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Will Goodluck Jonathan be the First President to be Impeached in Nigeria?

Nigeria has never impeached a serving President. It’s not that it hasn’t tried, it has, but like most supposedly ‘important’ activities in the country’s legislative seat of power, it has a period of glory and then it dies down after some time when another topic takes up prominence.

On August 13, 2002, the House of Representatives passed a resolution asking President Olusegun Obasanjo to resign within 14 days, or be impeached. The motion catalogued presidential offences which, to the House, amounted to “grave misconduct”.

In the typical Nigerian fashion, solidarity marches to the Presidential villa were arranged across the country; traditional rulers were summoned and mobilised to condemn what they said they saw as an attempt to “heat up the system”, prominent citizens and former Heads of State were approached to plead with the House leaders.
 However, the allegations were quickly and quietly dropped after some time and Olusegun Obasanjo went on to rule Nigeria for five more years.

In one of his responses to the impeachment threat, Obasanjo quoted it as a “joke carried too far”, thereby infuriating many members of the National Assembly and drawing the Senate into a crisis.

It seems Nigeria is on the verge of another political hysteria as the trending word on news headlines across the country is again ‘impeachment’.

The House of Representatives yesterday reaffirmed its decision to impeach President Goodluck Jonathan by September, if the 2012 budget is not fully implemented.

Their grouse is that the President must either achieve 100 percent budget performance by September or face impeachment procedures.

According to the House spokesman Zakari Mohammed, the House moved against Jonathan because in spite of the impressive revenue posted by revenue-generating agencies, there was no commensurate performance of the budget in terms of the execution of capital projects.

Meanwhile, the Senate has distanced itself from the impeachment threat against the President saying it was not in support and should be counted out. Senate spokesman, Senator Eyinnanya Abaribe, told Punch on Monday that the Senate never took any decision to join the House in the call on the  President to implement the budget.

In Jonathan’s case, he might not resort to such statements as Obasanjo but he was said to have met the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, at the weekend where the President sued for a rancour-free relationship with the lower chamber.

However, it seems he still has more to do to appease the House of Representatives as they have said there is no going back on their stance to impeach him.

No one is talking about prosecuting people and companies indicted in the fuel subsidy scam anymore. Other bribery scandals and corruption allegations at the House of Representatives have been pushed to the back end.

My question now is this – Is this not just another political hysteria? Wouldn’t this be forgotten as soon as another ‘event’ takes prominence at the House of Representatives? Or would Goodluck Jonathan be the first serving Nigerian president to be impeached?

Please share your thoughts.

News Source: Punch

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