- Some SANs have warned APC against using force to impeach NASS presiding officers
- They advised the party to seek court explanation
- They also called for respect for the position of the constitution on the issue
Words of caution have been sent to the All Progressives Congress (APC) by some Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), warning the ruling party against using force in its bid to impeach the principal officers of the National Assembly.
The Punch reports that the SANs, in an interview with journalists, warned that any external plot to force the principal officers out besides the normal constitutional process will not result into a meaningful solution.
Legit.ng notes that since Senate President Bukola Saraki and Honorable Speaker Yakubu Dogara defected from the APC with some members of the two chambers, there have been indications that the Oshiomhole-led APC has not ceased efforts to impeach the ruling officers of the Assembly.
They claimed that members of minority cannot continue to lead the assembly dominated by the majority APC members.
But the SANs, in their words, noted that it is through the procedures laid by the 1999 constitution operated in the country that both Saraki and Dogara can be forced out of office.
One of the lawyers, Paul Ananaba, (SAN) said: “The issue of resignation is left to an individual to decide whether he wants to resign or not. Impeachment has a procedure in the constitution. So, nobody should put pressure on them since they are not infants. Saraki and Dogara are knowledgeable enough to know what impeachment or resignation means.
“If anyone feels that they should resign and they have not resigned, the person should head to court, not to put them under pressure. There is no provision of law requiring them to resign or leave their seats because they left one party for another.
“In any case, there are crises in the political parties, which in themselves are sufficient grounds for defection.
“What I will say is that it lies with the members of the National Assembly to decide on their own to take any actions against their presiding officers, not outsiders.
“The chairman of the APC (Adams Oshiomhole) is not a member of the National Assembly. All he says is his mere opinion, which is not binding on members of the National Assembly.”
Another SAN, Bayo Raji, opined that APC needed to consult the court for an explanation on if defection to another political party by the National Assembly's presiding officers should warrant stepping down from their positions.
He said: "If there is a division (in the political parties) and depending on the decision of the court, then there is no basis for calling for resignation or impeachment. But, if there is no division, call for resignation or removal may be justified.
“However, this is a presidential system of government, where there is really no carpet to cross as we have in a parliamentary system. In a parliamentary system, losing of the majority in parliament may bring the government to an end, but not so in the presidential system that we practise here.
“In any case, why is it that members of the Executive, like the governors, can cross to other parties as they wish but the lawmakers can’t cross? Does that make sense?
“Whether the entire members of the National Assembly move from APC today to another party, it will not affect President Muhammadu Buhari; he will remain the president. The Executive and the Legislature should both be allowed to defect since majority or minority membership does not really affect the tenure of the government in a presidential democracy.”
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that Senate majority leader, Ahmed Lawan, had assured the APC that the senators of the party would do everything within their powers to ensure the impeachment of Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Lawan said when the National Assembly convened again for a plenary session, he and others in APC would ensure that Saraki is replaced and the INEC budget along with that of security agencies would be passed.
Lawan made the statement at the recently concluded APC national convention held over the weekend.
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