The impeachment notice served on Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, by eight of the 30-member House of Assembly has again brought to the fore the culture of illegal removal of state governors in Nigeria, as was witnessed during the democratic administration Of General Olusegun Obasanjo -1999 – 2017.
Whereas the 1999 Constitution states that two-thirds majority is needed to impeach a governor, a detachment of armed policemen, acting on obvious directives of the Federal Government-led All Progressives Congress, APC had given the eight lawmakers protection to seat illegally at the assembly complex in Makurdi, the state capital, to pass the impeachment motion.
Curiously, the same policemen prevented the majority 22 lawmakers from entering the hallowed chamber for the day’s plenary.
In the interest of democracy and preventing a further break down of law and order, it is imperative that all advocates of democracy and freedom intervene in this raging storm of lawlessness across the country.
This medium views it as an aberration for minority lawmakers to reenact the dark alley in the country’s orgy of illegal impeachments, by deviating from the Constitution to remove elected state governors.
The lawmakers ought to have duly followed the laid down procedure of impeachment, if Ortom truly committed the allegation of misappropriating N22 billion from security votes, and another N32 billion from local government funds, over which they scripted the plot.
Notwithstanding, initiating the impeachment proceedings a few days after Ortom defected to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, affirmed the insinuation by the opposition and other stakeholders that the Federal Government plotted it to punish the politician.
Of equal concern is the obstinacy of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC in probing Ortom’s security votes, even though such votes in other states had never in the past been subjected to scrutiny.
However, if funds used to tackle security challenges have now become a subject of public investigation, we urge the Federal Government to surrender itself to similar probe of the funds that it is currently using to fight insurgency and other security challenges.
While we support the fight against corruption in the country, we believe that probing Ortom’s security votes raises curiosity, especially as the EFCC seem to be giving some members of the APC accused of corruption a free pass.
VERACITY reiterates that Nigeria’s agencies must be apolitical and strengthened to become truly independent.