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GOVERNOR LALONG LEADS 40 FORMER SPEAKERS TO HONOUR LATE FORMER CROSS RIVER SPEAKER, RT HON. MIKE OGAR

 



*REFUTES ALLEGATIONS OF ROLE IN PLATEAU ASSEMBLY CRISIS* 


Plateau State Governor Simon Bako Lalong who is the Chairman of Conference of Former Speakers of State Houses of Assembly (COFSSHA) has led over 40 former Speakers from across the country to Calabar, the Cross River State capital to honour their late colleague, Rt. Hon. Mike Ogar who presided over the Cross River State Assembly between 2000-2003. 


Among those in attendance were former Governor of Rivers State and Minister of Transport Rt. Hon. Rotimi Ameachi, Former Governor of Cross River Donald Duke, and current Governor Ben Ayade, some National Assembly members among others. 


Governor Lalong while paying tribute to the former Speaker described him as a man of peace and a political colossus who contributed immensely to the development of his State and the nation at large. 


He said as a legislator, the deceased fought hard for the independence of the legislature and did a lot to initiate and consistently advocate for the autonomy that has today come into reality. 


He said during the struggle for Autonomy, many of the former Speakers lost their seats and suffered personal damages and prosecution with others including himself unjustly detained on various occasions. 


He said today, the labour of people like the late Mike Ogar have yielded fruits as Autonomy has finally become a reality in the country, especially after some of them emerged as Governors as well as other leaders at various levels of the nation's political echelon to finish the process. 


He used the opportunity to clear the air on happenings at the Plateau State House of Assembly which he said is a purely a legislative matter that should not be put on his neck or the Executive by politicians who want to benefit from the situation by associating with it at all costs. 


He said "what is happening in the Plateau State House of Assembly is the dividends of autonomy in action where members are fully in charge of their affairs. Being one of those who struggled for autonomy and had the privilege of implementing it as the first Governor in Nigeria, I dont have the capacity to interfere with the House. To do so will amount to violating the law we have fought hard to bring to reality. However, the members have the right to hold their leadership accountable and demand for transparency. They can even change their leadership if they deem fit. That is what the members of the Plateau House demanded from the former Speaker Rt. Hon. Nuhu Abok who instead of providing answers of the huge monies collected by the legislature in the past six months since autonomy started, decided to start running helter-skelter recruiting sympathizers from ethnic, religious, political and civil society groups. This is a wrong thing to do because every problem of the House gets resolved on the floor of the House by the members especially now that they have full autonomy. No one should be blackmailed, including me". 


Lalong reiterated that autonomy is for the growth of the legislative institution and democracy, not for the presiding officers to corner resources for themselves. He warned that the Assemblies which have already started enjoying it must operate within the law so as to encourage other States who are yet to implement the law to do so. 


Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State said the former Speaker Mike Ogar was a man of immense humility and patience who never took his represention in Government for granted. He took very seriously the mandate of his people and served them with honesty, diligence and integrity. 


While urging family, constituents, and the entire people of Cross River to be comforted by the testimony of the late Mike Ogar, he urged them to work hard and sustain his legacies which remain very visible and strong. 


Minister of Transport Rotimi Amaechi also spoke glowingly about the deceased who he said was dogged i

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