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Pulse Opinion It's a shame when lawmakers use impeachment to blackmail

The national assembly has threatened to impeach Buhari. This latest impeachment threat is childish, self-serving and nonsensical.

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Lawmakers from the Senate and House of Representatives held a joint executive session which lasted for some two hours on Tuesday, June 5, 2018.

It's a shame when lawmakers use impeachment to blackmail play

President Muhammadu Buhari shakes hands with President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki

(Twitter/@Laurestar)
 

At the end of their deliberations, the legislators ‘resolved’ to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari if their concerns aren’t addressed.

“And if nothing is done, the National Assembly will not hesitate to invoke its powers against the Executive”, the lawmakers declared.

The word ‘Powers’ above refers to the instrument of impeachment, of course.

The Punch newspaper quotes an unnamed lawmaker as saying: “It means impeachment. We have given the president ample opportunity to improve on security and all the issues listed in our resolutions.

Buhari writes Senate to confirm 26 new appointees play Saraki locks fist with President Buhari (Twitter/@bukolasaraki)

 

“At the executive session, senators and members were on the same page on the position that if the president does not improve on his style and the security situation in the country in the weeks ahead, impeachment proceedings will become the option”.

Of course Buhari needs to improve on his handling of the economy, his style of governance and securing a badly traumatized nation. The executive arm of government has been unable to stop the killings in every part of the country and unemployment numbers continue to soar.

However, to understand why the lawmakers are waving the impeachment card, look no further than recent criminal cases involving Senate President Bukola Saraki, Senators Dino Melaye and Shehu Sani. A couple of other senators who served as governors also have dates to keep with the anti-graft agencies and the police.

Ben Bruce welcomes Dino Melaye to PDP play Senator Dino Melaye is surrounded by PDP lawmakers (Twitter/@benmurraybruce)

 

So, when the national assembly reaffirms its “earlier resolution of vote of no confidence on the Inspector General of Police who does nothing other than preside over the killing of innocent Nigerians and consistent framing up of perceived political opponents of the president and outright disregard for constitutional authority, both executive and legislative”, you should know where the lawmakers are coming from.

Reports say Dino Melaye was the most vocal of the lawmakers during their closed-door executive session. The senator is still battling a slew of charges bordering on criminal conspiracy, gun running and attempted suicide—charges slapped on him by the police.

Pulse Opinion: The National Assembly has a N14.5bn question to answer over 2018 budget play Senate President Saraki, President Buhari and Speaker Dogara (Inside Arewa)

 

Senate President Saraki has been named as a person of interest in the Offa robbery investigation and has been asked to submit a written statement to the police.

Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris has thrice shunned senate summons and has been declared "an enemy of democracy and unfit for public office anywhere in the world", by the senate. Police boss Idris is probably the most hated man in the senate at the moment.

According to House of Reps member Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin, the resolutions from the executive session emerged without rigorous debates because lawmakers loyal to President Buhari or who belong to the APC, weren’t allowed the opportunity to present dissenting views.

Jibrin wrote that; “Almost all the members and senators that spoke at the executive session are of the PDP while members of the APC declined joining the discussion to avoid a rowdy confrontation as the entire session could easily pass for a PDP executive session.

SARS officers bite more than they can chew after slapping soldier play IGP Idris is hated in the national assembly (thewillnigeria.com)

 

“It is commendable that the Speaker tactically refused to make any comment at the session even after the Senate President took time to explain the issues which are mostly personal.

“It is disturbing and raised many questions of pre-determined intentions that a known ally of the Senate President from Kwara State, Hon Rasak Atunwa, drafted what was adopted as the resolution and without voting against standard parliamentary practice

“Most of the issues raised concerning the fight against corruption, insecurity and the rule of law have been severally discussed in the Senate and the House and various resolutions passed”.

The latest impeachment threat against Buhari should therefore be seen as an avenue by lawmakers to settle personal scores with the executive and to arm twist Buhari into asking IGP Idris to back off and bury some criminal files bearing the names of top senators.

President Muhammadu Buhari shakes hands with Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris play President Buhari and IGP Idris (Facebook/Femi Adesina)

 

All of the other reasons cited by the lawmakers for the impeachment threat are but smokescreens. This is essentially lawmakers looking after themselves like they have always done and eagerly passing a vote of confidence on themselves.

“Both chambers of the National Assembly hereby pass a vote of confidence on the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the entire leadership of the National Assembly”, Saraki read. Nothing could have been more childish.

The national assembly shouldn’t be used to settle personal scores like the 8th national assembly often does. Legislators shouldn’t resort to deploying impeachment as a tool of blackmail like we often saw during the Obasanjo era.

These lawmakers hurriedly called for an executive session as soon as Saraki was linked to the Offa robbery. They never move this fast on matters of urgent national importance. For these guys, this is all a game of some sort.

Nigeria eases company registration Act for start-ups and young entrepreneurs play The senate during plenary (Twitter/Bukola Saraki)

 

Yes, Buhari has to do more because he keeps getting the simplest things wrong. He’s turned governance into some rocket science and an excuse churning factory. The president needs to take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask himself if he’s fulfilled a fraction of his campaign promises. IGP Idris has looked increasingly clueless as rampaging herdsmen hold an entire nation to ransom.

However, it is annoying to often watch a bunch of over-paid and over-pampered lawmakers resort to waving the impeachment flag whenever they feel threatened or humiliated; and heating up the polity once their egos have been bruised. They need to stop this pettiness at once.

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