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Published On: Fri, Aug 8th, 2014

It’s Jonathan that should be impeached

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President Goodluck JonathanBy Tochukwu Ezukanma

With the story of his life, especially, that seemingly miraculous rise to power, Goodluck Jonathan won the love and admiration of so many Nigerians. Nigerians saw him as a man thrust forth by Providence to usher in a new era of good governance and reform Nigeria of her lawless, corrupt and disreputably past. With his professed firsthand experience of poverty and deprivation, he was expected to empathize with the economic plight of the Nigerian masses and appreciate their hunger for a good life and longing for social justice. And thus, will advance policies responsive to the legitimate aspirations of the, for long, debased and despised, but placid and endlessly patient, Nigerian masses.

Unfortunately, the Goodluck Jonathan presidency disappointed these expectations; he, essentially, set the country on a retrograde gradation. And the country’s manifold problems continue to worsen. In his refusal to take responsibilities for his ineptness and litany of political blunders, he blames his problems on evil forces plotting to bring down his government. No evil force, no matter how powerful and resourceful, can successfully undermine him without his having first betrayed the trust reposed on him by the people. The country’s increasing woes stem not from any evil force scheming against the president, but from the president’s abdication of the moral and constitutional responsibilities of his office.

His administration wobbles under its own weight of corruption and ineptitude, with their inescapable consequences of deepening poverty, increasing unemployment, dysfunctional institutions, societal disorder and frightening scale of insecurity. Therefore, it is most likely that Nigerians will vote out Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 general election. But, hell-bent on being re-elected to a second term and restoring to his mentor’s “do or die” politics, he is out to decapitate the major political opposition party, All Progressive Congress (APC), before the 2015 election. Through proxies, the presidency and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are spearheading the impeachments of APC governors for offenses that are, by Nigeria political standards, prosaic.

The Adamawa State governor, Murtala Nyako, was recently impeached by the PDP dominated Adamawa House of Assembly for offenses that most other governors, members of National Executive Council, and even the president are all guilty of. Constitutional experts bemoaned the unconstitutionality of aspects of the process leading up to the impeachment. There is a line up of other APC state governors slated for impeachment. The axe of impeachment is poised to strike next on Governor Tanko al Makura of Nasarawa state. The Nasarawa PDP dominated House of Assembly has received it marching orders from Abuja and is readying to impeach the governor. Generally, the PDP governors, are not, by any stretch of the imagination, more law abiding, financially honest or responsible to their oath of office than APC governors. So, this impeachment galore targeting only APC governors is a gaudy partisan gimmickry aimed at eviscerating the opposition before the 2015 general elections. In these impeachment shenanigans, the presidency is trifling with a solemn and weighty provision of the Nigerian constitution not intended for such reckless and selfish use.

More than any other elected official in Nigeria, it is Goodluck Jonathan that deserves to be impeached. He is culpable of many impeachable offenses, especially, corruption and dereliction – failure to uphold a fundamental aspect of his oath of office (secure the lives and property of Nigerians) and disdain for the sensibilities and lives of Nigerians. Under his presidency, official corruption heightened: government officials became exceedingly brazen in their misappropriation and outright theft of public funds. This impairs the efficiencies of Nigerians institutions, including the armed forces. Once universally acclaimed for that low budget but highly effective military expeditions that restored order and kept the peace in troubled West African countries, the Nigerian military is now a tottering reflection of its former self. Hobbled by corruption and lack of motivation, it attracts international ridicule for its bungled and dispirited fight against Boko Haram terrorists.

Obsessed with his personal agendas and political ambitions, the president sees every national issue through the distorted prisms of partisan politics; this is also disastrously militating against the war on terror. As the repository of the powers of her government, the embodiment of her will and personification of her hopes, it is unconscionable for him to detach himself from the country’s collective mood and prevailing sentiments. In times of national tragedy and grief, he must be inextricably bound to the shared gloom. Romping around at a political rally in Kano a day after the first terrorist bombing of Nyanya and the kidnapping of about 250 Chibok school girls, he cut the image of Nero, who fiddled as Rome burnt. It was an egregious display of contempt for the susceptibilities and lives of Nigerians. It was seen as a powerful testament to his lack of sympathy for the victims of terror and their families and utter disregard for the feelings and lives of Nigerians. He continues to evince the same contemptuous indifference to the sensibilities and lives of Nigerians by his refusal to visit Chibok, after more than 100 days of the abduction of the Chibok girls, and his decision to meet with some of the parents of the Chibok girls at the prodding of a 17 year Pakistani girl. Within a few days of the Chibok abduction, the president should have visited Chibok to sympathize, console and encourage the affected families and the entire community.

The Nigerian federal constitution states that a president can be impeached from his office for “gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office”. President Goodluck Jonathan is guilty of gross misconduct, especially, in his conduct of the war against corruption and terror.

Tochukwu Ezukanma via maciln18


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