Impeachment: Tambuwal’s cross, Nigeria’s Burden
By Kassim Afegb
The sound of impeachment of President Goodluck Jonathan coming out from the hallowed chambers of the Federal House of Representatives is creating panic within the inner recesses of the Presidential Villa.
While some people are questioning the propriety of the action, others are of the opinion that it is just the best decision that would put the Democracy on the right course to bail the nation from its present doom.
Typical of any democratic indulgence, some are already reading politics and sentiments into the impeachment fray and have started calling the Tambuwal-led House of Representatives all manners of names in defence of the President.
Impeachment is not a tea party.
The procedures for impeaching any elected public officer are clearly stated in the 1999 Constitution (as amended). And for a president with implicit and explicit powers, second to God like we have in Nigeria, it will amount to nothing trying to raise an impeachment voice against him. But that is not to say the action is undesirable.
Since it is a provision in the Constitution, it will be heart-warming to test its efficacy and see through the minds of the framers of the Constitution. Not to try at all is to make the provision useless. The puff of hot air coming out from the Senate Chambers also suggests that there are more troubled days ahead for the President.
The cat and mouse game between the Finance Minister and the Senate is becoming frighteningly instructive.
Figures upon figures, disjointed thoughts and convoluted postulations and projections, coupled with near-absence of clear-cut policy direction in terms of budgetary performance, has been the kernel of the discourse. I think the move by the National Assembly is good for democratic maturity and growth.
On account of Farouk Lawan,s shameful conduct in his handling of the subsidy probe, the House may face a crisis of confidence in this patriotic move to invoke the relevant sections of the Constitution to impeach the President. The leadership of the House has been more than superlative in rising up to the occasion to save the country from implosion each time we are faced with flagrant abuses of processes.
It has convoked two emergency sessions in its one year of inauguration to put a voice to public discourse on matters of urgent national importance. But on each of those occasions, the decision of the House is often jettisoned and seen merely as advisory without carrying the weight of implementation or compliance.
While the President has not hidden his disdain for the House each time occasion presented itself, the House has often responded with similar valve to put the presidency on its toes. As we speak, conflicting budget implementation figures are renting the air wave and from the reality on ground, one could easily see through who is carrying the heavier burden of proof.
Nigeria is simply not well governed. Nigeria is dithering and we all are watching with helpless awe as the country is plunging itself in the direction of fragmentation.
President Jonathan Deserves to Be Impeached
Talking as a Nigerian in the true sense of the word, I think the House is right in trying to commence impeachment proceedings against the President.
If I think like a South-Southerner, the understanding would just have been a dismissal of the impeachment move but my idea of politics is beyond the labyrinths of geopolitical sentiments. I cherish performance driven leadership that would serve as safety valve for my children than kow-tow to non-performing leadership without scruples.
The Jonathan-led presidency is one that has refused to impress the discerning minds. Even those who were his very strong supporters before he was democratically elected have since come to the grim reality that Nigeria is not properly governed. His facebook fans are now singing a different dirge.
Looking at the gestapo way and manner that Aruma Otteh was recalled to take her position in the Security and Exchange Commission with a show of presidential force and might, one could easily conclude that the Jonathan-led presidency is not serious about fighting corruption.
Added to this was the manner in which Farida Waziri was booted out of her anti-corruption office, and sum this up with the damning verdict of the President on the issue of asset declaration, what you get is interplay of anomalous and incongruous situations.
In the light of these and several other misadventures of the President, why then would anyone think that an impeachment is notdesirable?
The Federal House of Representatives under the leadership of Honourable Aminu Tambuwwal has shown some seriousness in whipping the executive arm of government to line than the Senate. The House, peopled by majority members of the Peoples Democratic Party, the President,s own Party, has shown that national interest comes first before Party interest.
Driven by its own conviction and strong leadership orientation which has survived all the intended Banana peels, the House has truly impressed Nigerians. Agreed that there are pockets of distractions here and there, they are not enough to remove the commendation which the House deserves at every turn of events. Judging by the way the House treated the Farouk Lawan issue, it is crystal clear that some deal of good can sprout from that lower chambers.
The Speaker may have been making efforts to assuage the feelings of the House members in order to douse the tension in the polity, but the character and anger of the House members is one that has gone beyond the Speaker. It is now a Nigerian affair. Everyone is watching with participatory interest what the next step would be and if truly the House will pull through this threat.
Heaven will not fall if the country is saved the orgy of maladministration by impeaching the President and his Vice and set the tone for testing the efficacy of our Constitution. What is strange about impeachment? If it is undesirable, why then do we have it in the Constitution?
Tambuwwal carries a heavier responsibility as we speak; balancing the desires of his House members who genuinely elected him as their indefatigable leader and moderating the pulse of the nation to avoid an implosion. Such delicate balance will determine the swing of the pendulum.
Jonathan’s Mistakes, Nigeria’sProblem
The misadventure of President Jonathan, is the collective problem of Nigeria and not that of President Jonathan alone. Some people see Nigeria from the pigeonhole of their clannish orientation. It is summarily becoming difficult to see leaders and opinion moulders reading the Nigerian narrative from the point of view of “our country”. A lot of people talk about possessing their zones while allowing the country to rot away.
Take the statement credited to Chief Edwin Clark calling on Generals Babangida and Buhari to condemn the Boko Haram menace and seeing it as a Northern affair.
This is exactly why the country is not moving forward; the moment we see scenarios and interplay of forces as the exclusive preserve of one geopolitical zone against the other, or a problem that should wear the toga of national problem being seen as the problem of one zone.
The Boko Haram problem is a Nigerian problem and certainly not a Northern problem, same way that the Niger-Delta militancy became a Nigeria problem. This is why we must proffer a Nigerian solution to it.
Once we begin to see problems from geopolitical dimension, the more we feel alienated from the system. A Nigerian President from Northern extraction found a permanent solution to the Niger-Delta crisis. It will not be out of place if a Nigerian President from Southern extraction decides to find a solution to the Boko Haram insurgence.
That is how to own a problem and not by simply expecting the people in a particular zone to be the sole solution providers of a crisis in their domain. I do not remember Chief Edwin Clark ever condemning militant activities in the Niger-Delta. Other leaders from outside the zone did and today, we are enjoying the gains of such patriotic intervention. With advisers like Chief Edwin Clark, who says Jonathan does not deserve impeachment?