By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
After 24 hours of impeachment of Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba, by the Kogi State House of Assembly, the Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, CDNDC, Sunday, urged the National Assembly and the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, to act fast and intervene.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Convener, CDNDC, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, described the action of members of the Kogi State House of Assembly, as ‘legislative coup’ hence the CJN and NASS should wade in to prevent coercion of the judiciary from swearing in the newly appointed deputy governor.
The statement reads in part, “The National Assembly and the Chief Justice of Nigeria have a responsibility to the constitution by condemning the impeachment travesty that took place in Kogi State, including adopting an urgent legislative resolution protecting the judiciary from being coerced into carrying out an illegal swearing of a new deputy governor.
“Except the ‘legislative coup’ orchestrated by the Kogi State House of Assembly and shamelessly supervised by Gov. Yahaya Bello is immediately reversed, the country risks being thrown into another despicable season of executive recklessness and intimidation.
“The CJN has been speaking against the reckless disobedience of judicial pronouncements in the country, the time has, therefore, come for him to demonstrate his resolve in defence of the judicial arm of government by taking a stand on the legislative aberration that took place in Lokoja.
“The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended is very clear that once a no-guilty verdict is returned on a candidate slated for impeachment by a judicial panel set up by the state Chief Judge, the entire process becomes functus officio and no further action can be taken on the matter.
“The embattled deputy governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba has been acquitted of all allegations leveled against him, and there is absolutely nothing the state legislators and his tormentor-in-chief, Gov. Bello can do about it other than to respect this judicial decision.
“We are also calling on the National Assembly to adopt a bipartisan position and unanimously pass a resolution that condemns this despicable affront against the constitution and that also empowers the state judiciary to disregard any mounting pressure from the executive.
“The National Assembly and the Judiciary must see this development as an opportunity to break with the rising executive lawlessness in the country, which they have terribly condoned and should this time elect to side with democracy and the constitution.
The statement also called on people of Kogi to “come out and protest the rising illegality in their state and ensure that Yahaya does not completely destroy its already endangered civic space.”