Editorial: The Jumbo Harvest of ImpeachmentsFeatured, Featured Contributors/Columnists, Latest News Friday, July 25th, 2014
By Tajudeen Balogun
Aside the staggered impeachment attempts on Governors of Edo and Rivers State – Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Rotimi Amaechi respectively, the Nigeria’s political landscape, the public and mass media since the inception of the current dispensation, have not been this intensely engaged.
The latest gale of sack began about four weeks ago when members of Adamawa State House of Assembly indicted the former Governor, Muritala Nyako of gross misconducts. Specifically, a 20-count charge of alleged misappropriation of funds was pressed against the impeached Governor. The retired Navy Chief fell apart with the state legislators, hence the house proceeded with the sack process and the push was finally put to rest last Tuesday, July 16, 2014 when 20 out of 24 state lawmakers axed Nyako. His Deputy, Bala Ngilari who was charged with six offences at the twilight of the sack threw in the towel by dropping his resignation letter.
Presently, impeachment looms on the Nasarawa State Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura. Like his Adamawa’s state counterpart, Al-Makura ‘must go’ resolve of about 16 of the state legislative house is precipitated on 16 offences summed up as “financial gross misconduct”. In the mean time, the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Umaru Diko, has been directed by the house to set up a seven–man investigative panel to look into the allegations hanging against the embattled Governor. Although Al-Makura still denies being served any impeachment notice, but that will not deter the determined legislators.
On Monday (July 21), the news was broken, of the impeachment of the Ebonyi state House of Assembly Speaker, Hon. Chukwuma Nwazunku. The ex-Speaker was sacked with a motion supported by the 18 out of 24 House members.
Less than 24 hours (Tuesday July 22), the Enugu State Deputy Governor, Sunday Onyebuchi received his own impeachment notice as 20 out of 24 legislators accused him of insubordination and disobedience to the laws of the state. The state legislators have vowed to impeach the deputy governor when they resume next week.
Corruption was the focal point of some of the impeachment recorded so far. But beyond that, some political interpretations can also be adduced to the sack actions. In the case of Nyako, some have alleged that he had a grand plan to ensure his cronies and family members succeed him after his tenure terminates. And for him and Al-Makura, some of the alleged offences have since been existing (for years). The question the critics of the impeachments ask is, why now?
It is also for this factor that many (especially the opposition politicians) have alleged that the sack actions and impeachment threats were instigated. In the case of Enugu Deputy Governor Onyebuchi, his ordeal with fellow party men was allegedly due to his Senatorial (Enugu Eastern District) ambition, the same position his boss, Governor, Sullivan Chime’s Chief of staff, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo aspires for after Chime leaves office. Really, there is no big deal in having as many as possible aspirants jostling for limited positions within the same fold. But in Nigeria political system, it matters a lot and the moment the hunted fails to understand and realize as well as concede, troubles begin, which is one significant factor for some of the sack moves.
There is another serious dimension to the sack drama. The concern is that why the impeachment axe dangles only on the opposition Governors? Some have hazard the stress that the ongoing ‘intimidating’ actions aftermath would not be palatable. So many pundits have reasoned that the polity should not have been this heated – especially that extreme politicking makes good governance to suffer. This position has been justified as some of the states which Governors battle with impeachment has little or no time to devote needed attention to governance, rather, the focus now are spirited efforts to sustain legislators’ loyalty and seeking the support of the political godfathers to safe their plum jobs.
These are not good signals. Beyond politics, Mr. President ordinarily has a role to play here. Agreed, the President has no constitutional role in the impeachment of a state Governor, yet he as the leader of the country should play a heroic role by checking anarchy in the land. Being indifferent or calling the bluff of the victims is improper and dangerous. After all, the President is connected to and belongs to every constituency in the country. The news of President’s Jonathan close door meeting with 6 Nasarawa state lawmakers on the lingering sack move is a good development and brought hope, especially if such parley is aimed at checking impunity and lawlessness in the troubled state.
The implication of this is that if a leader subtly allows his house to be set under fire or fails to attack the imminent danger into his household, he will definitely not be spared when havocs is eventually wrecked on the castle. Yet, it is better the crisis is addressed headlong instead of allowing it to prevail, regardless of the magnitude.
In any case, ‘victimized’ impeachment if those witnessed across the country so far, were to be, will profit only the initiators on a short term. Before now and after the sack that have occurred and the looming one, the action has not improved the per capita income nor added any quality to the life of an average citizen in any of the affected states. The truth is that in most cases, it only benefits the politicians and their ambition. Interestingly, if a politician uses all possible means to perpetrate himself in power, there will still be the time people will do the assessment of how he has impacted in the lives of his people. These are long terms and critical issues which ought to be a source of concern to those who initiate, move and support the motions for impeachment of the fellow party men or the oppositions.
Finally, in as much as nothing is virtually wrong in probing an erring public officer, another key point to the people and the country is thinking about and working to add values to lives, not persistent, self-contented and controversial impeachments.
A Loud Ovation for Nigeria’s Consistent Technocrat; Riliwanu Lukman
Nigeria and the world received the news of transition of the Former Minister of Energy, Petroleum Resources, Secretary – General and President of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Alhaji Riliwanu Lukmon. The late astute and versatile Oil and Mining Engineer died on Monday (July 21, 2014) in an Austria hospital of cancer. Lukman’s professional and career’s life was very impressive and inspiring. He was a technocrat who served in various capacities since he left University till he fell ill and later breathe his last. Rliiwanu Lukman who died barely a month to his 76 birthday anniversary was one of the Nigeria’s finest, erudite, persistent and consistent professionals. His life and career no doubt are worth studying and emulating by every professional and the upcoming ones. Indeed, his life justifies the good and enormous benefits of striving to succeed first in one’s professional calling, rather than involving or sticking to rat racing and needless squabbling to occupy political offices. May his soul rest in peace.
By Tajudeen Balogun, Head, African Examiner’s Nigeria office
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