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Nasarawa Impeachment Saga: Dep Gov, 21 Lawmakers Relocate to Abuja

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Worried about their safety and the determination to ensure that they do not back down on the impeachment plot against the Nasarawa State Governor, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura, by the state House of Assembly, THISDAY gathered that some presidency and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) officials have facilitated the relocation of the state deputy governor, Damishi Luka Barau, the Speaker and 20 members of the Assembly to a private home in Abuja.

Apart from hinging the relocation on 'deft moves not to leave things to chances', it was also learnt that the movement of the state’s government officials to Abuja might not be unconnected with the increasing tension and violence of anti-impeachment protests for three days in Lafia last week, which claimed some lives.

According to a source, “There is the fear that the violence in the state could be targeted at the deputy governor and members of the state assembly.”

The source also explained that the deputy governor, Barau, did not defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC) with Governor Al-Makura, though, he was officially elected on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).

“When the CPC merged with the APC, the deputy governor defected to the PDP. So, the governor and the deputy governor are in different parties,” the source said, adding that the Inspector General of Police (IG) Mohammed Abubakar had directed the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 7 to ensure adequate security for the deputy governor and members of the Assembly.

But both the PDP and APC are interpreting the impeachment saga differently.
The PDP yesterday in its first official reaction to the impeachment of former governor of Adamawa State Murtala Nyako, described it as an act of democracy as well as a constitutional right granted exclusively to the people of Adamawa State and no other.

The party described the allegation by APC that the PDP and President Goodluck Jonathan were orchestrating the impeachment process as "purely escapist and can only come from revisionists and reactionary forces, the unmasked pretenders to democracy”.

A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, yesterday said it was unfortunate that the APC that claimed to champion the rights of the people to choice of leadership was the same party turning against the constitutionally guaranteed right of the people to withdraw legitimacy through impeachment and recall.

“It is really an irony but what does one expect from the APC that is undergoing seizure over the furious collapse of its imagined dominance of Nigeria's political space?  It is not surprising that the drowning, who is striving to clutch on any available straw would turn the PDP into a scapegoat," it said.

The ruling party advised the APC to look inwards in finding answers to its woes and leave the PDP out of it, saying: "If a sitting governor, who has spent over seven years in office could be removed by more than two-thirds of the members of his state assembly, reasons should be located to fundamental factors within rather than the trite excuses of external influence."

"How did almost the entire members of the state assembly, some of whom were his allies, turn against Nyako? Those who buy into the APC's wild allegations of external influence and monetary inducement will only submit to the illogical because of the impossibility that there is no member among the 24 out of the 28-member assembly with conscience to reject such influence. And if the APC insists that Nyako’s decampment is the reason for his impeachment, we also ask why the Adamawa electorate whom he had served for over seven years raised no hoot in defence of him.

“The APC must therefore go back to the reasons tabled by the Adamawa Assembly instead of desecrating and discrediting the citadel of democracy which has been its hobby for some time. That the sins of Nyako were not punished earlier until ‘yesterday' as it argued does not make them less, even obviate or offer remission. The law, it is said, has a long arm. The time it catches up with an offender is immaterial to the gravity of the offence," the PDP insisted.

The party further argued that those having sleepless nights over the impeachment were not indigenes of Adamawa, rather selfish APC leaders from other states benefiting from ‘syphoned’ resources of Adamawa people.

“Instead of engaging in unfounded claims, the APC leaders should be humble and honest enough to look inwards and seek answers as to why the entire people of Adamawa State rejected the former governor and why the acclaimed mobilisation of APC, including visits by some of their governors failed to save him. The APC should ask why Nyako's removal was greeted by jubilations by the people as such do not happen when good leaders suffer such fate.

"We wish to note that this is not unconnected with the maladministration that characterised the APC-led government of former Governor Nyako, the details of which Nigerians now know as well as the fact that the impeached governor bluntly refused to offer explanations despite being given ample opportunity to do so in line with constitutional provisions.

"While we state in no uncertain terms that neither the PDP as party nor President Jonathan is remotely or otherwise connected to the impeachment in Adamawa or elsewhere, we also wish to ask the APC to locate the Sword of Damocles dangling in some of the states which they control to the expression of the collective will of the people against bad governance as the PDP believes strongly in separation of powers and the sanctity of the legislature," PDP said.

APC’s Response

However, in its reaction yesterday, APC further reinforced its allegation that the PDP and presidency are relying on massive corruption and abuse of military and democratic institutions in an attempt to uproot opposition elements.

Speaking through its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, APC said: "Impeachment is part of checks and balances in a democracy, but when it is procured through corruption and did not follow due process and the provisions of the constitution that is what we are against. But more importantly, we know that this administration has started corrupting legislators.

“Stolen funds by the PDP are now being used to bribe legislators to impeach opposition governors and we will cite the case of Edo State and Adamawa and we know it is an ongoing plot to extend the evil plan to other states.

“So, you see when you use stolen federal funds to subvert democracy, then PDP has become a real danger to democracy. We are not afraid if our governors are not performing. All governors must be accountable but if any governor is not accountable, it is the PDP governors not APC governors. But what they are using is massive corruption and they are using federal institution, such as the military, the police, the EFCC and stolen funds to subvert democracy in the country.”


NLC Cautions President Jonathan

Vice-President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Issa Aremu, has urged President Jonathan to use his office to re-direct the nation's political discourse along the line of statesmanship.

Aremu said: “President Jonathan has done it before and I think he can do it again because several times, he was threatened with impeachment and Nigerians stood up to say no to it.”
Aremu, who spoke with journalists in Ilorin at weekend against the backdrop of impeachment of APC governors in the country, said: “President Jonathan should not give the impression of using his office to torment governors in an opposition state of the federation because such alleged move is suspicious and should be stopped in the interest of democratic institutions in the country.”

According to him, “The one that is worrisome to me is the one of Nasarawa. The impeachment notice was served just at the time the president who comes from another party was visiting the state.

“I mean we should not give the impression that the president is using his office to torment a governor in an opposition party, I don’t think this is the intention of the president.
“What I am saying is, even the timing alone makes it to be suspicious. He has the right to relate with elected governors but he cannot relate with you when as he is arriving at the state, the governor’s job is being threatened.

“I am not a fan of some of these governors. Some of them are known for recklessness, a lot of executive impunity. A good number of them engage in self-help for themselves rather than public service for their people. Of course, there are some governors that have also performed who have endeared themselves to the electorate in their respective states but whatever the case maybe, even if we don’t like any governor, the process cannot be abused.” 

Aremu added: “Our constitution is clear: a governor that has been elected has the mandate to be in office for four years after which we go for re-election. If the electorate want him or her, he or she is given another mandate for four years, if the electorate don’t want the elected governor, they can vote him out.

“It is also true that our constitution makes provision for impeachment where there are gross misconduct, violation and so on but for goodness sake, we must make sure that the process of impeachment is seen to be transparent and to reflect the true spirit of the constitution. The danger that we are having at hand is that the impeachment clause is being politicised. The perception is that it is becoming a tool for continuation of politics through the other means.

“Some governors have been removed before from judicial pronouncements arising from issues dealing with election. Now we have also seen some governors being threatened with impeachment in which parties that have majority in the house. I think this is not healthy for our democratic process.”

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 4 Years ago

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Tags:     Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura     President Goodluck Jonathan     PDP     Damishi Luka Barau     Mohammed Abubakar     Murtala Nyako     Olisa Metuh