The Removal Of Governor Joshua Dariye


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The Removal Of Governor Joshua Dariye



Gani Fawehinmi



culled from GUARDIAN, November 14, 2006


IT 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.


bulletFawehinmi is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).



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