Impeachment Plots: How 2015 Elections Affected Nigeria

Impeachment Plots: How 2015 Elections Affected Nigeria guest author Joe Onwukeme says that post-2015 elections Nigeria has become even more of a tricky platform for politicians, with them plotting impeachment scenarios against each other.

The heavy defeat suffered by the ruling PDP in the recently-concluded general elections has taken its toll on the party. The centre can no longer hold. Things have fallen apart. With less than three weeks until the end of this present government, a lot of drama and surprises are going on daily basis across the states.

The ruling party's failure has caused series of uprisings in some state assemblies that, in their turn, have led to a superiority battle between the legislatures and the executives.

This is the first time since our return to democracy when at least three governors will be battling impeachment plots towards the end of their tenures. The intensity at which state lawmakers are pursuing these impeachment plots leaves a lot to the imagination.

The affected governors are Babangida Aliyu of Niger, Ibrahim Shehu Shema of Katsina, and Sullivan Chime of Enugu.

Residents of Enugu state woke up early on Monday last week to the news of the impeachment plot of Sullivan Chime by 14 lawmakers in the State House of Assembly, led by the speaker, Hon Eugene Odo. The aggrieved lawmakers leveled series of allegations against Chime, including an attempt to secure N11 billion loan at the of his tenure.

Most of the allegations against the governors didn't happen until after the general elections, so why this 'rush hour'? Are the lawmakers being vindictive after they were used and dumped? Gross misconduct or executive lawlessness?

If the questions above are the reasons behind such plots, then we may assume our state legislators are nothing but 'rubber stamp' power, a political metaphor often used to refer to weak parliaments. State governors are engaging in all sorts of illegal activities to ensure their party wins majority of seats in their state assemblies.

An example is the 'seven against 18' impeachment of the House of Assembly speaker in Ekiti state on 17th November, 2014, which has divided the State House of Assembly into parallel lines till date.

Next is to anoint and elect venile lawmakers loyal to them as principal officers to resist any form of challenge from the House. With limited powers, the principal officers automatically turn to 'errand boys' and are at the beck and call of their governors. Any lawmaker that goes contrary to the governor's decision is marked a rebel and is either impeached or suspended.

Will the lawmakers succeed in their impeachment plots?

So far, the unintended boomerang effects have been appalling. The distinctive feature about these episodes is that almost all the speakers of the state assemblies who had issues concerning their welfare of their members, and speakers who commenced impeachment process of their governors after the general elections have all been impeached in controversial circumstances by lawmakers loyal to the governors in their respective states. The affected persons are speakers of Kebbi, Adamawa, Niger and Enugu states.

The attempted impeachment plots of the outgoing state governors without any external interference is a warning to the incoming administration at the state level. The era of impunity entrenched by state governors on their legislatures is finally over.

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