is good news that Governor Joshua Dariye of Plateau State has been removed from
office for corrupt practices. The evidence is that he stole the resources of the
people of Plateau State and converted same to his own, laundered the money and
siphoned it into various accounts in England. Amounts discovered so far was
eight million pounds (that is, two billion naira). What Dariye had done was a
violation of Section 15(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria, 1999, which provides thus: "The State shall abolish all corrupt
practices and abuse of power."
There are still many of the Governors who are like if not worse than Dariye.
They should be flushed out. Let it be clearly understood that with corruption,
the people are denied employment, good education, water, electricity, housing,
good health and sound infrastructure. After all, Section 14(2)(b) of the
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, provides: "The security
and welfare of the people shall be the primary
purpose of government". But with corruption, this provision of the
Constitution remains virtually dead.
Is the impeachment legal in terms of Section 188 of the Constitution? Of
course yes! It is legal and constitutional. Two-third prescription in Section
188 of the Constitution means two-third of the members of the Plateau State
House of Assembly. Surely, these members will not include those who had decamped
from the party on which platform they were elected to the house. This is so in
view of Section 109(1)(g) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria, 1999 which provides as follows:
"109(1) A member of the House of Assembly shall vacate his
seat in the House if (g) being a person whose election to the House of
Assembly was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another
party before the expiration of the period for which that House was
elected:Provided that his membership of the latter political party is not as a
result of a division in the political party of which he was previously a member
or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he
was previously sponsored".
Consequently, those who decamped from People's Democratic Party (PDP) in the
Plateau State House of Assembly to another political party ceased to be members
of the Plateau State House of Assembly. It is therefore erroneous for anyone to
think that those who lost their seats could still cast their votes or could
still be reckoned with as members of that Assembly. The position of those who
decamped is further worsened by the pronouncement of the Independent National
Electoral Commission (INEC) that there is only one PDP and that there is no
division or faction in the PDP.
As a matter of fact, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was
planning at a time to hold bye-election in the constituencies of those who had
vacated their seats in the Plateau State Assembly. For sometime now, my
colleagues in the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) particularly the Executive have
been talking about the need to observe the rule of law. Yes, I agree that we
must all observe the rule of law in Nigeria. The question is what is the Rule of
Law? The answer to that is simple. Rule of laws means that the law must rule.
Section 15(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 which
is the fundamental law of the country is part of the law which must rule.
The duty of every citizen to give effect to Section 15(5) which abolishes
corrupt practices and abuse of power means that the rule of law to abolish
corruption must be observed. The provision of two-third majority in section 188
is another rule of law which must be observed. Consequently, in relation to
Dariye's matter, there are many angles to the phrase: rule of law.
It is the duty of all and sundry to read all relevant sections of the
Constitution in addressing a particular constitutional issue. That is the
approach the Supreme Court laid down in the case of Attorney-General of Bendel
State v. Attorney-General of the Federation & 22 Ors (1982) 3 NCLR 1particularly
at pages 77-78.
It is my considered view that the corrupt Governor Joshua Dariye who violated
section 15(5) of the Constitution was rightly impeached under section 188 of the
constitution, bearing in mind the relevant provision of section 109(1)(g) of the
constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should now take the
appropriate steps: Arrest him Prosecute him in the appropriate Court in Nigeria
Seize all the properties he has illegally acquired with the resources
entrusted to him when he was Governor of Plateau State.
Dariye's case is good riddance to bad rubbish.