Indications have emerged that the plot to impeach President Goodluck Jonathan by the House of Representatives has again suffered a setback following alleged disappearance of the purported list of the lawmakers’ signatures meant to impeach the President.
People’s Daily had earlier reported last year that the number of lawmakers that signed to support the plot to oust President Jonathan had risen to 174, about the two third number required by law to effect the impeachment.
The plot started as a reaction to the alleged growing impunity by the Federal Government following an incident that took place at the National Assembly, where lawmakers were tear gassed by the police who also barred the Speaker Aminu Tambuwal from entering the chambers.
A lawmaker who spoke on condition of anonymity said he was surprise that upon resumption from Christmas and New Year break, he was unable to find the impeachment list of signatures he initiated, even after asking for it.
“Initially I was the one that initiated the impeachment list so that members who were in support of it could sign, but surprisingly when we came back from break, that list was nowhere to be found. And even when I asked for it to be returned to me, I couldn’t see it up till now,” he said.
Asked why the impeachment move now, when elections are only a few weeks away, he said the President has committed impeachable offenses in the past. The lawmaker said the House has long before the issue of Tambuwal been collecting signatures, but it was only heightened because of the despicable treatment of the lawmakers by the police, allegedly at the instance of the president..
Also reacting Rep Ali Ahmad (APC Kwara), however dismissed the allegation that the House has abandoned the impeachment proceeding against the President, saying the move is still on course and that the lawmakers are determined to execute it.
“Just because we have not officially brought the matter before the House does not mean that the matter is dead. We are very much on course especially now that he (Jonathan), now has minority in the House, the impeachment is going to be much more easier now than before,” he said.
When asked whether it not be better to shelve their plan now that the House is on break and will not resume till after elections, he replied, “what matters to us is certain provision of the constitution was breached. We don’t care whether he wins or loses the election, we are not backing down. The impeachment itself has a life of its own”, he said.
“I want to assure you that we are committed to it 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 were members of the PDP.
Reacting, House Deputy Minority Leader, Rep Leo Ogor (PDP Delta) said “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, its inconsequential, it has nothing to do under the subject matter.
Meanwhile, efforts to reach the spokesman of the House Rep Zakari Mohammed failed as at the time of filling in this report. All his mobile phone numbers were switched off and his deputy, Rep Afarm Ogene could not retun his call or reply to our text massage.
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) whatever 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 starting 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.