Monday, July 23, 2012

NIGERIA: More Trouble For PRSIDENT JONATHAN As Impeachment Plot Thickens

THE impeachment plot against President Goodluck Jonathan thickened yesterday, with some senators reportedly teaming up with their House of Representatives’ counterparts on the project.

The senators met with some representatives in Abuja, at the weekend, on the budget row with the executive, it was learnt yesterday.

But the Presidency is imputing motives to the House’ move against Dr. Jonathan.

A presidential aide alleged that the House is angry because the executive rejected its demand for the execution of what was described as some “bogus” constituency projects.

The aide also accused Speaker Aminu Tambuwal of using the House as a platform for his supposed 2015 presidential project.

Last Thursday, the House threatened the president with impeachment over what it called “poor implementation” of the budget.

It gave him up till September 30 to ensure “full implementation” of the fiscal policy or “we will start drafting articles of impeachment”.

Sources said the senators joined forces with the representatives because both chambers (Senate and House) must work together on impeachment in line with constitutional provisions.

According to Section 143 (1): 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 signed by not less one-third of the members of the National Assembly:

(a) is presented to the President of the Senate;

(b) 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 of which shall be specified.

At plenary last Thursday, the House accused the president of “gross misconduct” for alleged poor implementation of the budget.

A senator told The Nation in confidence: “Some of us have met with some members of the House of Representatives to tell them that we are in support of their action.

“The battle is not that of the House alone, it is for the National Assembly. Let Mr. President take his time to gauge the feeling of all senators, he will know that they are not happy with his administration on the poor implementation of the budget.

“As a chamber, the Senate has passed many resolutions too which the president has not implemented. We considered the reports on Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) and pension fraud but the government just kept quiet as if we are in the Senate as spectators.

“I can tell you that there are sufficient grounds to initiate impeachment process against the President.”

Another senator said: “The Presidency will be making a great mistake to bank on the Senate for reprieve if the House is adamant to actualise its impeachment threat.

“On security ground alone, the impeachment proceedings will succeed. We are all tired of the high-level of insecurity in the country.

“So, it is in the interest of the executive to implement the budget as directed by the House instead of glossing over last Thursday’s resolution of the House.”

Yet another senator said: “We will use this recess to consolidate our plans on what to do if the President does not address the budget implementation target.

“We all felt insulted that the president also recalled the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms Arunma Oteh, in spite of issues surrounding her tenure.

“Nigerians should appreciate that even if the Senate maintains a parallel position, senators and representatives will eventually hold a joint session where votes will count equally. With the numerical strength of the House, any motion can sail through at the joint sitting.”

A high-ranking member of the House said the overwhelming support for the ultimatum given to the President should be a signal that there is a communication gap between the executive and the House.

“Not even members of the House from the Southsouth could rally round the executive. That has confirmed that we all saw the Nigerian Project beyond ethnicity. It also showed the waning influence of the President in the National Assembly.

“As a matter of fact, the motion on the budget was drafted by a member of the House from the Southsouth. The member was determined to move the motion openly but for tactical reasons, the House leadership decided otherwise. The country is not moving forward, we are unhappy.

“We have opened up talks with some senators on the way forward. I think constitutionally, we can find a solution to the challenges at hand in the country. We have our game plan.”

“Some senators and House members are also meeting in the United Kingdom and United States during the vacation on this game plan.”

But the President’s aide, who called our correspondent on the telephone said: “The House members are plotting against the president because the Executive is circumspect on the implementation of their bogus constituency projects padded in the 2012 budget.

“So, the noise itself has selfish motive undertone, it has nothing to do with concern for the masses.

“Also, from available reports, the Speaker is said to be interested in the 2015 presidency. He is, therefore, using the House as a platform to feather his own nest.

“By the time members of the House will realise that they are being used, it will be too late in the day.”

The source was confident that the impeachment threat will not succeed.

“I can tell you that this government is a responsible one and it has done its best to implement the budget. When Nigerians see the budget report card, they will be shocked that the House was just crying wolf.”


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