By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
Politicians, especially, the Nigeria- made brand, are funny. When things are going their way, they can sing Alleluia, but immediately things begin to go contrary to their expectations, they will start parading fake information that only exists in their imagination about the looming war of Amalgedom.
This has become the order of the day in the senate in the just past few months starting from the build-up to the party primaries within the ranks of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Immediately it was clear to senators elected on the platform of the PDP, that the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party, including the presidency, had surrendered the whole party structures especially at the state levels to the governors, hell was let loose. Some of the Senators that were known not to have good relationship with the press, suddenly, started courting the media. Certainly, it must be for selfish reasons.
The greatest surprise was when a Senator that heads a very sensitive Committee briefed journalists on how they would shutdown the economy and team-up with the opposition to frustrate the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration for his failure to protect those protecting his government.
But the Senator in a spineless manner, pleaded that his name should not be mentioned. He said, “We are going to show solidarity with the Speaker of House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal. We will not sit again. There will be no consideration of the MTEF (Medium Term Expenditure Framework) and there will be no budget.
“We decided to adjourn and do no business and the APC Senators are in solidarity with us. President Goodluck Jonathan has lost the senate, he has left the PDP structures in the hands of the governors, let the governors also do our job. We are going to shut the government.
“You can see that before sitting we had a meeting. Either they give us back what they gave to the governors or PDP will lose the senate. All the things we have been doing to protect this government, we are not going to do them again.
“When we don’t approve the MTEF and the budget, then, the International Community will know that nothing is working in this country. PDP is finished.
”Under this arrangement, if left unchallenged, none of the senators would come back in 2015. We are planning to boycott legislative businesses until further notice.”
Incidentally, since the senator picked his re-election ticket after the intrigues and maneuver that characterized the primary, he has gone back to the old song where everything done by the Presidency is good. Governance, to them, is all about them. No one else.
After the party primaries which produced many casualties, there appears to be collaboration between the aggrieved PDP Senators and their opposition colleagues. Senator Alkali Jajere representing Yobe South became a fortune teller who came up with the information of compilation of impeachable offences committed by President Jonathan and at the last count about 70 out of the 109 Senators have put down their signatures for the commencement of impeachment exercise in the senate.
Senator Jajere who had once said that he was once an Almajiri, while addressing journalists, enthused that when senate resumed from the break they embarked upon to allow members participate in their various party primaries, that the impeachment move would be tabled on the floor of the senate when it resumes on Dec. 16.
Senator Jajere said, “I have signed the impeachment notice because there are impeachable offences against President Goodluck Jonathan.
“In 2011, this senate approved N240 billion as subsidy fund but the same government spent N1.7 trillion which is a clear breach of the constitution, clear breach of the appropriation act.
“The business of government is to curtail excesses but this government has shown that it is incurably deficient in handling the situations in this country. This government cannot say it wants to continue.
“The president should have even resigned without waiting for him to be impeached. The duty of the legislature is to act as a check and balance because it is the most important symbol of democracy. If you don’t have the legislature, you don’t have democracy because every other arm of government exists even when there is no democracy, it is only the legislature that makes a democracy, a government.
“As at last week, 63 of us have signed up for the impeachment, my signature was the fourth but I can confirm to you that we have 63 signatures but after the session today, two people had called me and told me that they want to sign”.
On why the impeachment plan was coming when the first tenure of President Jonathan’s administration was coming to an end, he said, “The impeachment issue is not just coming now. It’s also a process that started early in the year.
“But there was a hiccup. But today, there are issues that have triggered the National Assembly to do what it should do. No matter what the time, it is a three legged issue; the National Assembly will now have to initiate the process and then, submit that process to the judiciary.
“The judiciary will form a committee through the CJN (Chief Justice of the Federation), the National Assembly will carry out the verification of the committee and conclude the remaining process. The National Assembly will soon conclude our own side and submit the notice to the judiciary.
“As at today, the required signatures to initiate the impeachment notice had been obtained. The senate has adjourned to the 16th, so, by that date the impeachment notice will be presented on the floor of the senate.
“Before the end of today, I can assure you that the list will swell up to 70. It is on the impeachment day that we need two-third of the members to carry out the exercise but we need only one-third, which we already have, to initiate the process. It is just a matter of one day sitting. We will just push it before the two chambers.”
Then, came another twist even before the Dec. 16 resumption as there was another allegation from some Senators who also hid on the condition of anonymity to claim that some of the Senators have agreed that the Senate President, David Mark should be impeached because he was unable to negotiate the 2015 return ticket for members with the Presidency and the NWC of the PDP.
A senator who claimed to be privy to the ‘phantom’ impeachment plot alleged that, “the plan has changed. We never expected the party to treat us this way. We stood by the party when there was turbulence occasioned by the emergence of the new PDP.
“There was a plot then to impeach the same leadership but we stepped in and stopped it with our sheer number. In fact, we used our personal contacts to talk to the organisers and they backed down. We prevailed on them not to rock the boat more so as the Seventh Senate had just a few months to go.
“We thought the party would take note of what we did and reward our loyalty. Rather, we were not even protected in these primaries. Can you imagine the party leaving us at the mercy of state governors?” However, the Senate spokesman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe in a statement titled, “Senators Are United Behind Mark” described the report as “false” the media reports purporting a plot by some aggrieved senators to remove the President of the Senate, Senator David A.B. Mar.
Abaribe said that the report was unfounded and only existed in the imagination of its authors, adding that “senators operating as a body of one united family, have never at any time found any ground to move against its leadership or even thwart the long-standing camaraderie the upper chamber is known for, irrespective of political party affiliation.
“The senate has a tested internal mechanism, which has severally been ably deployed by the President of the senate and members of his leadership to tackle any difficult issues that arise within and outside the chamber. “Such mechanisms and channels are inexhaustible and shall always be deployed by the leadership of the senate, as it always does when the need arises.
“Senators have implicit confidence in the leadership of the Senate ably led by Senator Mark and there is nothing now to suggest or confer any iota of truth on the media insinuation of any form of schism that could warrant the removal of the President of the Senate.” He advised journalists to exercise restraint on the reportage of issues that are not factual. With this and other pending matters in the senate, it was expected that the Dec 16 sitting was going to be turbulent, but behold, both Senator Jajere and his aggrieved PDP colleagues were nowhere to be found. Efforts made to talk to Senator Jajere yielded no fruit. While he was in his office, his staff told journalists that he was not on seat, but when reminded that the Senator was right inside the office, the staff claimed that he was busy and will not see anybody.