Governor of Bauchi State, Mallam Isa Yuguda
The Governor of Bauchi State, Mallam Isa Yuguda, and the state House
of Assembly have been accused of breaching the 1999 Constitution in
their attempts to relocate the headquarters of Tafawa Balewa Local
Government Area in the state.
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on House Services,
Hon. Yakubu Dogara (PDP/Bauchi), who made the accusation at a news
conference weekend, said the attempt to relocate the headquarters of
the local council from Tafawa Balewa town to Bunu was not only a
contravention of the constitution but an action designed to cause
disaffection among the people of the state.
Dogara, a ranking member of the House of Representatives, urged
President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly to prevail on
Yuguda and the state assembly to respect the constitution and put a
stop to the move in the interest of democracy.
The local government area was created in 1976 with its headquarters in
the historic town of Tafawa Balewa, the hometown of Nigeria’s first
Prime Minister, the late Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.
The lawmaker argued that the purported relocation of the council
headquarters by the state assembly was ultra vires, as the powers to
create councils lie exclusively with the National Assembly.
According to him, the creation, boundary adjustment and relocation
of a local government area were on the Exclusive Legislative List and
subject to the provisions of Section 8 (5) of the 1999 Constitution.
Dogara described the purported foundation laying ceremony of the new
local government area secretariat on June 6 in a location not
recognised by the constitution as an exercise in futility and a joke
carried too far.
“This unconstitutional action of the state assembly and governor has
no basis in law, logic and morality. It must be seen in its true
light, as very provocative, divisive and a dangerous precedent for our
“The Bauchi State House of Assembly attempted to pass a law relocating
the headquarters of Tafawa Balewa local government area to another
village. The bill went through first, second and third reading the
same day in breach of the provisions of the Constitution. Realising
the folly of their action, the state assembly jettisoned the bill and
ridiculously adopted a motion on Febuary 8, 2012 purporting to
relocate the headquarters of the local council to Bunu.
“As critical stakeholders, we refrained from commenting on the issues
believing that sanity and maturity will prevail in the end.
Unfortunately, our expectation turned out to be misplaced. It is trite
knowledge that the state assembly lacks the powers to relocate the
headquarters of a local government area it did not create.
“The law creating Tafawa Balewa local council with headquarters in
Tafawa Balewa is a federal law which is protected by Section 315 of
the 1999 Constitution as amended.
It is even more puerile to attempt to amend a law by way of a motion,” he said.
Dogara disclosed that the only female member of the state assembly,
Hon. Rifkatu Samson Danna, who tried to caution the assembly against
the relocation of the local government headquarters on the grounds
that it lacked the constitutional powers to do so, was
unconstitutionally suspended indefinitely by her colleagues.
He said the members of the state assembly had failed to understand
parliamentary procedures and the constitutional provisions which
limit the exercise of their powers.
He dismissed as falsehood the reasons advanced by the governor and the
state assembly for the relocation. The Bauchi State Government said
that the action was meant to restore peace to the area but Dogara
argued that there have been more than 18 documented attacks
resulting in loss of lives and property worth millions of naira since
the purported relocation of the local council headquarters.