By Kassim Afegbua
The ridiculous news of an impeachment plot anchored by some clueless first time lawmakers and their shameless sponsors simply brought to the fore the barefaced fact that we are not learning from our recent history.
From Salisu Buhari to Ghali Umar Naaba, from Masari to Patricia Eteh, through the corridors of Bankole and now to Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, it has been a theatre of executive interference in the activities of the House of Representatives, in trying to bring it under deliberate control and make it mere appendage of the executive.
It got to a head during the monstrous reign of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, when money allegedly mobilised for impeachment was displayed right before the mace as exhibit of a well orchestrated plan and strategy to unseat the then Speaker, Ghali Umar Naaba. That singular exercise did not only bring shame to the collective sensibilities of Nigerians, it further exposed the desperation of Chief Obasanjo at ensuring that theHouse was brought before its kneels.
That slave-master relationship did not happen. And the rest is now history.
The ongoing machinations of a deliberate plot to unseat the current Speaker without any reasonable faus pax or justifiable rationale brings to fore once again, the desperation on the part of the executive in trying to put the flamboyant and affable Speaker under control.
The reason might just have been a fallout of the caution initially sent to the President on the need to comply with budgetary approvals by way of appropriation which set a tone for impeachment in the event that the President refuses to comply with Acts of Parliament. Before the House of Representatives went on recess, news filtered into town that an impeachment was in the offing in the event that the executive arm continues to neglect the provisions of the law.
Despite the warning signs, the executive has remained unrepentant in its spending spree, with conflicting percentages presented as the yardstick for budget compliance and expenditure. The performance ratio has been most benumbing.The nation is grinding to a state of anomie, with gruelling hunger and poverty, coupled with a growing rate of unemployment becoming the order of the day.
Curiously, rather than address the concerns raised by the members of the House of Representatives, the executive arm seems poised to extract its own pound of flesh and the present sing song has shown a peculiar character that has the symptoms of a presidential backing.
The only joy is that the House has its feet on the ground. It is the first time that the House was enjoying a near-100 percent acceptance rating both at the House and outside it. At a time when the country is undergoing a total collapse in its infrastructural base coupled with a very frail economic system that cannot withstand any shock, mooting an impeachment of a man as popular as Tambuwwal, is courting real trouble.
While President Jonathan was busy decorating some recipients of his National Award, some of our rural communities were easily swept away by agents of denudation, erosion and outright flooding. Several people have their homes swallowed up in floods.
A typical example is Governor Gabriel Suswan of Benue State, who was enjoying himself in the full merriment of the moment in Abuja, while his State Capital was ravaged by floods causing untold damages to the people. After the award ceremony and upon his return to Benue, he was seen on television soliciting for assistance to curb the menace of floods. Why the award in the first place? That is Nigeria for you.
Why is Farouk Lawan not being prosecuted?
Curiously, Farouk Lawan appeared on the floor of the House when it resumed plenary on Tuesday, 18th September, unashamedly wearing his peculiar flowing Babariga. He has since been out of the radar as a result of the shame he has brought to himself. I understand that those who have very questionable scores to settle are those who are spear-heading this move of impeachment.
Dr. Jibril, House Committee Chair on Finance, my good friend is still being investigated by the EFCC. Farouk Lawan is also in EFCC radar while Sanni Kutigi from Niger State is desperate to gain relevance in the House.
Now, so it seems, the Executive finds them as useful tools to cause division in the House as a way to give them a clean bill of health. The Jonathan presidency is simply not creative. It possesses an offending aura. Its anti-corruption posturing is just on the lips.
There is no commitment at all, otherwise Farouk Lawan should have been summarily prosecuted and made to face the full wrath of the law. Instead of President Jonathan to sit down and face the daunting challenges of governance facing us as a nation, those around him are deliberately causing him Tambuwal Scare to unnecessarily cause him panic.
President Jonathan should sit down and settle for work. All these voice of Esau and hand of Jacob attitude cannot put food on the table for the average Nigerian. The morale in the polity is down. The motivation for work is low. Reward for excellence is not objectively done.
The commitment to make things happen and see it through, is zero, otherwise, Farouk Lawan shouldn’t be smiling at us having been accused of corruption.
Even though we know that this is Nigeria where anything goes, this time round, “anything” will not go. We will continue to shout to the roof top that Farouk Lawan should be prosecuted to at least reassure the people that we are still limping forward despite the leadership atrophy that we are now experiencing.