July 20, 2014 – A member of the Lagos State House of Assembly representing Ifako-Ijaiye I, Saka Fafunmi has cautioned his colleagues in other Houses of Assembly in the country to exercise restraints and be above board while carrying out their legislative function especially the impeachment of a governor.
Fafunmi who made the call while speaking at a weekly programme organized by Lagos State House of Assembly correspondents, Alausa Ikeja said it is unimaginable and unthinkable for any legislative House to be used by an external force.
The lawmaker who is the Chairman House Committee on Public Account (Local) pointed out that there should be investigation conducted to ascertain the allegation of inducements of lawmakers who removed governors that alleged to have failed to follow constitutional provisions.
While responding to such allegation, he said, “It is not something that is confirmed and if it is established, then the house is playing with fire. If bribery is established against a whole parliament, then they are playing with fire. Why are we not taking decisions according to our conscience, it is the wish of your people that should be carried out in the parliament.
“Impeachment of a Governor should be the last resort, the parliament should think of impeaching the Governor if the entire state is tired of the Governor and they are yearning for change. Our people should stop seeing the trees and start seeing the forest; we should know that Nigeria is larger than everyone.
He added, “It is very unfortunate that despite our 15 years of democracy, our people have not learnt their lessons. Most of the impeachments done in Nigeria were not done according to the law, Section 198 of the Nigerian Constitution dwell on how you can remove a Governor from office, but which governor has been validly removed in Nigeria? They would serve notice and within two days, the Governor is out of office.
“It has to be done according to the law. The first thing is to give notice, and this must be signed by at least 2/3 of the members of the state house of assembly. The notice would then be given to the Speaker of the House, who would transmit it to the Governor or whoever they want to impeach. The Speaker has seven days to do this, later, the members would read through and there must be a Motion whether they should continue to investigate the allegations and they have 14 days to do this. The Motion must states that the House wants to remove a particular person from office and 2/3 of the members must vote in favour.
“But do we do that in Nigeria, we just find a way of removing people from offices to settle political scores, it is quite unfortunate, there should be fair hearing. After the Motion, the Chief Judge must constitute a seven-man panel, which must listen to the public officer concerned and it is the observations raised or the recommendations of the panel that would determine whether they should go ahead with the impeachment or not,” Fafunmi posited.
While citing an example, the lawmaker recalled, “I condemn the removal of Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State because he was removed for crossing to the APC from the PDP. If the allegations were true, they were things that happened, when he was in the PDP. That is just to tell you that it is a witch-hunting exercise and it was an exercise by the Federal Government to suppress opposition.”
“The notice served on Governor Al Makura of Nassarawa State is now a public knowledge, but the members of the state house of assembly must work according to their conscience and not selfish interest,” he cautioned.