Lately, there has been increasing calls for the resignation or outright impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari. The grounds for the calls are his alleged non-performance in office and the scary state of security in Nigeria.
The recent call, which was first mooted by the Senate, is prompted by security breaches which the Federal Capital Territory suffered. Islamic terrorists successfully “rescued” their colleagues from the Kuje Correctional Facilities without suffering any loss.
Their actions forced the federal government to close down a number of schools in the FCT, they attacked the Presidential Guards Brigade at Bwari-Kubwa Road, killing seven members of the guard. The fact that terrorists and members of ISWAP could threaten to kidnap a sitting President and Governor, was the last straw that jolted members of the National Assembly from their slumber.
It suddenly dawned on them that Abuja was “surrounded” by terrorists! Al Jazeera reported that “Nigerian opposition senators are pushing for President Muhammadu Buhari to face impeachment, less than a year before the end of his second term in office, over the country’s spreading security problems.”
The earlier move by the Senate was scuttled by the Senate President when he closed the Senate Chamber for a recess. It however resurfaced in the House of Representatives where many members of the opposition party with a few members of the ruling APC threatened on July 27, 2022 that the President will be removed from office if the security situation in Nigeria did not improve within six weeks.
For the avoidance of doubt, by provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic (as amended) “impeachment” implies the outright sacking of the executive – governor or president – from office. Ideally, impeachment means a query for gross misconduct by these officers. Impeachment may therefore provide grounds for their removal from office. Since this is not so in Nigeria, impeachment is a serious matter.
In the Senate, for example, two-third of the 109 Senators will be required to get the President impeached. Given the seriousness of this process, and the constitutional bottlenecks it would entail, it is rational to ask why it has taken the legislators such a long time to perceive the failure of the federal government in the fight against terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, unknown gunmen, Boko Haram and ISWAP.
Many believe that the fight by the government against these criminals is half hearted. There have been heightened calls for self-defence.
Governors have set up various forms of local internal security units and some have gone on to advocate that citizens should bear arms to defend themselves.
It is generally believed that the NASS has only woken up because Abuja is no longer a safe haven for them. Their recent call is perceived to be a form of self-defence from a group of people that has been careless about thousands of Nigerians who have killed and displaced by these criminals let loose upon citizens like a plague on a cursed people.
It is our view that this move has come too late in the day. The NASS does not have sufficient time between now and the elections of 2023 to carry out the threat. The leadership of President Buhari cannot be scored high in the sectors of education, health, economy, corruption and security.
He has in the past taken measures that in normal circumstances would amount to gross misconduct. Nevertheless, members of the National Assembly looked the other way. It is the general opinion of citizens that the President and his team should be led out of the scene with the 2023 election like a drunkard in a china store.
Carrying out any action that would upset the democratic processes in Nigeria would be more damaging. Attempts to impeach the President amounts to this! And this is exactly what this impeachment portends.
We call on the leadership of the APC, members of the National Assembly to rather pressure President Buhari’s government to do all it can to put the economy in a better stead, solve the ongoing crisis in the education sector, annihilate all internal threats to the lives and property of the indigenous people of Nigeria, tackle the food crisis and put a check to what is becoming a run-away inflation.
The National Assembly cannot play ostrich or Pilate on these scores. They cannot exonerate themselves by threatening the President – who is as guilty as they are – with impeachment.