– The Sun News
CONSTITUTIONAL ABERRATION

Constitutional aberration in Benue State

The attempt by eight members of the Benue State House of Assembly to impeach Governor Samuel Ortom, simply because he defected to the PDP nothing but a constitutional aberration.

Robert Obioha

Two issues that are uppermost in my mind today are the constitutional aberration in Benue State represented by the feeble attempt by some legislators to impeach the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, and the impeachment of the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere, by Imo State House of Assembly.

READ ALSO: Impeachment: My life in danger – Madumere

Although Benue and Owerri incidents are not exactly the same, one thread that linked them is politics. Another issue that should have engaged my attention today is the gale of defections from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Although in my column of last week which dwelt on happenings in APC, I predicted that more defections will occur. Even today, I still hold to that view because the wind of change is still blowing and nothing whatsoever can stop it.It is like a moving train or a striking thunder, nobody can say no to it. The defection drama is becoming so interesting. It has so many episodes. It is like the transfer season in Premier League where utility players are transferred from their clubs to other clubs at a higher pay. It appears that the PDP has poached all the utility political players in APC in preparation for the 2019 season and epic political match which will be mainly between the APC and the PDP.

READ ALSO: APC stung by bees that swarm around PDP

Prior to the 2015 season match, the APC bought all the utility players from the PDP and won the trophy. Today, the opposite is happening to the APC and the club is losing its key players in droves to the now beautiful bride, the PDP. The fans are daily being entertained by the high political drama. Nollywood people will soon dabble into the drama with many versions that piracy would never allow them recoup their investments. We shall return to the commentary box next week to give you update on the unfolding political match and its drama.

The attempt by eight members of the Benue State House of Assembly to impeach Governor Samuel Ortom, simply because he recently defected to the PDP after being given a red card by the APC, is nothing but a constitutional aberration. It is good that a High Court in Makurdi has stopped the impeachment of Ortom. The court has restrained the eight suspended members of the Benue State House of Assembly from going ahead to impeach the governor. What is happening to Ortom cannot be divorced from the tone and texture of Benue politics. His defection to the PDP might have annoyed some political actors who recruited the eight lawmakers to do what borders on unconstitutionality.

READ ALSO: Tension in Benue as 8 APC lawmakers take over Benue Assembly, serve Ortom impeachment notice

Impeachment of a governor is allowed under the 1999 Nigerian Constitution but it must be done in accordance with due process. What the eight lawmakers intended to do in Benue smacks of impunity and utter lawlessness. Using impeachment as a tool to settle political scores will not help this nascent democracy. The security agents should help to stabilize the polity as well as those that control them. What happened in Benue contravenes Section 188 (1-11) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended). In the same vein, the impeachment of Imo State Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere, an ally and buddy of the Governor, Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha, though linked with the 2019 politics in the state, cannot be said to have passed all the requirements before a deputy governor is impeached.

That may explain why the courts have halted the swearing-in of another deputy governor until all issues on the matter are resolved. The no love lost situation between two erstwhile friends and business partners or mentor and mentee is part and parcel of Nigerian politics. It is not good for our politics and business relationships. It is not even good for communal existence.

READ ALSO: I stopped swearing-in of new dep. gov. – Okorocha

Even though the number of lawmakers required to carry out such impeachment is met, there are other issues that make it untidy including an order of court to halt the exercise. Nigerian politicians should play the game according to the rules. Politics should never be a do or die game. Our politics should be clothed with morality and good conscience.

The essence of our politics should be to better the society. It should be weaned of selfish motives that fuel the present political crises in some states of the country. Lawmakers should also help to make this democracy work. Nobody is against the impeachment of any politician but in doing so, let the laid down procedures be followed.

Any impeachment that violates the provisions of Section 188 (1-11) of the 1999 Constitution already cited is null and void. Let our politicians settle their political differences without overheating the polity.

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Re: The scattering of the brooms

Dear Obioha, Refer to your well written article in the Daily Sun of July 27, 2018 entitled “The scattering of the brooms,” in which you said, among other things, that “The PVC is the only power you have to elect into office leaders of your choice.” Good thinking! But really!What of if the results of the election are manufactured at the collating centres or higher centers or the card readers are configured to give different outcome or if secret voting is turned to open “see and pay” voting or outsiders, foreigners are given PVCs to vote or if certain regions are highly favoured during the registration or pre-registration of voters? Many possibilities!

Briggs. I.

Dear Robert, No brooms are being scattered. Rather the chaff is being separated from the wheat.

08087106875

This is the defining moment in Nigerian politics. This is another June 12 when beyond ethnicity and religious divides, Nigerians are saying one thing. It is like Nigeria in a football match against another country.

Anonymous

Good morning Mr. Robert. With reference to your article entitled, “The scattering of the brooms,” my contribution is that we are now in very uncertain times.

What is truly certain these days is uncertainty itself. The current politicians’ drama is not for our sake. It is all for theirs. Please, ask those politicians to return to APC with immediate effect.

Uncertainty being high on the political agenda, APC may still be returned after all. And you know that APC and PDP are not made of non-Nigerians of people from the moon.

The current ‘scramble for food’ is the in-thing of every election period.

Barrister Edet Essien, Calabar

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Re: Caging the watchdog

Good evening, Mr. Obioha. I just read your column in which you accused the APC of muzzling the Press by sponsoring the new Press Council Bill. You are wrong. It is a private member’s Bill, sponsored by a PDP Senator from Nassarawa State.

Garba Shehu, State House, Abuja

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Tokunbo David
Tokunbo David

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