How Taraba Speaker, Tsokwa, Died

Indications have emerged that the deputy speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly, Alhaji Tanko Maikerifi, and the deputy majority leader of the assembly, Hon. Josiah Sabon Kente, are in a two-way battle to succeed the Taraba speaker, Hon Haruna Tsokwa who died yesterday following a brief illness.

Sources disclosed yesterday the late speaker had slumped in his residential house along Mile 6 Road in Jalingo, the state capital, and was rushed to the Chief Medical Centre where he was later confirmed dead.

The speaker, who was at the fore-front of the state’s lawmakers who opposed the resumption of work by ailing Governor Danbaba Suntai, despite his plea to return to work, was expected to lead the Taraba State contingent of this year’s Christian pilgrimage in Israel. The speaker’s remains were later taken to the state specialist hospital where it was deposited in the mortuary.

Another sources disclosed that with the demise of the speaker, the political permutation may have changed as a new Speaker will emerge almost immediately. According to the sources, all fingers are pointed at the direction of the majority leader, Hon. Josiah Sabon Kente, representing Wukari 2 constituency and the present deputy majority’s leader.

The permutation, according to the source, is that since the acting governor of the state is a Muslim, and the current deputy speaker also a Muslim, the natural person to succeed the late speaker would be the deputy majority leader who is a Christian and hails from the same southern Taraba as the late speaker.

At the time of going to press, the assembly was silent on who succeeds the late speaker. Alhough, there was an emergency meeting of the lawmakers at 4pm yesterday, at the assembly complex, a member who pleaded anonymity said the focus for now was on arrangements for the speaker’s burial.

Meanwhile, Nigerians from all walks of life have been sending their condolences to the family of the late speaker.

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, described Tsokwa’s death as a painful loss, saying the news came to him as a rude shock.

In a statement issued in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal said the deceased lived an exemplary life of dedication and commitment to duty.

On his part, the Speaker, Kogi State House of Assembly, Hon Momojimoh Lawal, described Tsokwa’s passing on as a rude shock.