Impeachment of opposition governors threatens 2015 polls – Group

FILE PHOTO: Murtatala Nyako, impeached governor of Adamawa state

Group said Nyako’s removal from office has set a new template for vindictive politics.

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A civil society group, Voters Assembly, VOTAS, has said the impeachment of the governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, is an ominous sign that the path towards achieving stable and fair election in 2015 is already laid with landmines.

Mr. Nyako was impeached by the Adamawa State House of Assembly on Tuesday while his deputy, Bala Ngilari, resigned his position.

Stating that the governor’s removal has set a new template for vindictive politics in Nigeria, VOTAS warned that if not checked, the impeachment gale could have spill-over effect in other states where legislators were already pumping the war drums.

It listed the states as Edo, Rivers, Nasarawa and Kano, saying the states had been put on the keg of gun powder and nobody could predict the end of the chain reactions it could cause.

“Obviously, the political environment is now soaked with series of alarms over threat to the lives of key members of opposition parties and potential candidates in the 2015 election,” VOTAS said in a statement by its President, Mashood Erubami, on Wednesday.

“The threat of impeachment actions is hovering over some of the states not under the control of the PDP, a worrisome and anti-democratic advance being perpetrated through monetarily-pacified legislators who are daily waking up to see the past misdemeanours committed by their governors.

“These same legislators have had to encourage their governors to defect to other parties and later using the defection and not really the listed allegations for their impeachment.”

The group noted that in the case of Mr. Nyako, the legislators had shown that there was no thorough investigation of the conduct of the governor “as they were only out to play the script of devil written for them from outside the state without due regards for God and the constitution.”

It said the way the investigation was handled within few days of sitting by the panel as against the three months prescribed by the constitution as well as the manner of submitting and affirming the report by the House within few days it was submitted to it, suggested that it was not the allegations that were at the root of the impeachment.

VOTAS said, “The legislators themselves are guilty of gross misconduct, a grave violation of the processes set by the constitution to be met before any impeachment could be commenced such as direct personal service and fair hearing, more so when the Supreme Court has ruled that such a notice must be personally served.

“The question is that – should the law be disallowed to rule because of the preference of the few who want to abuse their power and misuse
their authority?

“The Legislators’ action portends a dangerous trend coming at a wrong time when we are dangerously transiting from civil governance to democracy in the midst of overwhelming insecurity, a very risky and unacceptable style designed to deal with political office holders who
disagree with the presidency.”

The group said with the impeachment threats, the newly elected NBA President, Augustine Alegeh, and his executive had a role to play in
protecting and defending the constitution and should, therefore, save Nigerians from “few political hawks” who intend to make Nigeria a banana republic.

It further stated that Mr. Nyako’s impeachment put the Nigeria judiciary to test even as it asked judges to show what they represent in the chain of justice and confirm once and for all, if they could ever be the last bus-stop for seeking fairness and justice in the land and if they could be trusted.

VOTAS also called on the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, “to rise up to challenge this new day anarchical politics by demonstrating strong capacity now, that they can rule this country better by using all constitutional means to ensure that the Nyako impeachment do not fly, so as to arrest other such impeachments being planned to be carried out in most of the opposition states.”

The group also warned, “In fact the syndrome of using rigging and impeachment as a tool for fighting the opposition parties and candidates to bring down performing governments, should no more be tolerated anymore and Nigerians too, must use the coming 2015 elections to halt for all time, the occupation of political offices by those who lack the passion to serve the people and conscienceless politicians without the capacity and necessary blue print for sustainable Human Development.”

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