Feelers from the House of Representatives indicate that the plot to impeach President Goodluck Jonathan has continued to gather momentum, as the number of the lawmakers who have appended their signatures on the impeachment notice has risen to 168 yesterday.
People’s Daily had Thursday reported that 120 lawmakers had signed to support the plot to oust President Jonathan, but a source revealed that as at yesterday, the number had significantly increased to 168.
The plot to impeach the President started as a reaction to the alleged growing impunity by the Federal Government, with the recent incident that took place at the National Assembly, where lawmakers were tear gassed by the police who barred the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal from entering the chambers.
Checks also indicated that the plot has now spread to the Senate, and that growing number of Senators are said to be enthusiastic to team up with the Reps to get the President removed..
The source who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the President has breached and violated the 1999 constitution and is therefore liable to be impeached under section 143 of the constitution. “I want to hereby submit that, come December 3 we will begin to invoke and draw up articles of impeachment of Mr. President”, he declared
Asked why the House decided to impeach the President now, when he was alleged to have committed impeachable offenses in the past. The lawmaker said, the House has long before the issue of Tambuwal came up, been collecting signatures, but it was only heightened because of what transpired at the House.
“I want to assure you that we are committed this time around and no amount of blackmail or intimidation would cow us to abdicate our constitutional responsibility, which we signed with our employers the (Nigerian people) to stand firm and protect their interest, what is more interesting is that majority of the lawmakers that signed the impeachment notice are members of the PDP.”
Another source said the leaders have been meeting to plan how to convince and win other senators to buy into and support the pro-impeachment lawmakers. He further disclosed that things will get clearer by Tuesday 25 November, 2014, when the Senate is expected to resume plenary.
Reacting, House Deputy Minority Leader, Rep Leo Ogor (PDP Delta) explained that the issue of impeachment in respect of this subject matter is totally inconsequential. “I don’t think Mr. President has anything to do with what happened. I believe that the president should be totally isolated from this matter.
“If for any reason anybody wants to talk about impeachment, that person should come out and address the issue. But I can tell you categorically that an attempt to raise the issue of impeachment in respect of the House, it’s going be a very difficult one, because the President has not committed any offence against anybody in that House, neither has he violated any constitutional provision.
“The issue of impeachment is inconsequential because he who is alleging must be ready to prove. You can’t just come and say you want to impeach without having anything to prove against the President. As far as I’m concerned, it’s inconsequential; it has nothing to do under the subject matter.
On the alleged plot to impeach the Speaker by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers, Rep Ogor said “this issue of impeachment, I’ve always looked at it from a constitutional point of view. To impeach a speaker, you will need 2/3 majority of the House. But beyond that is the issue of moral burden. And I’ve told you categorically that the issue will be discussed internally.
“We will use the mechanism of the House to discuss it. Clearly as you know, PDP voted for the Speaker. He was a PDP man when he became the Speaker. It is already a known norm that the Speaker is always produced by the Party with the majority in the House at any given time. We have to handle the issue and definitely, we will address to the satisfaction of every Nigerian.
“Section 143 (1) of the constitution stipulates that the President or Vice President may be removed from office in accordance with the provision of this section (2), whenever a notice of any allegation in writing by not less than one-third of the members of the National Assembly is presented to the President of the Senate, stating that the holder of the office of President or Vice President is guilty of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office. Detailed particulars shall be specified.” Ogor explained.
Efforts to get the reaction of the Presidency was not successful, as calls and text messages sent to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe’s mobile phone were not responded.