By Henry Umoru
Senator Matthew Urhoghide, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts. In this interview, Urhoghide revealed how senators, mostly those elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, showed interest in the call for President Muhammadu Buhari’s impeachment among other issues. Excerpts:
How would you describe what happened at the Edo South Senatorial Primary election?
It went the way some of our political actors wanted it to go and I can tell you that it was not the best for the majority of our people in the PDP. We wished we had the real administrators of the party and those that have been in the party by way of being statutory delegates, if they had the chance to really nominate those who represent them at the different levels, but unfortunately, we didn’t get there. We had to deal with strangers who constituted the adhoc delegates that didn’t quite know us, but worked on certain interests and directives.
Well for me, it was an experience and I can tell you that the majority of the PDP members in the state particularly in my Edo South Senatorial District, are not happy with the outcome.
On move to impeach President Buhari
I don’t know why people believe it is so sacred and it should not happen to the person of the President, why? I said it that time, a violation of the provision of the Constitution is a gross misconduct. When we were going to talk about the Tucano Aircraft in 2017, we said at that time that this Tucano aircraft purchase, from day one, was wrong, it was a violation of the provision of the Constitution. The Constitution says in Section 80, 81 that before you can spend any money from the federation account, from the consolidated revenue fund; it must be appropriated for by the National Assembly and the President went ahead because they felt insurgency in the North-East was so much that they needed to get Tucano aircraft to quickly quell the banditry and the insurrection going on.
Even at that, we knew that the idea was noble, but he should have obtained permission and I felt too that what the President had done was not right and then there was the need for us to adhere strictly to the provision of our Constitution and I said okay, let us look at section 143 which concerns the President and the Vice-President in the event of misconduct. In that section, there are about 11 subsections, you take them step by step, at least that should have let the President know that there is serious consequence for violation of the provisions of this Constitution which of course will be tantamount to gross misconduct. I expected that Nigerians would say yes, this is the way it is. A segment of very myopic people especially in my state, felt that because of their ambition, may be becoming chairman of APC, that what I had said, will block their chance, so let us make it politics of hallelujah chorus singers and they went ahead and intercepted me at the Benin Airport and they were talking rubbish.
Today, where are those Tucano aircraft? How has the President been able to use them to quell insurgency, banditry and kidnapping in Nigeria?
It only shows that we have foisted on ourselves a government that cannot deliver; this is not politics because the issue of insecurity should not be politicized. This is obvious to everybody.
Today in the Senate, we have many APC senators who are very convinced and there are some PDP senators who believe that we should not go that route. We have APC senators who are saying that the President must go, as a matter of fact the discussion started with APC senators saying that the president must be impeached and those two that are spearheading it that the president must be impeached are APC senators.
The executive session had showed very clearly that we had more APC senators asking that the president be impeached now than PDP senators, they are even more in number and they were even more in the chambers on the day of this discussion.
I just pray too that the President does the needful before the time he was given elapses; if he doesn’t, and we come back, I will say we should go for the impeachment.
Is it the right time to remove Senator Iyorchia Ayu as PDP National Chairman?
How will you remove Ayu now, at least the National Working Committee, NWC, has not won the presidential election?
It is when you have won the presidential election that you can say the President cannot come from the north. Nobody said that the presidential candidate cannot come from the north and the chairman of the party cannot come from the north, it is after winning that you will be thinking of removing the chairman of the party and zoning it to another place, then it will be said that yes, it is in conformity with the provision of the party’s constitution.
So if you remove him now before the election, you are only sending a message that he is incompetent or he has committed one infraction or the other, but he should be the one. So far, so good, the direction he has given, the leadership he has given to the party, I am talking about the administration of the party now, for me, it can mean some other things to some other people; so I think there is no need for his removal. But after the election, through rearrangement of positions because we are now in power, then of course, he can now voluntarily say I agree that this thing should be moved to somewhere else. He has been elected for four years and he has just started his journey, we are not even into his second year yet.