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JONATHAN’S IMPEACHMENT: HOW FAR CAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY GO?

JONATHAN’S IMPEACHMENT: HOW FAR CAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY GO?

There  is a  strong indication that the threat of impeachment against president Goodluck Jonathan by some members of the National Assembly, both in the Upper and Lower chambers which many described as a  mere joke appears to be  gathering momentum by the day.   About 50 impeachable offences have been listed against President Jonathan.

The impeachment threat started when some People’s Democratic Party, PDP, senators lost out in their wards congresses.  Feeling betrayed by the president, the senators threatened to shut down all legislative activities until the party cancels the ward congresses.  It was gathered that the Senators and Members of House of Representatives used the impeachment threat to negotiate with the PDP to grant them  automatic tickets.

AMEN Super News gathered that the police invasion of the National Assembly on November 20 was aimed at achieving two targets.  First was the plot to stop the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal from entering the House while PDP members present in the House could go ahead and impeach him.

On the other hand, the speaker and his loyalists were also armed with their own agenda to begin the impeachment process against President Jonathan.  But both plans were eventually thwarted as the police tear-gassed members of the National Assembly prompting the Senate President David Mark to shut down the National Assembly.

The Senators numbering 65 with some members of the House of Representatives listed President Jonathan’s poor handling of the economy and political affairs, poor implementation of the national budgets since 2011, high level of corruption and “gross disregard” for the legislature at both the federal and state levels as some of the grounds for Jonathan’s impeachment.

Some PDP senators are bringing  their decision on the alleged high level of impunity and corruption allegedly being condoned by his administration.

A senator who spoke on the condition of anonymity disclosed that the impeachment plot has the backing of their colleagues in the PDP.

He said: “The truth of the matter is that the impeachment notice would have been laid if not for our colleagues in the PDP who pleaded with us to delay the process pending when the senate leadership would come up with the result of its efforts at securing automatic tickets for them.  In any case the process had started but if we submit the letter now, the signatures of the PDP senators will be there and the party might want to use that as a n excuse to deny them their automatic tickets.”

An All Progressive Congress (APC) member of the senate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, explained that his aggrieved PDP colleagues in the Upper Chamber had started reaching out to the opposition senators.

“I was personally consulted this evening over the issue and I also cross checked from my colleagues who also told me that they had been contacted.

“The grouse of the lawmakers, according to the person that contacted me, was that Jonathan’s handling of the last month’s invasion of the National Assembly by the police was carelessly handled by the Jonathan administration.  From the look of things, the proceedings will start on Tuesday because some signatures had been collected already.”

He also stated that President Jonathan was not capable of superintending over a free and fair election in 2015.

Another lawmaker in the House of Representatives disclosed that both chambers have resolved to work together for the common good of the country by impeaching President Jonathan for “incompetence, corruption and unprecedented impunity.”

He noted that the impeachment plot against Jonathan was not a partisan affair, explaining that lawmakers have  identified with the “cause” and will not give up until the President is “sent packing.”

“I’m sure you read the reports today that senators are going to move against Jonathan.  Now you can confirm that the impeachment thing is not about APC.  It is a non partisan cause.  We have all resolved that the man (President Jonathan) must go.

“Never in the history of Nigeria has a leader displayed such crass incompetence as we have seen in President Jonathan.  It is glaring and you can feel it.  Mr. President, with due respect, has shown that he is not capable of running this country. That is the basic truth.”

Senator Abdulkadir Jajere told newsmen that he was the number four on  a  list of 65 senators that have signed the impeachment notice.

He said, “I have signed the impeachment notice because there are impeachable offences against President Goodluck Jonathan.  You are my colleagues and being a journalist who had practiced Journalism for 27 years and I know these things are not new.

“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.

“That 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 season today, two people had called me and told me that they want to sign.  One of them is an APC senator who was away doing campaign because he is contesting the governorship election of his state; the other person is a PDP senator.

Jajere further argued that “the impeachment issue is not just coming now.  It is also a process that has 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 the National Assembly will carry out the verification of the committee and concluded the remaining process.  The National Assembly will soon conclude our own side and submit the notice to the Judiciary.  As of 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.”

However, in a swift reaction, Senator Ayogu Eze (Enugu North) referred to senator Jajere’s submission as mere tales by moonlight, saying that it would die on arrival even if initiated on the floor of the senate.

Senator Eze who is also governorship aspirant in Enugu said, “put my words on record, senator Jajere is a  blatant liar for saying that 65  or 70 senators have signed his alleged impeachment list against President Jonathan.  The said list is non existing in the senate and why didn’t you tell him to show you the list on which he said he is number four and in particular, asked him who is number 65 there?  Yes, there are some political opponents of the president in the senate or even disgruntled ones, but the fact is that even if they want to make such move, they cannot even get up to 10 and where are they even going to table such rubbish.  We are waiting for them anyway.

“Even the reason reportedly cited by the senator for the so called impeachment move, stands logic on its head because how can you be bringing  a non existing offences of 2011 as impeachment offences in 2014.  Where were they in 2011 when the alleged offence was committed by the President and don’t they even know that three other appropriation bills had been passed by the senate after the 2011 one?

“To me Jajere is a story teller.  We are waiting for him and his other signatories who are more of sprits than human beings in the senate and let me put it to him and his other people  that if they think they can intimidate the President or PDP out of  power, they are just day dreaming because the man will contest the 2015 election and gong by realities on ground , he will win.  So the earlier they realize this, the better for them,” Senator Eze said.

However, President Jonathan on Wednesday told senators behind the Jonathan must go impeachment project that there were issues of national importance that needed their attention rather than the plot against him.

Jonathan’s advice was contained in a reaction by his Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, who fired back at the senators said to be compiling signatures and impeachable offices against the president.

“It is our view that there are at present, serious fundamental issues of national importance such as winning the war against terrorism and stabilizing the  economy in the face of dwindling oil revenue which require the full attention, committeemen and swift  action of distinguished members of the senate,” Okupe said.

The senators said they would have tabled their request this week but for the adjournment in the senate.  The upper federal legislative chamber had suspended plenary till December 16 for members to participate in the ongoing primaries of the parties.

Okupe’s full statement read, “The senate in the last four years has conducted its legislative functions and responded to issues that are of great national importance with commendable political sagacity.

“In this same period the senate has functioned as a stabilizing force within the polity employing much political maturity that is required to guide and protect our nascent democracy.

“However, confrontation and strong disagreements are not uncommon phenomenon in Executive legislative relation world-wide.  The recent purported attempt by some senators to prepare impeachable offices against the President, as reported in some section of the media, is seen by us in this light.

“We strongly trust and believe in the leadership of the present senate and the unwavering patriotism and commitment that have been shown by the distinguished members and we trust that ultimately it is this tendency towards true nationalism that will prevail in the senate.

“It is our view that there are at present, serious fundamental issues of national importance such as winning the war against terrorism and stabilizing the economy in the face of dwindling oil revenue which require the  full attention, commitment and swift action of  distinguished members of the senate.

“We are of the opinion that all matters political can and will be resolved politically in the overall interest of our democracy and the well being of our people.”

Meanwhile in a bid to stop the impeachment plot, President Jonathan had started intervening in states where there were rifts among the major gladiators, especially state governors and their National Assembly members over party tickets.

The source said the idea behind that move was that any lawmaker who was on the same page with the President and his or her governor would not be part of the impeachment move.

According to him, “That you have not seen the president meeting PDP lawmakers since the impeachment moves started does not mean he is not doing anything about the development.  We are adopting subtle strategies of resolving crisis in the states which will lead to further harmonious relationship with the  presidency.

“For instance, it will interest you to know that the President, the PDP National Chairman, President of the Senate, Governor Lyel Ikmoke of Cross Rivers state, his predecessor, Donald Duke and Senator Victor NdomaEgba met recently.  That meeting was basically to resolve the crisis in the state chapter of the PDP and again stem the tide of impeachment.

“Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State met with the President and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu to resolve the crisis in the state chapter of the party.  In the said meeting President was said to have told Chime to make the sacrifice of leaving the Enugu West Senatorial ticket for Ekweremadu, while Ekweremadu in the other hand should allow Chime to produce his successor and some other elective positions in the state.

“Governor Olusegun MIniko of Ondo state also met with the President and stakeholders from his state chapter of the PDP.  Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi also met with the President.  All the meetings were aimed at resolving all crises and ensure that the party enters the election year united in all the state.”

The peace moves is coming on the heels of the announcement by member of minority political parties in the senate, where they dissociated themselves from plans by some senators to move an impeachment motion against President Jonathan on December 16.

Senators on the platform of the Social Democratic Party and Accord Party said that they had not been contacted by the arrowheads of the plot and that they were ignorant of such moves.

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