Thursday, 04 August 2022 05:26

It’s ‘technically impossible’ to impeach Buhari, don’t try it, Shehu Sani warns PDP lawmakers

A former senator, Shehu Sani, has urged opposition lawmakers to focus on the 2023 general elections instead of wasting energy on trying to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr Sani said that though he is disposed to impeach the president over the worsening security situation, the complex nature of impeachment as provided in the 1999 Constitution makes it ‘technically impossible’ to achieve before the 2023 elections.

The former lawmaker stated this on Wednesday during a PREMIUM TIMES forum on Twitter Space.

The session, titled ‘Insecurity: Should President Muhammadu Buhari be impeached,’ also had in attendance, the founder of Enough is Enough (EiE), Yemi Adamolekun, the Director of Publicity of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chinwe Nnorom, and about 3,327 participants.

Impeachment threat

Last week, the minority caucus of the National Assembly resolved to give Mr Buhari six weeks to address the general insecurity in the country or risk impeachment.

The agitation started in the Red Chamber when some opposition senators staged a walkout of plenary after Senate President Ahmad Lawan blocked a motion on insecurity and a call for an impeachment notice to the president.

 

Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan [PHOTO CREDIT: @NgrSenate]
Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan [PHOTO CREDIT: @NgrSenate]

The PDP caucus in the House also joined in the six-week ultimatum after a meeting of the National Assembly PDP caucus.

The PDP is the largest opposition in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Although the presidency described the impeachment threat as babyish antics of the opposition, some senators of the ruling APC have backed the impeachment move. Elisha Abbo (APC, Adamawa) and Adamu Bulkachuwa (APC, Bauchi) have publicly endorsed the impeachment move.

Impeachment move is comical

Mr Sani, who was in the 8th Senate, said the main opposition party should focus on winning the general election rather than dissipating energy on the impeachment that has the potential to drag on till February 2023 when elections will be ongoing.

“At a time like this, what should be most important is how to dislodge the present political party. Any other thing can be a serious distraction,” Mr Sani, a former PDP governorship aspirant in Kaduna said.

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Iyorchia Ayu.
The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Iyorchia Ayu.

“The Chairman (Iyorcha Ayu) of the PDP was also a former Senate President. He knows the details and the issues in the National Assembly. I think the party should preoccupy itself with the strategy on how to win the election.

“Dissipating energy on the issue of impeachment can even affect the next election. If it is easier, I believe the president should be impeached today, and if there would be no consequences. If you go to the details, it would take months and with leadership like Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, who are already in sync with the government, it is going to be energy wasted.”

The Kaduna politician said his stance is based on his experience as a senator.

“At a period like this in the National Assembly, when the whole tenure of the administration is coming to an end– and they already proceeded on annual recess, by the time they are back, there would never be a full quorum in the National Assembly,” he said.

 
National Assembly
National Assembly

“Many seats will be empty until the end of the year because the senators and Reps will have to retrieve back to their constituencies, struggling for their political lives.”

Mr Sani said he believes the impeachment threat “is more symbolic to send a message to the president that he has failed and the National Assembly is taking him on.”

 

“What is important is for them to summon the service chiefs continuously and to call for their removal. That is within the purview of the president.

“But it could have been good for the president to be impeached. As someone who has been within the system, I know that it is technically impossible,” he said.

Opposition lawmakers make up less than half of the population of each of the two chambers of the National Assembly. At least two-thirds of lawmakers must support any impeachment of the president, which means the opposition lawmakers will need to convince about half the APC lawmakers to impeach the president. This, many analysts have said, makes it almost impossible to impeach the president.

When Mr Sani was asked about the impact of insecurity on elections, he said INEC will still have to develop means for people to vote even in troubled parts of the country like Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara.

“Once you initiate the process of evicting the president, all other issues come second and this can drag to December, January, and even during the election. The question is, can we do with the heat, the crisis, the turbulence and the storm for the next 4-5 months? Or do we manage the situation like this until we can take the government and the party out during the election for a new government to come in? I have lost the hope and the confidence that this government can address insecurity in Nigeria.”

Ms Adamolekun, the founder of EiE, opposed the position of Mr Sani on managing the situation until after the general elections in 2023. Although she stated that the lawmakers have shown a lack of seriousness in the impeachment process, she stated that in an ideal society, impeachment is the best means to threaten a lame-duck president that is not facing re-election.

She noted that citizens must lead peaceful protests to demand their lawmakers do the needful.

“I don’t agree that we manage until we get to the election. You cannot continue to manage people being killed and the state of the economy. It is not something you will manage,” she said.

She said she does not believe that opposition lawmakers who issued the impeachment threat are serious about it.

“You are still going on holiday for seven weeks, and you gave the president six weeks. That is – if you don’t solve it within six weeks while we are on holiday, we will decide to serve you notice that will take five months in an election year. It does not make any sense. The fact that they framed it that way shows the degree of seriousness. There is no political will.”

Also speaking on the planned impeachment, Ms Nnorom, the PDP official, said there are several reasons the lawmakers should impeach the president.

 
President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

She said although the PDP is not driving the impeachment threat, she believes opposition lawmakers should go ahead with their threat.

It is better late than never, she said when asked if the impeachment threat is not coming too late in the administration.

[Premium Times]

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