Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
The Acquired Impeachment Drama Syndrome (AIDS)
October 19, 2006
When it started in Oyo State, no one paid serious attention to it. The Minister of Justice did not point out the irregularities in the impeachment procedure of Alhaji Rasheed Ladoja. The Ladoja impeachment saga was actually a litmus test. It was followed by the Alami impeachment. What surprised me was that the issue of Alami impeachment was greeted with undue sentiment and we threw due process and fairness into the wind.
While no one denied nor disputed the fact that the former Governor of Bayelsa looted, the fact remains that the due process should have been followed for his impeachment. We all saw how the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) arrested members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly for corruption, arraigned them, but after the impeachment of the Governor, we did not hear anything about their trial.
And what baffle me most are the reactions of some “highly placed” Nigerians to this issue. I was perturbed by Chief Gani Fawehinmi reactions to some of recent political events. He swiftly reacted to documents released on Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, asking him to resign. Giving the position of Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Mr. Femi Falana and other notable Nigerians, whatever they say carry weight, this why I feel these “eminent” Nigerians should exercise serious caution in responding to issues as they come.
If serious steps have been taken on the Ladoja impeachment, not in support of Ladoja but issues- fighting for what should have been done and how it should have been done may be this madness would have been curtailed. What we did not realize then was that the fall of a yellow leaf, was indeed a warning to the green ones.
It would have been more interesting and acceptable if the House Assembly members are genuinely carrying out the impeachment without being dictated to or blackmailed by EFCC. It becomes more interesting how EFCC breaks laws in the name of arresting corrupt public officers.
Must EFCC break the law to carry out its functions? Is there a different constitution for the EFCC?
What is interesting to me in this issue is that most if not all of those calling the Governors thieves have something to talk about. President Obasanjo came out with allegations against his Vice and we later knew they both misappropriate funds. Since Atiku published the cheques, none of Obasanjo’s spokespersons have denied that Obasanjo bought Prado Jeep for Mrs. Ajoke Murtala Mohammed and his girlfriend, one Ms. Adegbenro. They did not even deny that 4 Million Naira was donated to Igbogun Descendant Union. Why did EFCC not see that?
Let me start with the “respected’ Nigerians who seem to be misleading innocent and gullible citizens and point out the danger of their utterances.
It all started with Professor Wole Soyinka. All of a sudden, the respected Professor came out to commend Otunba Gbenga Daniels of Ogun State as one of the best Governors. He said he, Gbenga Daniels was in a wrong Party. This was at the early days of Daniels. Professor Soyinka’s utterance, as far as I understand, means that Chief Segun Osoba did not do anything for four years. If Daniel, who came in less than a year could receive commendation. It is a fact that Professor Soyinka enjoyed patronage from Daniel’s government. Stays in Government Guest House and enjoys escort driven cars anytime he is Ogun State. We also know that his support and romance with Daniels was to spite the Afenifere who refused to accept Yemi Ogunbiyi as Governorship candidate in 1998. According to the Afenifere leaders, when the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) members were fighting the Abacha government, Dr. Ogunbiyi was busy romancing with the Abacha government. This did not go down well with Professor Soyinka. We did not see and hear much of him during the Osoba tenure until the ouster of Osoba by Daniel and his Party.
I was wondering why Professor Soyinka had not commented on cases of assassinations, intimidations and harassment by Governor Daniels. If you belong to the opposition, you cannot appear on the State Television. Daniels must vet all programmes of the Radio and television. Is this the type of Democracy Professor Soyinka fought for? Can Professor Soyinka ask his God-son what happened to Age Animashaun and Dele Arojo? Animashaun was beheaded because he crossed carpet to Senator Ibikunle Amosu’s camp against Gbenga Daniels. Ogbeni Lanre Banjo was attacked, though he was not killed, people around him were badly wounded and his house was vandalized.
Chief Gani Fawehinmi led the crusade against the Governor of Lagos State Ahmed Tinubu over his certificate saga. Even when Tinubu was cleared by the House of Assembly panel, Chief Gani insisted that the Governor forged certificate. What he did not tell the public was that when he appeared before the panel and he was asked if he attempted to verify the story published by the Source Magazine, his answer was negative. Chief Gani Fawehinmi’s only source was the Source magazine. Though he has the largest Law Library with over 350,000 books, he did not conduct any independent research or investigation. The truth about Tinubu’s problem with Chief Gani Fawehinmi then was that while he ( Fawehinmi) and other Human Rights activists stayed back to fight Abacha, Tinubu ran abroad. If Gani does not like you, you can never be right. Even when Governor Tinubu vacated his office for a day for the winner of the Lagos State Spelling Bee Competition, Chief Fawehinmi felt it was stupid.
A Human Rights activist, a legal luminary, should not support a wrong against another wrong. We expect some level of caution, and objectivity when it comes to national issues not sentimental utterances. It is a fact that no one is clean and he that goes to justice should with clean hands. How would Chief Gani Fawehinmi explain the services he rendered to the late Victor Okafor, A.K.A. Ezego? Ezego in his life time was a known con man, notorious fraudster and his lawyer was Chief Gani Fawehinmi.
Since we are talking about issues and constitutionality, I wonder how Chief Fawehinmi will explain is support for the impeachment of Governor Fayose. I am not against punishment for offenders, but it must not be jungle justice. We should respect the law and we expect experts in law to guide us and not to mislead because they are beclouded with unnecessary sentiment. It is dangerous and unfortunate. A lot of us see the likes of Chief Fawehinmi, Professor Soyinka, and Pa Anthony Enahoro as elder statesmen based on the enormous contribution to their fatherland and we expect more from them.
An ordinary law student know, I know too because I have a copy of the constitution and I did Government, when I was in the High School and I understand Montesque’s Theory of Separation of Power. The duties and functions of the Three Arms of government have been clearly and explicitly stated by the constitution. The Legislature cannot suspend a Judge, not to talk of the Chief Judge of the State. The Judiciary is expected to interpret the law. The Legislature believes that the Governor had committed impeachable offences, this shows that there is a friction between the Executive and Legislature. The Judiciary comes is as arbiter. For not accepting the report of the Chief Judge panel, it means that the legislature have concluded that the Governor was guilty even before hand. This is prejudicial.
I had expected Chief Gani Fawehinmi to comment on the legality and the constitutionality of the impeachment and suspension of the Chief Judge and not on the action carried out under illegality. I had also expected Chief Afe Babalola, another timber and caliber in legal matters to comment, but his silence is ominous. How does Chief Fawehinmi want to justify an action carried out wrongfully just because he wanted Fayose to be removed? What facts are available to Chief Fawehinmi to claim that Fayose is corrupt and deadly? Did he base his assertion on EFCC report? Did he know that Nuhu Ribadu once awarded contract to a journalist to print 2004 Calendar for the EFCC? I find it disturbing that Chief Fawehinmi accepted to represent Gbenga Daniels in a libel suit against Insider Weekly and Daniels is now being investigated by Ribadu’s EFCC based on the story published by the Insider Weekly.
I have heard several comments of Chief Gani on Nuhu Ribadu, promising that he would support Ribadu if he decides to run for Presidency. This is ridiculous and outrageous. What are Ribadu’s achievements? Sensational arrests, doing hatchet jobs for Obasanjo.
In Chief Fawehinmi own State, Ondo. Olusegun Agagu, Spent 5.4 Billion Naira seven months earlier and presented a budget to the House for approval after the money was spent. Not only that, Agagu, gone without the approval of the House to invest the State fund in banks. He misappropriated money. The case had been reported to EFCC, nothing has happened. Chief Fawehinmi cannot deny that he knows that two members of Ekiti House of Assembly who refused to sign the impeachment notice are still in EFCC detention. Is this the democracy, Chief Gani Fawehinmi went to jail for? Is this the democracy, he fought for in 2003. Would this have happened if he had won the 2003 Presidential election?
Some of the Media executives who have eaten and dined with these “stealing” Governors are now calling them thieves too. Disgusting. Corruptio Optimi Pessima- Corruption of the Best is the Worst of all.
It is laughable to see Editors who built their houses courtesy of these Governors to now turn around and call them thieves. Some of these so-called principled editors are contractors. They even more corrupt than the Governors. I heard it from an authoritative source that one of these shameless Media Executives, was awarded the contract to sew the dress worn by the embattled Governor of Ekiti State on his swearing-in ceremony on May 29 2003. It is becoming increasingly dangerous when people who are supposed to lead the people are in actual fact part of the conspiracy to con them. They present themselves as friends of the masses and behind the scene; they go hand in cap to beg for hand outs. What is annoying is that poor Nigerians, believing these media people, still spend their meager pays to buy newspapers and magazines. The same media that publish 16-page Advertorial for Governors turn around to cal them Governor-do-nothing. The same media people who call some Governors nomadic governors end up benefiting from the Governor’s gift of equipments for their organization. Sure the poor Nigerians do not know that. They do not know too that those who sell magazines and newspaper to them are the same contractors who collect their trash weekly. The same media that sold all its copies to Nwude Emmanuel for 16 Million Naira in cash and bank draft and later turn around to call Nwude names after his arrest by Ribadu. This is not laughable, it is despicable.
Looking at Nigeria since 1999 May 29, I have not seen any changes. Is it still right to say that the worst civilian government is better than the best military government? Can we say this with Obasanjo democracy in mind? We have same looters as we have them under military, we see disregard to constitution. We have a President who does not respect his own Judiciary, but can respect the International Court of Justice over the Bakassi case. Would Obasanjo have agreed if he was asked to give Ipokia to the Republic of Benin? Would Atiku have kept quiet as he is doing now, if part of Adamawa is to go to Cameroon? Because Obasanjo is an Egba man he does not care if part of Cross River state goes to Cameroon. Not even the Governor of the State. Donald Duke could have objected because he wanted to remain in Obasanjo good book. He campaigned to the people of Cross River state and they voted for him, but he is more responsible to Obasanjo than the people who gave him their mandate.
According to the 1999 Constitution, the power to adjust the border is vested in the legislature not the Executive. And Obasanjo usurped the role of the Legislature to come to New York and sign away Bakassi to France. With the giving away of Bakassi, we have allowed France, not Cameroon to redefine international boundary for us and we talk of sovereignty? What jurisdiction does the International Court of Justice have over Nigeria? In the case of Argentina and Great Britain over the Falkland Island, Britain disregarded the United Nations and went to war to claim Falkland Island. The whole world watched it. To date, there has not been any Legislative pronouncement on the chopping off of Bakassi from Nigeria. Bakassi is a legal entity and the giving away of Bakassi is tantamount to a shameful defeat of the Nigerian sovereignty.
Now the Governor of Anambra State has got his own notice of impeachment. Why? When did Peter Obi replace Ngige? What is the difference between this dem-all-crazy and military government? Some people are above the law. A member of Delta State Assembly came to the US to buy houses when he was tired of buying in Nigeria. Okonta boasted of having 42 houses in Nigeria and bought one in Abuja for 15 Million Naira. (http://www.africananews.com/cover/200605/delta_assembly_members_in_us_vis.htm)
This is just a member of House of Assembly. What about Governors? And they are all members of the same party, Peoples Democratic Party. When the people of his constituency do not have electricity, no water, no good roads and many of them cannot afford to give their children qualitative education, one person has 42 houses! Now Honorable Okonta is using a front who lives in Bladensburg, Maryland to buy houses in America. You steal money from your state and country and take to another country. Your people don’t even benefit from it. You are helping another country’s economy while you kill yours. What kind of mentality is that?
Without fear of contradiction and I stand to be corrected that the one and half year of the Buhari/Idiagbon military dictatorship is far better than the seven and half years of Obasanjo civilian dictatorship.
To be continued….
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.