Since the Appeal Court ruling of December 25 that nullified the election of Abel Peter Diah as a member representing Mbamga state constituency in Taraba State House of Assembly, the house has been operating without a speaker.
The Appeal Court sitting in Yola, Adamawa State, had on December 21, 2015, in an appeal filed by Diah, upheld the decision of the tribunal, which nullified his election in eight polling units, but ordered run-off in five polling units of the eight. On December 25, while Diah was celebrating Christmas with his family and supporters, the Appeal Court finally sat on the appeal brought before the court by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and still upheld the decision of the tribunal. The ruling has since created a leadership vacuum in the house that has since December 25 been without a speaker, and by implication without any principal officer of the house.
Efforts to get the chairman, House committee on information and public affairs, Salleh Sa’ad, for comments on the development failed. However, on local television stations monitored in Jalingo, Sa’ad declared the seat of the speaker of the house vacant. According to him, the Speaker lost the last leg of his appeal which has stopped him from being a member and by implication, speaker of the house.
Sa’ad urged the public not to overheat the system as the house leadership was still intact with the deputy speaker still in office with other principal officials and would reconvene when it is time. He noted that the house was still on recess and would do the right when it resumes.
It would be recalled that All Progressive Congress, APC candidate, Emmanuel Bongo, is challenging the declaration of Diah as member representing Mbamga state constituency on the grounds that the election was marred by irregularities and substantial non-compliance with the electoral act.