'I Remain Deputy Speaker Of Ogun Assembly' Says Hon. Dare Kadiri - AMEBO ONLINE NEWSPAPER

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'I Remain Deputy Speaker Of Ogun Assembly' Says Hon. Dare Kadiri

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Hon. Dare Kadiri was removed on Thursday March 4th, 2021 as the Deputy Speaker of Ogun State House of Assembly after he was found guilty of gross misconduct. In this interview with SULAIMAN FASASI, the lawmaker, popularly called Maba, faulted the process and insisted he is still the Deputy Speaker. Excerpts:

 You described your impeachment as the Deputy Speaker of Ogun State House of Assembly as illegal and unconstitutional. What do you mean by this?

It is unconstitutional because you can’t be a judge in your own case. I am not saying they don’t have the right to impeach me. How can you tell me that the same members of the commit­tee which investigated me were the same members who signed the notice of the removal and were still among the 18 that ad­opted the report of the commit­tee? During the sitting of the committee, I was not given fair hearing. All my defence were not part of the report. It was like the whole thing was pre-planned. That was why I sai, it is uncon­stitutional.

At the tail end of the pro­cess, such report is not adopted through a voice vote, but hand counting. How can you say that the committee came up with the report and it was only the 18 that had access to the commit­tee’s report and not the whole 26, because it was supposed to be at the executive session, where it would be discussed. But, it wasn’t discussed at the session. Some people just gathered them­selves. I don’t know why because most of them were mentored by me. For me, it has some political undertone.

Let’s go to the three allegations in the letter that was submitted to the Clerk of the House. The first allegation was insubordination to the office of the Speaker. You and the Speaker have been very close. What happened between two of you?

Insubordination to me means probably I didn’t respect him or his office. Nobody is going to tell me that signing a voucher of N16, 200 is insubordination when the Speaker was not even on seat. What happened was that I had to go for an official engage­ment and my truck had been down for more than a week. But, people didn’t understand that before then, we have been hav­ing issues bothering on finances and running of the House. He had done a lot of things, not fol­lowing the due process and I had to question him; awarding con­tracts without telling anybody and I had to tell him that ‘look, I have conscience, educated and have good name to protect’, all those have been going on and we have not been on talking terms for about four months. That is how bad it was.

You just talked about the prudence in finances of the House and award­ing contracts without approval. Can you be specific about all these? Are you insinuating fraud?

Let me give you an example. There was this issue of casu­al workers who we have there working with us. We have some of them who take care of our offices and all of a sudden, my own casual worker just called me to inform me they have been sacked. Look at that. Is it my ca­sual worker that was supposed to call me that they have been sacked? Or, I am the one to tell the worker attached to my office that they’ve been sacked? Before you know it, what the Clerk said was that they have outsourced it. How can you at this time that people were coming out of COVID-19 lockdown? Yes, some of those people might have made some mistakes by going to the press asking for regularisation. But, I told them that I wasn’t in support of sacking those ordinary people, and before anybody knew it, be­fore advertising in the paper, you said you had outsourced it. 

I asked from the Clerk the difference between outsourcing and contracting it out. I also asked from the Speaker, ‘Where did you advertise it? How many people bided for it before arriv­ing at this? Apart from me, what about other principal officers? Are they aware?’ That is one of those things and many more that would be revealed in due cause.

Like I said, I am from a good home and I can’t stand it any­more. We have a Fund Manage­ment Committee, I am the Vice Chairman, which is automatic, because I am the Deputy Speak­er. But, this committee has not sat for about a year and they kept telling me that they have approved this, they have ap­proved that. Is the House of As­sembly a court where we can’t release our financial informa­tion to ourselves? The same constitution which created the office of the Speaker created the office of the Deputy Speaker. I am not supposed to be a slave. There are many things I believe he has been doing wrong.

Can we now look at the second allegation. You were alleged to have involved a third party, a lawyer, in the affairs of the House without exhausting internal mechanisms. How would you react to this?

We have been on this matter for almost year. I have person­ally written a letter. What hap­pened was that we had a prin­cipal officer’s meeting and Mr. Speaker was trying to defend the expenses of the last year’s bud­get and his expenses. Mr. Speak­er came to the meeting with a piece of paper and asked us to take it round and leave it. And I asked question: ‘Why do we have to leave it?’ That was the begin­ning of the crisis. The Speaker said the paper must not go out. I asked if it was so secretive. He was the one who told me that if I wanted it, I should go and write and ask for it. He was the one who prompted me to write.

For goodness sake, how is my lawyer a third party? I only gave my lawyer an instruction to write the letter requesting for the financial report of the House and that those reports should be sent to my office. From what they are circulating all over the place, my instruction to my lawyer was very clear, that those documents be sent to my office and not to the lawyer. Even if the lawyer asked for it, financial report of the House should not be a secret unless you’re hiding something. We have the Free­dom of Information Law which gives everybody the right to ask for any information from any government agency. This is not a security report that cannot be released.

Could the Speaker be probably s expecting you to write in person and not through a lawyer?

If we are talking about Free­dom of Information Law, you need a lawyer and I am not a lawyer. You need a lawyer who is going to write on your behalf telling them the consequences. I have written earlier and noth­ing was released since about six months ago. It is my constitu­tional right to have a personal lawyer. It is everybody’s right to have a lawyer. Even in Europe, they have legal aides for those that can’t afford a lawyer. We also have such things in Nige­ria, and Nigerians must grow to such extent. May be they are not exposed. You can see that those allegations are just unfounded allegations, very frivolous alle­gations. How can that amount to gross misconduct? That is not acceptable.

The third allegation bothered on alleged assault on some members of your constituents…

The House of Assembly does not even have a right to hear it. The case is with the police. That was why they locked me up for 24 hours. I have made my state­ment to the police, and they are investigating the matter. What is the right of the House of Assem­bly? We don’t have a right to en­tertain a criminal case. Let me just close it that way. The House does not even have a petition to entertain such. Even if the As­sembly is petitioned, the norm is to invite the member affected to come and explain. But, once the matter is being investigat­ed by the police, quasi-judicial function does not cover crimi­nal cases. They know what they wanted to do, Mr. Speaker knows what he wanted to do forgetting that I don’t have to be a Deputy Speaker to ask for such informa­tion, because it is my right.

I got tired of the Fund Manage­ment Committee that I have to resign because I have conscience. I can’t be in a place and I won’t be accountable for what I am doing. And one day, EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commis­sion) will come and say I am the Deputy Chairman. Can you imagine being a Vice Chairman of a place and you don’t know how much is coming in and how much is going out? I have never been called for one seminar since I came and I never bothered. I have never collected one naira for official duties. Am I a slave? And when you ask question, is that insubordination? This is a modern world.

Honourable, this is an opportunity to explain exactly what happened in your constituency. Can you explain in details?

It was a case of some of my constituents having some issues and I have to interfere and they turned it around when I was even the saving grace. I was not even there. The DPO (Divi­sional Police Officer) that was there said I wasn’t the person that assaulted Imam Yinusa. This is the same Imam that I have been financing his Muslim programme. I have been relat­ing with him for more than six years. The involvement of the SSG (Secretary to State Govern­ment) is something different. But, I don’t want to talk about it since I am going to court. But, some people are looking at me as a threat, which I don’t even understand.

Away from those three allegations, can you say due process was fol­lowed in your impeachment?

Signing the notice before set­ting up the committee is not the process. They can only be wrong because the same people who signed the notice were the same person who formed the commit­tee to investigate me. Is that not funny? The same Speaker that is accusing me of insubordination, is the same Speaker presiding. Where is the fairness here?

During the time of your incarcer­ation, one of your aides accused the SSG, Tokunbo Talabi, of being behind your ordeal. Now, you’re blaming the Speaker?

Let me just explain this. I have been so incapacitated as the Deputy Speaker that I don’t have a single aide. That’s how bad they are treating me there. I am supposed to have SA Admin, SA Information and others. But, I can tell you today that I don’t have one. The statement wasn’t issued by my aide. I didn’t know how that statement got to the press. But, that was my statement to the police. I am not denying anything I said in the statement. My PA didn’t leak anything out to the press. My PA cannot speak to the press without my knowledge.

Now that you’re confirming the statement to be your statement to the police, what is the involvement of the SSG in the whole of this?

It is unconstitutional because you can’t be a judge in your own case. I am not saying they don’t have the right to impeach me. How can you tell me that the same members of the commit­tee which investigated me were the same members who signed the notice of the removal and were still among the 18 that ad­opted the report of the commit­tee? During the sitting of the committee, I was not given fair hearing. All my defence were not part of the report. It was like the whole thing was pre-planned. That was why I sai, it is uncon­stitutional.

Insubordination to me means probably I didn’t respect him or his office. Nobody is going to tell me that signing a voucher of N16, 200 is insubordination when the Speaker was not even on seat. What happened was that I had to go for an official engage­ment and my truck had been down for more than a week. But, people didn’t understand that before then, we have been hav­ing issues bothering on finances and running of the House. He had done a lot of things, not fol­lowing the due process and I had to question him; awarding con­tracts without telling anybody and I had to tell him that ‘look, I have conscience, educated and have good name to protect’, all those have been going on and we have not been on talking terms for about four months. That is how bad it was.

You just talked about the prudence in finances of the House and award­ing contracts without approval. Can you be specific about all these? Are you insinuating fraud?

Let me give you an example. There was this issue of casu­al workers who we have there working with us. We have some of them who take care of our offices and all of a sudden, my own casual worker just called me to inform me they have been sacked. Look at that. Is it my ca­sual worker that was supposed to call me that they have been sacked? Or, I am the one to tell the worker attached to my office that they’ve been sacked? Before you know it, what the Clerk said was that they have outsourced it. How can you at this time that people were coming out of COVID-19 lockdown? Yes, some of those people might have made some mistakes by going to the press asking for regularisation. But, I told them that I wasn’t in support of sacking those ordinary people, and before anybody knew it, be­fore advertising in the paper, you said you had outsourced it.

I asked from the Clerk the difference between outsourcing and contracting it out. I also asked from the Speaker, ‘Where did you advertise it? How many people bided for it before arriv­ing at this? Apart from me, what about other principal officers? Are they aware?’ That is one of those things and many more that would be revealed in due cause.

Like I said, I am from a good home and I can’t stand it any­more. We have a Fund Manage­ment Committee, I am the Vice Chairman, which is automatic, because I am the Deputy Speak­er. But, this committee has not sat for about a year and they kept telling me that they have approved this, they have ap­proved that. Is the House of As­sembly a court where we can’t release our financial informa­tion to ourselves? The same constitution which created the office of the Speaker created the office of the Deputy Speaker. I am not supposed to be a slave. There are many things I believe he has been doing wrong.

Can we now look at the second allegation. You were alleged to have involved a third party, a lawyer, in the affairs of the House without exhausting internal mechanisms. How would you react to this?

We have been on this matter for almost year. I have person­ally written a letter. What hap­pened was that we had a prin­cipal officer’s meeting and Mr. Speaker was trying to defend the expenses of the last year’s bud­get and his expenses. Mr. Speak­er came to the meeting with a piece of paper and asked us to take it round and leave it. And I asked question: ‘Why do we have to leave it?’ That was the begin­ning of the crisis. The Speaker said the paper must not go out. I asked if it was so secretive. He was the one who told me that if I wanted it, I should go and write and ask for it. He was the one who prompted me to write.

For goodness sake, how is my lawyer a third party? I only gave my lawyer an instruction to write the letter requesting for the financial report of the House and that those reports should be sent to my office. From what they are circulating all over the place, my instruction to my lawyer was very clear, that those documents be sent to my office and not to the lawyer. Even if the lawyer asked for it, financial report of the House should not be a secret unless you’re hiding something. We have the Free­dom of Information Law which gives everybody the right to ask for any information from any government agency. This is not a security report that cannot be released.

Could the Speaker be probably s expecting you to write in person and not through a lawyer?

If we are talking about Free­dom of Information Law, you need a lawyer and I am not a lawyer. You need a lawyer who is going to write on your behalf telling them the consequences. I have written earlier and noth­ing was released since about six months ago. It is my constitu­tional right to have a personal lawyer. It is everybody’s right to have a lawyer. Even in Europe, they have legal aides for those that can’t afford a lawyer. We also have such things in Nige­ria, and Nigerians must grow to such extent. May be they are not exposed. You can see that those allegations are just unfounded allegations, very frivolous alle­gations. How can that amount to gross misconduct? That is not acceptable.

The third allegation bothered on alleged assault on some members of your constituents…

The House of Assembly does not even have a right to hear it. The case is with the police. That was why they locked me up for 24 hours. I have made my state­ment to the police, and they are investigating the matter. What is the right of the House of Assem­bly? We don’t have a right to en­tertain a criminal case. Let me just close it that way. The House does not even have a petition to entertain such. Even if the As­sembly is petitioned, the norm is to invite the member affected to come and explain. But, once the matter is being investigat­ed by the police, quasi-judicial function does not cover crimi­nal cases. They know what they wanted to do, Mr. Speaker knows what he wanted to do forgetting that I don’t have to be a Deputy Speaker to ask for such informa­tion, because it is my right.

I got tired of the Fund Manage­ment Committee that I have to resign because I have conscience. I can’t be in a place and I won’t be accountable for what I am doing. And one day, EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commis­sion) will come and say I am the Deputy Chairman. Can you imagine being a Vice Chairman of a place and you don’t know how much is coming in and how much is going out? I have never been called for one seminar since I came and I never bothered. I have never collected one naira for official duties. Am I a slave? And when you ask question, is that insubordination? This is a modern world.

Honourable, this is an opportunity to explain exactly what happened in your constituency. Can you explain in details?

It was a case of some of my constituents having some issues and I have to interfere and they turned it around when I was even the saving grace. I was not even there. The DPO (Divi­sional Police Officer) that was there said I wasn’t the person that assaulted Imam Yinusa. This is the same Imam that I have been financing his Muslim programme. I have been relat­ing with him for more than six years. The involvement of the SSG (Secretary to State Govern­ment) is something different. But, I don’t want to talk about it since I am going to court. But, some people are looking at me as a threat, which I don’t even understand.

Away from those three allegations, can you say due process was fol­lowed in your impeachment?

Signing the notice before set­ting up the committee is not the process. They can only be wrong because the same people who signed the notice were the same person who formed the commit­tee to investigate me. Is that not funny? The same Speaker that is accusing me of insubordination, is the same Speaker presiding. Where is the fairness here?

During the time of your incarcer­ation, one of your aides accused the SSG, Tokunbo Talabi, of being behind your ordeal. Now, you’re blaming the Speaker?

Let me just explain this. I have been so incapacitated as the Deputy Speaker that I don’t have a single aide. That’s how bad they are treating me there. I am supposed to have SA Admin, SA Information and others. But, I can tell you today that I don’t have one. The statement wasn’t issued by my aide. I didn’t know how that statement got to the press. But, that was my statement to the police. I am not denying anything I said in the statement. My PA didn’t leak anything out to the press. My PA cannot speak to the press without my knowledge.

Now that you’re confirming the statement to be your statement to the police, what is the involvement of the SSG in the whole of this?

The involvement of the SSG was stated in the statement clearly. That is my position. What I said in the statement was my position to the police, which the police still have and since the press also have it, I wouldn’t want to repeat myself. That is my position. I was incarcerated. It was when I got out I started seeing the statement. I think there’s a gang up somewhere.

What was the position of Governor Dapo Abiodun and the party lead­ers? What was their own involve­ment?

I reserve my comment on that.

The mover of the motion for your removal and even the seconder were from the same district with you. Are you not bothered?

Some people are just ungrate­ful. I don’t know what really transpired. But, Yomi Fasua, who moved the motion, is my friend. He’s one of the people I am disappointed in; that he can raise up his hand and say ‘Dare is a bad man’, because I have always helped him out when he has issues. He just returned N1.5 million which I lent him in De­cember without interest. That was how kind I have been to him. He lost the election in 2015. Since then, we have been friends and I believe we are friends. I call him my Aburo (younger broth­er) and he calls me Egbon (elder brother).

They have the right to move the motion and anybody who supports the motion has the right to support the motion. It is within their constitutional right. But, I am not bothered because I have conscience and some people may not have con­science. Some people do not have value. Some people do not have respect for friendship and broth­erhood. Probably, if you ask them, they may be in the better position to explain.

Again, your people from the same District have started jostling for your position, are you also not bothered?

I believe it is their constitu­tional right to aspire to be the Deputy Speaker and when it is a good thing, everybody wants to be there. But, the truth about it is that many of them are young legislators who have not both­ered to check their constitution and the Standing Order. For you to be a legislator, you must be ready to read; you must ready to learn. When many of them came in, I was their mentor and I was telling them, ‘Look, you have to study your Standing Or­der and your constitution’. But, they are not bothered to study their Standing Order because it is stated in our Standing Order clean clear that you have to be a ranking member to be elected as a Speaker and Deputy Speaker. It is not only Ogun State, because, we have a Standing Order for all the South West states.

So, they are only going to em­barrass the House of Assembly more. But, I believe Mr. Speak­er is a seasoned legislator who knows better and I know he knows. It is unfortunate for the Ogun East senatorial district, because, if this stands, none of them can be the Deputy Speak­er or the Speaker. It is now for the (Ogun) Central which has Hon Elemide and Hon Ganiu and in the (Ogun) West, Hon Se­miu; these are the three people that can ask for the seat. And if they are coming to tell us that it is zoned to Ogun East, that is a gentleman agreement. The Governor, the Deputy Governor, the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker can come from the same house.

It is only in the interest of fairness that we go into all these gentleman agreements. But, the constitution does not recognise it. I was only lucky to be the Deputy Speaker because I was the only one from the East who returned to the office. Many of them are young boys, they should go and learn and concen­trate more reading the Constitu­tion of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Standing Order so that they can be good legisla­tors in the future. You have to be equipped and know what the constitution says in order to be a lawmaker. A lawmaker cannot be a law breaker. Any attempt to try it will be ridiculing the house and people will challenge it in court.

But, above all, I am still the Deputy Speaker because I hav­en’t been officially informed. I was told they want to do some­thing in the House on Tuesday or Wednesday, that is bringing the House to disgrace and people should be ashamed to be part of that House. You can’t step down the order if that is what they want to use, you can only step down orders for some hours. You can’t step down the Standing Order. That means you want to change the Standing Order and we have signed a communique with the South West and before you can change it, all the peo­ple who made the standing order from the South West states have to sit down and change it. So, it is beyond them.

You said you’re still the Deputy Speaker, but you have been im­peached?

I haven’t been impeached be­cause I have not been informed, I am only seeing it on the pages of newspapers. I haven’t been informed officially. I will wait for them to write their letter. But, that doesn’t mean I am go­ing to sleep. I am still discuss­ing with my legal team. Some NGOs which have seen injustice in what they have done are also coming in. We have to sit down and see the legal implications of what they have done. It is then I will react. But my finally word is just to beg. I have heard a lot and I have been busy beg­ging people not to react, I have heard people trying to protest and demonstrate. They have the right to demonstrate. But no­body should demonstrate. This is just a face and it will reshape our democracy and a big lesson for people who believe they can do anything unjust and go away with it.

They should please calm down. I am begging all my con­stituents, friends, social media warriors. They should please calm down. They should wait for the court as the last resort. Everybody should just calm down, pray for me and stand up for democracy. A lot of things are happening in this country today and my own should not be part of it. We have issues of herdsmen and insecurity all over the states. COVID is there. We had #ENDSARS protest and this should not be another face. With time, we will sort this out.

Credit: Independent NG 

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