A Professor of Political Science, Femi Otubanjo, on Sunday said that the impeachment move against Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State might be a dangerous mistake for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Otubanjo of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) told News men in Lagos that such an impeachment move might affect the party’s fortunes at the coming general elections.
News men report that the Lagos State House of Assembly on Jan. 28, said it may impeach Ambode over alleged gross misconducts.
The House also summoned Ambode to appear before it within one week over his failure to formally present the 2019 Budget before the Assembly.
Otubanjo said that Ambode had been fairly popular with the public and that his denial of a second term by the Lagos APC was not popular with the public.
According to him, such an impeachment move against a man, who is still the sitting governor, can make him use resources at his disposal to fight back, which could negatively affect APC’s chances in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state.
“Gov. Ambode has already been pushed aside by the party and the person that actually facilitated his becoming a governor. That is a major change of scenario.
“Ordinarily, in a company when there is a loss of confidence in an officer and you tell such officer that you are not going to renew his job contract, the common practice is to ask him to leave immediately, otherwise that officer may become dangerous to the company.
“Unfortunately, this principle cannot be applied to a sitting governor who still has a term till May 29, about four months.
“He had about six to seven months from the time he was rejected by the party.
“Of course, when you reject a man you don’t expect him to be happy or enthusiastic about your programmes and, in actual fact, you do not expect him to be loyal.
“So, the lawmakers and the party are worried about the loyalty of Ambode and may think that the best way is to get rid of him through impeachment which makes sense.
“But the problem is that everything is not about logic, sometimes politics defies logic. If you are removing the man, you should expect him to react,” he told NAN.
“And from my point of view, Gov. Ambode has been fairly popular with the public. His rejection was not popular with the public.
“I think that it would be a grave mistake for the lawmakers, from the point of view of popular sentiments to think that they will impeach Ambode and get away with it.
“Such impeachment may affect the party electorally unless they do not want popular votes and are planning to simply write results.”
Otubanjo said that if you were going to appeal to over 22 million residents and about five to six million registered voters, there was a danger in alienating the public.
“And you never know, Ambode can fight back because he is still the governor and he can deploy resources for his own defence; he also has information that he can use to destroy or affect the chances of the APC.
“It is a dangerous game that the House is playing by planning to impeach him. If they remove him, he has resources to fight covertly,” he said.
On the summons, Otubanjo advised Ambode to appear before the House as he is constitutionally bound to answer such summons.
“Basically, he is supposed to go, He cannot say because they have refused him a second term, he will ignore them.
“He is still the governor and there are constitutional prescriptions guiding relationships between the executive and the legislature; if the House summons him, he has to go.
“So, he should go to the House and answer whatever questions they have for him; they cannot do worse than they have done already by denying him a second term.
“But if he does not answer, he will give them the chance to harass him with threats of impeachment,” he said.
Otubanjo urged Ambode to be grateful to God and count himself lucky to have been a governor of the largest income earning state in Nigeria and one of the largest economies in Africa.
“There is a saying that `He that is down needs fear no fall’. Ambode cannot fall any further at this moment and God can still raise him up for another assignment.
“He has been lucky. He was a civil servant who retired and became governor; unfortunately, it did not fully work out for him to have a second term but he has been a good governor in terms of infrastructure development.
“He has a good reputation. He should hold his head high and be grateful always,” he said. (NAN)