By CHIOMA GABRIEL
IT was Hamumurabi of Babylon who instituted a code of behavioural laws and this covered a range of areas of human conduct. The rules state that if a house collapses and kills the owner, the builder will be put to death.
If the house kills the owner’s son, the builder’s son will die. If a gentleman breaks another gentleman’s bone, he shall have his own bone broken but if he breaks the bone of a commoner, he shall pay one mina of silver.
It was a severe code but they were hard times and the code ensured a high degree of law and order in the land which had been fraught with internal strife for a long time.
Nigeria has her idiosyncrasies as a nation and cannot be compared to Babylon. If there should be any comparison, the situation in Nigeria has gone far beyond what was obtainable in ancient Babylon before Hammurabi gave his set of rules.
In the recent times, rivulets of impeachments have enveloped the nation and no one seems to know the next state. One thing is clear though. The general elections are close by and impeachments are happening all around the country mainly for perceived selfish reasons .
If ex-governor Nyako of Adamawa had been given a prophesy of his impeachment, he might have dismissed it with military fiat. But those who could read political undertones knew his days were numbered from the time he began to pally with strange bedfellows in a state where controversy had continued to remain the order of the day. Nyako had gotten things muddled up in so many ways irrespective of the code of laws that governed democracy.
First, he wrote the controversial letter where he alleged that the presidency is on the verge of breaking Nigeria and even connoting that President Jonathan was behind the killings of Boko Haram as a way of depopulating the North. If even Jonathan is not perceived in many quarters as a political colossus, Nyako’s letter would definitely have brought him to reality.
When Gov Nyako’s memo to Northern Governors’ Forum first leaked to the press, there was a huge argument on whether the letter was real or forged.
The memo titled On-Going Full-Fledged Genocide in ‘Northern Nigeria’ dated April 16, 2014 was sent to Vanguard’s mailbox on Friday April 18 and it triggered off an argument in the newsroom as to whether somebody forged Nyako’s signature; whether the memo was real or fake and other security questions.
The first paragraph of Nyako’s memo read:“The adverse security situation in Northern Nigeria in particular and Nigeria in general is being felt by all of us. While every State Government is doing everything possible using virtually all its resources to stem the tide of near disaster facing all of us especially in the North, it is a well-known fact that the present Federal administration has now become a government of impunity run by an evil-minded leadership for the advancement of corruption that is apparently enjoying the protection of the Federal administration but is being denied by the administration using its mass murderers/cut-throats imbedded in our legitimate and traditional Defence and Security organisations.
Protection of life and property
It is very clear that the protection of life and property of innocent citizens in Northern Nigeria and recognising their Human rights and Voting rights in the forthcoming general elections is no longer a cardinal principle of the administration.
”The memo went ahead to allege that the victims of Jonathan administration’s evil-mindedness are substantially Northern Nigerians, accusing the administration of determination to bring wars to the North between Muslims and Christians and within them; and between one ethnic group and another or others in various communities in the region. Nyako claimed that cases of mass murders by Jonathan administration’s bloody minded killers and cut-throats are well known and accused the government of attributing the killings to Boko-Haram.
In other words, Nyako perceived the killings to have been carried out not by Boko Haram but Jonathan administration’s henchmen.This memo was perceived as most irresponsible and very inciting and many think that such a governor in other climes, ought to have been arrested and tried for sedition and treason.
But Nigerian government didn’t take any serious action against him.He wrote further:“Thousands of our young girls and boys have been kidnapped by clearly organised militia in the last few years and kidnapping is now a random affair all over the far North.
These organized kidnappers must have the backing of the Federal administration for them to move about freely with abducted children just as those who convey ammunition and explosives from the Ports to the safe-houses of so called Boko-Haram in the North.
“We no longer accept let alone believe that our prominent Mallams in the Mosques in Kano and Zaria have been killed by ‘innocent’ Boko-Haram members or Christians in the North, nor do we believe that the killing of the Pastor and other worshippers in the Christ Apostolic Church in Jimeta-Yola was done by any Muslim or Boko-Haram members.
We know where we are now pointing our fingers. There have also been attempts to assassinate the Senate President (Northerner) in Imo State, two Executive Governors of States in the North (the Governor of Benue State and my humble self), two of our most prominent Traditional leaders (Shehu of Borno and the Emir of Kano), Senators and others too numerous to mention, all from Northern Nigeria. This is in line with the demonic policy of the evil-few in and around the administration that have advocated how Northerners, both Christians and Muslims, are to be so dealt with, ill-treated and oppressed!
“No wonder, we in the Northern Nigeria are now facing an organised ethno-religious campaign of hate fuelled by the Federal administration to make communities which hitherto have remained peaceful for centuries to start killing the minorities in their midst and to facilitate mass killings of the innocent and the arbitrary arrests and torture of elders of minority ethnic groups in the various Northern communities…
“Fulani communities in parts of the North who have been in their locations for over 100 years are now being raided and uprooted by paid killers within the Nigerian Army for the satisfaction of the Federal administration instead of being protected as citizens with their rights and dignity safe-guarded. This has happened to those communities at Keana L.G. in Nasarawa State and Laddoga and Kachia in Kaduna State.
It is presently extended to Benue, Zamfara and Katsina States. Furthermore it is a well-known fact that virtually all the soldiers of Northern Nigerian origin recently recruited to fight Boko-Haram have been deceived in that aspect. They are being poorly trained, totally ill-equipped, given only uniform and are killed by their trainers in Nigerian Army training centres as soon as they arrive in the Nigerian Army camps being used by so-called Boko-Haram insurgents. Virtually all the Nigerian Army soldiers killed/murdered in these operations so far are of Northern Nigerian origin. The administration has also hired militia from all across especially North Africa who have been deceived into accepting to come because they were made to believe that they would be fighting infidels…”
It was an irresponsible letter to have been written by a serving governor? What did Nyako intend to achieve by those frivolous allegations?
But Nyako escaped that show of rascality.
Show of rascality
However, his doomsday came with allegations of corruption that came from his own quarters.
Although impeachment is constitutional, many expressed dismay at how the dramatis personae handled the issue. It was perceived as the hand of Esau and the voice of Jacob and as expected, the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC), the political party to which Nyako belongs went to court.
The APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun alleged the offences for which Nyako was impeached were committed five years ago.
He went further to allege the entire ‘impeachment’ was fraught with irregularities, bias, judicial contradictions and in violation of every procedural and constitutional provision that it is the worst manifestation of impunity.
Enter Gov Tanko al-Makura
The file of Nyako’s impeachment had hardly dropped when his contemporary, Gov. Tanko al-Makura of Nasarawa State began to get impeachment threats over allegations of extra-budgetary expenditure.
Governor Tanko Umar Al-Makura, despite protests over impeachable offences he allegedly committed got served impeachment notice.
The Speaker of Nasarawa House of Assembly, Musa Mohammed, on perceiving that Al-makura was dodging receving the letter in person directed that the governor be served the impeachment notice via substituted means.
Governor al-Makura is facing charges of gross misconduct and financial misappropriation to the tune of N30 billion.
The 16-count charge being leveled against him includes missing Local Government SURE-P funds and extra-budgetary expenditure among others. The impeachment notice was signed by 20 PDP lawmakers. The state Chief Judge so far has inaugurated a seven-man probe panel directed by the State Assembly less than 24 hours after the meeting between the Peoples Democratic Party lawmakers in the state and the President, where it has hoped to broker peace.
Whether the lawmakers will make good their threat to impeach Governor Al-Makura for alleged gross misconduct and misappropriation of the Sure-P and UBEC funds which accrued to the state under his administration or not is still blowing in the wind.
Gov Chime’s Deputy joins the fray
In Enugu State, the House of Assembly would not be left out in the impeachment fray. Hence, it commenced impeachment proceedings against the deputy governor of the state, Sunday Onyebuchi. The 22-member House dominated by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, served impeachment notice on the deputy governor and 20 out of the 22 lawmakers signed the impeachment notice.
Accusing fingers are pointed at the governor, Sullivan Chime who is believed to be behind it due to his alleged ambition of his deputy to contest the Enugu East Senatorial election next year. According to reports, the governor is believably supporting his Chief of Staff, Ifeoma Nwobodo, for the position currently occupied by Gilbert Nnaji.
The centre could no longer hold between the governor and his Deputy since the former returned from a medical trip overseas. One of the allegations by the governor against his Deputy was that he plotted to remove Ms. Nwobodo while Chime was on the trip. The battle is still on.
Meantime, a pressure group, Enugu Rescue Group, ERG, is protesting the alleged decision by some members of the Enugu PDP Stakeholders that the embattled Deputy Governor should resign since Governor Sullivan Chime no longer wanted to work with him.
The Group expressed dismay over the meeting held at the Governor’s Lodge in Enugu on July 27, 2014 as a kangaroo arrangement contrived by Governor Chime to legitimize his unpopular directive to the State House of Assembly to impeach his Deputy; insisting that even though the Deputy Governor was a member of the PDP, he was elected by the generality of the Enugu people, not only by the PDP.
The group described as unconstitutional and the height of impunity, the pressure on the Deputy Governor to either resign or face impeachment and wondered why such a meeting was held without involving the Deputy Governor to tell his on side of the story.
The group urged that the alleged offences of the Deputy Governor be weighed to determine if they constituted gross misconduct and abuse of office as conceived by the 1999 Constitution.
And Ebonyi wakes up
Ordinarily, Ebonyi state has not attracted any mind-blowing political upheaval in a long time to the extent that many wondered if the state still exists. But the state woke up from a deep political slumber recently when theState House of Assembly impeached its Speaker, Chukwuma Nwazunku.
Eight out of the 24 members of the Assembly reportedly voted out the Speaker in a commando-like style after lifting the suspension of three members :Hon Frank Onwe, Hon Eni Uduma Chime and Deputy Speaker, Hon Blaise Orji. Hon Frank Onwe moved the motion for the Speaker’s impeachment which was seconded by the minority leader, Hon Enyi C. Enyi.
Imo tries a dance
In Imo state, the speculation over Rochas Okorochas impeachment for failure to clear the outstanding salaries and allowances of lawmakers was quickly dismissed by none other than the governor himself through his Media aide.
The Imo lawmakers were allegedly irked that despite spirited attempt to make Okorocha clear the bill, he had failed to do the needful.
The lawmakers allegedly vowed not to accept any payment which is not inform of cash, adding that “if the speaker stands in the way, he would be bulldozed along with the governor.
But the Senior Special Assistant, SSA, to the Governor on Media, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo dismissed the allegation, saying Okorocha had a good relationship with members of the state assembly.
“There is no iota of truth that such a thing was in the offing. You can verify from the assembly members.The state government has a good working relationship with them and I don’t think anybody is plotting any impeachment. How can they impeach a governor who is performing. It’s not true my brother,” he said.
The House Committee Chairman on Information, Mr. Acho Ihim, also had dismissed the alleged impeachment plot as “baseless and malicious, confirming however, the disparity in the salary of the current lawmakers and the former ones, adding that “during the last administration of Chief Ikedi Ohakim, the House took a loan and it was deducted monthly from the salary of the lawmakers. So when we came in, the Clerk of the House was changed and the new one who was ignorant of any such deductions, started paying with the records he met on ground.”
Who is the next target ? Only time will tell.