From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC),Vice president, Comrade Issa Aremu has expressed fears over an alleged involvement of President Goodluck Jonathan in the impeachment of opposition party governors.
Aremu noted that, even though some of affected might been reckless, their removal must not be done at the peak of election and campaign.
The labour leader, who spoke with journalists in Ilorin, said, “Some of them are known for recklessness; a lot of Executive impunity. A good number of them engage in self-help for themselves rather than public service for their people. Of course, there are some governors that have also performed, who endeared themselves to the electorate in their respective states; but whatever the case maybe, even if we don’t like any governor, I think it is important if we want to sustain democracy, we must allow for sanctity of tenure.
“Our Constitution is clear: a governor that is been elected has the mandate to be in office for four years, after which we go for election. If the electorate wants him or her, he or she is given another mandate for four years; if the electorate don’t want the elected governor, they can vote him out.
“I think it is important we work towards sanctity of mandate. It is also true that our constitution makes provision for impeachment where there are gross misconduct, violation and so on but for goodness sake, we must make sure that the process of impeachment is seen to be transparent and to reflect the true spirit of the constitution.
“The danger that we are having at hand is increasingly, impeachment clause is being politicised; the perception is that it is becoming a tool for continuation of politics through the other means”, he stated.
“Some governors have been removed before from judicial pronouncements arising from issues dealing with election. Now we have also seen some governors being threatened with impeachment, in which parties that have majority in the House just use the clout to remove governors; I think this is not healthy for our democratic process.
“What I am saying here is that, we must make the point that election and struggle for power should be based on contest of ideas, policies not conquest of personalities however well positioned and the one that is worrisome to me is the one of Nasarawa.
“The impeachment notice was served just at the time the President who comes from another party was visiting the state. I mean we should not give it the impression that the President is using his office to torment a governor in an opposition state, I don’t think this is the intention of the President.
“What I am saying is, even the timing alone makes it to be suspicious; the President is the elected President. Currently, he is our President; he has the right to relate with elected governors, but he cannot relate with you when as he is arriving at the state, the governor’s job is being threatened.
“I want President Jonathan to use his office to re-direct our political discourse along the line of statesmanship. He has done it before and I think he can do it again. Several times, he was threatened with impeachment and Nigerians stood up to say no.
“Why the hurry? Elections are just around the corner. So if we don’t want a state governor to be in the office, we can as well allow the electorate to get rid of them.
“As I said, I am not a fan of any of these governors; some of them have anti-labour records, they don’t pay the wages as at when due, they pay miserable pay, they indulge in self-help, they even leave their job pursuing politics all over but however we must be fair to them that only the electorate that put them there have the right to remove them otherwise, we distort the whole spirit and content of impeachment clauses””, the NLC chieftain further said.