On Thursday, April 26, 2018, Senator Matthew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo South) rose from the floor of the senate to move a motion for the
Urhoghide’s impeachment motion arrived after Buhari approved the purchase of 12 Super Tucano fighter jets from the United States for $496million, without approval from the national assembly.
A few lawmakers considered the president’s purchase of the aircraft a breach of Section 80 of the Constitution which stipulates that all government spending must be approved by the legislature.
“There are serious consequences ” Urhoghide began. “As a consequence, the only thing we can draw from on this is that we call on you, Mr. (Senate) President, to invoke section 143 of the constitution.
"Because, what it means is that this matter is not to be investigated. It is clear that this offence has been committed by President Buhari.
“I want this senate to resolve that what the president did is procedurally wrong and a violation of our constitution, it must be condemned and of course, the consequences of section 143 of our constitution should be invoked. I so move Mr. President,” Urhoghide added.
The cap disappears from the head
Days later, as Urhogide strode out of the arrival lounge of the Benin airport alongside Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, a horde of squabbling PDP and APC supporters were out there to receive him.
In a flash, an irate APC supporter went for the senator’s cap as a melee ensued all around the VIPs. Governor Obaseki was only inches ahead of the senator, but he looked non flustered as the incident played out.
Senator Urhogide is of the PDP in an APC controlled Edo State. It is little wonder APC supporters consider his impeachment motion against Buhari a sacrilege.
Urhogide says he has never been so humiliated
During plenary on May 3, 2018, Urhoghide told his colleagues that he has never been so humiliated and embarrassed.
“On Friday at Benin Airport, thugs who were mobilized, assaulted and humiliated me while I was with the governor who was there with the Edo State Commissioner of Police.
“One of those thugs even removed my cap.
“For the very first time in my life, I have not been so embarrassed,” he lamented on the floor of the senate.
Narrating what happened, Urhoghide continued, “On April 27, 2018, I flew into the Benin Airport – my constituency, only to find a huge number of hoodlums organised to give me an embarrassing welcome.
“As I proceeded from the protocol lounge of the airport in company with the Governor of Edo State and the Commissioner of Police, one of the hoodlums lunged at me, hitting me behind the head and causing my hat to fall off to the ground”.
Urhoghide added that his rights as a lawmaker were infringed upon on the day.
“The Senate is worried further that if this barbaric act is not discouraged decisively and emphatically, it could be repeated and become the norm rather than the exception and have the propensity to lead to chaos, anarchy and eventually, loss of lives.
“If President Muhammadu Buhari was in my position and was confronted with the same situation, what would he have done? He would have done the same thing.
“Mr. President, I will be going to court over this issue to serve as deterrent to others in future", he said.
The senator prayed the senate to ensure that those who attacked him are arrested and prosecuted.
“This ugly incident took place in the presence of the Governor of Edo State, the State Commissioner of Police, other security agencies and the media. It took the effort of the Air Force Commandant who took me through the tarmac and out of the airport to save the situation.
“This incident occurred in response to the constitutional duties which I was elected to perform and which I did with responsibility and sincerity of purpose.”
Calls placed to the APC secretariat in Edo for a response, went unanswered.
The Nigerian senate is almost evenly split between lawmakers from the two biggest political parties in the land; with debates and motions often taking partisan slants.
Impeaching a Nigerian president is however a constitutional impossibility.