Monday, 11th December 2023

Impeachment, penalty for failure and incompetence

By Eric Teniola
15 August 2022   |   2:31 am
Since we started operating the Presidential System of government in 1979, no Nigerian President has been impeached. But seven governors have been impeached so far.

Since we started operating the Presidential System of government in 1979, no Nigerian President has been impeached. But seven governors have been impeached so far. 

The former Kaduna state Governor, Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa (21 August 1936 – 11 November 2020), then of the Peoples Redemption Party was impeached on the 23rd June, 1981. He was unable to form a cabinet before his impeachment. He eventually handed over to Alhaji Abba Musa Rimi. On January 12, 2006, Chief Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja (77), the former governor of Oyo state, was impeached by 18 Oyo state House of Assembly members. He challenged his impeachment, and on November 1, 2006, the Appeal Court in Ibadan reinstated him, declaring the process of his impeachment null and void. But he would not resume office until the Supreme Court upheld the decision on November 11, 2009, and Ladoja officially resumed office on December 12, 2006. 

The present Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi (61) fondly called “OKWUTE”— ROCK, was Chairman of Fidelity Bank before he ventured into politics in 2003. He was elected governor of Anambra state thereafter. He was impeached on November 2, 2006, by the Anambra state House of Assembly headed by Mr. Mike Balonwu for gross misconduct. The majority leader in the Anambra House of Assembly then was Chief Humphrey Nsofor. President Obasanjo at that time intervened on the issue. He even sent the PDP National Chairman, Chief Ahmadu Ali and the secretary of the party, Chief Ojo Madueke to Awka to plead with the members of the Anambra House of Assembly. 

He challenged his impeachment and was reinstated by the Supreme Court in February 2007. Mr. Joshua Chibi Dariye (65) was governor of Plateau state from May 29, 1999 to May 18, 2004 until he was impeached on November 13, 2006. His deputy, Michael Botmang, became the new governor. On March 10, 2007, after a Court of Appeal ordered Dariye reinstated as governor, the Plateau State Government announced its intention to appeal to the Supreme Court.

On 27 April 2007, the Supreme Court refused the appeal of the Plateau State Government and ordered the reinstatement of Dariye with immediate effect.

Following his reinstatement, Dariye’s term of office as Governor of Plateau State concluded on 29 May 2007. Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha (DSP) (16 November 1952 – 10 October 2015) was Governor of Bayelsa State from 29 May 1999 to 9 December 2005. He was impeached on the 9th December, 2005. 

Chief Peter Ayodele Fayose (61), the former Governor of Ekiti State, became the second governor of Ekiti on May 29, 2003 after defeating the incumbent Governor, Niyi Adebayo in the gubernatorial elections. Fayose could not complete his tenure as a result of an impeachment on October, 16 2006.

During the 2014 Ekiti State gubernatorial election, Fayose was again the PDP nominee. He won the election and was declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission as the new Governor of Ekiti State; he was inaugurated on October 16, 2014. Fayose is now the only Nigerian governor to defeat an incumbent two times.

Admiral Murtala Hamman-Yero Nyako (80)(rtd.) was elected Executive Governor of Adamawa State, Nigeria, taking office in May 2007. Prior to then, he served in the Navy, at one time being military governor of Niger State, and being appointed Chief of Naval Staff in December 1989. 

On July 15, 2014 the governor was impeached as the state House of Assembly deliberated on the report of an investigative panel that probed allegations of financial misconduct against him. The report found the governor guilty of all the 16 allegations of gross misconduct leveled against him by the House.

On February 11, 2016 the Federal Court of Appeal declared the impeachment null and void and ordered that all his entitlements accrued from the date of impeachment be paid to him. The judgment was upheld on December 16, 2016 by the Supreme Court of Nigeria but declined to reinstate him.

Only two Presidents have been threatened with impeachment. The first was President Olusegun Obasanjo (85), GCFR, in September 2002 and now President Muhammadu Buhari (79), GCFR.

On August 8, 2002, a meeting was held at the Nicon Noga Hilton Hotel, Abuja. It was a caucus meeting of the members of the PDP House of Representatives. On August 13, 2002, the House of Representatives served impeachment notice on President Olusegun Obasanjo with seventeen allegations. The House was presided over by Alhaji Ghali Umar Na’Abba (64) from Tudun Wada Constituency in Kano state. 

On the instruction of my then boss, Chief Ufot Ekaette (1939-2019), Secretary to the Government of the Federation, I obtained copies of the resolution from the Clerk of the House of Representatives then, Chief Oluyemi Ogunyomi (GBOGURUM), a close friend of mine, who is now the Asiwaju of Ilaje in Ondo state. Chief Ogunyemi, who later became the Clerk of the National Assembly before his retirement, gave me copies of the resolution. I gave one to Chief Ekaette and another one to Chief Tunji Oseni (January 5, 1943- 29 November, 2004), who was then the Spokesman to President Obasanjo. Myself and Chief Oseni drove to THE VILLA that night to meet with President Obasanjo, who saw a copy of the resolution first time from Chief Oseni.

President Obasanjo later summoned the then Chairman of the PDP, Chief Audu Ogbeh (75), Alhaji Adamu Ciroma (November 20 1934 – 5 July 2018) and Chief Tony Anenih (4 August 1933 – 28 October 2018) for an urgent meeting. With President Obasanjo that night were his personal assistant, Bodunde Adeyanju from Ado Ekiti, Chief Olabode Ibiyinka George (76), the former Military Governor of Ondo State now Ekiti and Ondo States combined, my former boss, who was then Chairman of PDP South West, Professor Babalola Aborisade (7 March 1946- 26 April, 2017) from Usi Ekiti, who was then a Minister, Chief Stephen Olakunle Bakare of Oluwalogbon Motors and other top government officials. President Obasanjo’s special assistant, Taiwo Ojo from Igbo Ora, made frantic telephone calls throughout that night. 

I left THE VILLA that night around 3a.m. with Chief Tunji Oseni. President Obasanjo made persistent calls on the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Chief Christopher Kolade that night. Chief Oseni later made me a member of the three-man media committee which he coordinated to reply to the allegations of the House of Representatives. 

The allegations are 1. That sometime between the months of April and July, 2002, the President purportedly amended the Capital Provisions of the 2002 Appropriation Act by reducing the Capital budget to 44% without forwarding the said amendments to the National Assembly for passage in violation of Section 80(4) of the 1999, Constitution which acts amounts to gross misconduct.
To be continued tomorrow