impeached deputy governor’s lawyers, Dr.Alex Iziyon, said the defence team had earlier made its position known to the panel on the existence of a suit against the panel. He said “until the issue before the court against the composition of the panel and against the chairman is decided, we cannot be said to had fair hearing.”
The Action Congress (AC) in the state led by the acting chairman, Comrade Miriki Ebikibina, yesterday expressed regret at what it called “the suspicious speed” with which the probe panel conducted its sitting and delivered its verdict when its composition was still being challenged in a law court.
According to Comrade Miriki, “It is pathetic that while other states are busy commissioning projects, the present PDP administration in Bayelsa is exercising undue strength and committing public funds on purely political things at the expense of the development of the state. The impeachment saga is another conduit pipe to defraud the state at a critical moment the state is in dire need of empowerment and development.”
Also reacting, the Bayelsa State coordinator of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG), Comrade Tony Ile, said though they did not have anything against the action of the state House of Assembly on the impeachment of the deputy governor, members of the Assembly should summon same courage and speed used in removing Premobowei Ebebi as deputy governor to investigate the alleged cases of corrupt practices leveled against the governor, Timipre Sylva, in the state.