Impeachment Move: Beyond insecurity, President Buhari should table broader explanations before NASS

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Recent concerns over the State-of-the-Nation is moving to the level of reservations of belligerent reactions,  particularly to the extent of the calls for the resignation of the number one citizen presiding over the affairs of Nigeria. Last week, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus of the House of Representatives had called on members of the Green Chamber, to commence impeachment proceedings against President Muhammadu Buhari, arguing that he is incapable of continuing as the leader of the Country. The PDP lawmakers in the Green Chamber, had called on members of the President’s cabinet to declare him incapacitated, invoking section 144 of the 1999 constitution, which provides that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government;…”

The caucus “wants Nigerians to compel their representatives in the National Assembly to immediately commence impeachment proceedings against President Muhammadu Buhari for gross incompetence and persistent and continuous breach of Section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution. The PDP caucus also wants members of the Federal Executive Council to invoke the provisions of Section 144 (1) of the Constitution by declaring that the President is incapable of discharging the functions of the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Section provides ‘The President or Vice-President shall cease to hold office, if – by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of all the members of the executive council of the Federation, it is declared that the President or Vice-President is incapable of discharging the functions of his office’.”

Leader of the PDP caucus, Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers) in a statement last Saturday, reacting to the recent killing of farmers in Zambarmari area of Borno state, had lamented that the reactions of the Presidency and the military to such killings “highlight a certain crassness and lame duck attitude that has for the past five years come to define the Buhari presidency.”

The statement had read partly: “It was disheartening to the PDP Caucus that the President has failed to lead Nigerians from the front as he promised. Nigerians are daily and defencelessly killed by terrorists and bandits, while the economy is being freely bleed by public officers. The body language of the government is worrisome as it emboldens terrorists in the country, the greater worries for the country however, is the do-nothing posturing and the effeminate reactions of the presidency and the military that follow the dastardly attacks. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the House of Representatives have observed with deep pain the dastardly attacks on poor farmers which have continued unabated across the vast swathes of northern Nigeria, which act came to a sad climax over the weekend in Zabarmari, near Maiduguri, north east Nigeria. The attacks continue to take a consistent pattern – a pattern that results in mass deaths and emboldens the insurgents to embark on more spectacular attacks that provide them national and global attention. While the emboldening of terrorists remain sources of worry, the greater worries for us is the do-nothing posturing and the effeminate reactions of the presidency and the military that follow the dastardly attacks. The reactions of the presidency and the military highlight a certain crassness and lame duck attitude that has for the past five years come to define the Buhari presidency. Northern Nigeria has long become the vortex of massacres. From Buni Yadi, Gamboru, Baga, Gwoza, Shiroro, Konduga, Kawuri, Southern Kaduna to Benue and certainly everywhere else in Nigeria, lives are being snatched by insurgents, bandits and kidnappers who have no respect for the sanctity of life. While President Buhari idles in the typical fashion of Emperor Nero as our country burns. Questions must be asked about his capacity to lead at a time that our country desires robust and responsible leadership that can pull it from the brink and rescue it from the debilitions of insurgents, terrorists, bandits and kidnappers. President Buhari is unwilling, (as it consistently appears,) to provide leadership to our fast collapsing country. Rather than take the proverbial bull by the horn, President Buhari ensconces himself in Aso Rock, typical of a Mourner-in-Chief, and issues press statements that make no meaning to a grieving nation. A true leader who is worth every ounce of respect leads from the front as you assured Nigerians that you will do; a true leader doesn’t hide away from those he leads and pretends to mourn with the circus, whilst in fact, he lacks empathy and compassion. When a country elects a clown as its President based on sentiments and deceit, the country becomes saddled with circus, pantomime jesters who reduce statecraft to utter joke. Our country is in the grips of the clowns, hyenas and the circus is on. We need to rescue Nigeria from the clowns, acrobats, trapeze actors, hawks and hyenas manipulating the statecraft. As Vice-president Yemi Osibanjo SAN tweeted ‘if the President says I’ve lost the capacity to guarantee the security of lives and property, it’s certainly an impeachable offence’. Most painful is that whilst leadership is completely absent in Nigeria and the country dovetailing to a state of survival of the fittest, the economy is being fleeced in an unprecedented manner by public office holders.”

Constructive criticisms against deficiencies when particularly the performance of a government falls short of the expectations of people and is incomparably not near the promises made during campaigns, remain germane to a system subscribing to the democratic mode of governance. This constitute an integral stimulant for the principle of accountability and responsiveness to have their course as significant tenets of a democratic system. It is essential for the Presidency to see the call for resignation owing to perceived incapacity in addressing compounding challenges in the Country, as a necessity that demands brilliant explanations for Nigerians to consider.

It is therefore paramount that Nigerians be given elaborate explanations to justify why they should continue to tolerate and/or  render their support for the legitimacy bestowed  on the present administration. News that President  Buhari will this Thursday address a joint session of the National Assembly on efforts by his government to address the confusing security challenges bewildering the country, came up on Monday. This was disclosed by the Personal Assistant to the President on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, in a message on her Twitter handle, @Laurestar. The message read: “President @MBuhari will address a joint session of the National Assembly (@nassnigeria) on Thursday, December 10, 2020.”

This is trailing the call by the House of Representatives made last week Tuesday on the President to appear on the floor of the Green Chamber to offer an explanation on the rising spate of insecurity in the country, and the Senate’s outburst for the sack of service chiefs. It is essential for the President to appear in person before the National Assembly to address Nigerians reasonably to explain the reason for the Government’s ineptitudeness to justify the reason why the call for his resignation should be discountenanced by the masses. Upon appearance before the joint legislative chamber, it is instructive for the President beyond security challenges, to present before Nigerians explanations for several other national troubles bewildering the Federation across board. This is paramount to demonstrate the sense of responsiveness to the masses who elected the present government, and therefore deserve explanations for the prevailing conditions which in all ways fall below their expectations and trust bestowed on the present government at the inception of the administration. It is clear that the prevailing State-of-the-Nation now presents a more horrible look compared to the situation as at the time the present administration was elected into office. Such worsened condition betrays the expectations of the electorates who gave their mandate to the present administration based on expectations to make things better. While situations have gone the contrary, the same electorates deserve to be presented with reasonable and constructive explanations.

Upon appearance before the National Assembly, it is important for the Joint Chamber to address matters fairly, holistically and objectively without political bias and myopic posture of ethnic and religious sentiments. Walking along the path of such lines of cleavages are primordial settlements that carry every capacity to defeat the desired purpose, which is highly counterproductive to national interest as well as the yearnings to salvage the entire Federation from the darkened clouds of catastrophe.