By Jonathan Elendu
A few weeks ago I was talking to some people at the National Assembly as I was looking for what to talk about this week. I stumbled on information that stunned me.
Some people in the National Assembly are seriously working towards impeaching Pres. Muhammadu Buhari. I wondered how they would achieve such a feat given that it has never been done in the history of Nigeria; that is impeaching a President.
I was told: “Never mind. When the time comes you will see it.” The natural question that followed is: why do you want to impeach the president? What are his crimes?
The United States of America is where you hear this talk of impeachment of the President often. The last time it happened was the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky saga. And the standard then was: High crimes and misdemeanour.
We all know how the Bill Clinton impeachment saga ended. To those who may not know, the inquiry that led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton was about a land deal which took place when Clinton was the governor of the state of Arkansas.
The inquiry into the Whitewater land deal was a political witch hunt by the Republicans in and out of Congress who were bent on nailing Bill Clinton, mostly for their anger at losing the 1992 presidential election.
During Bill Clinton’s time as governor of Arkansas, a friend and supporter of purchased land for some real estate deal through a mortgage bank. Hillary Clinton, Bill’s wife was then a lawyer working with the Rose law firm in Little Rock. This firm did some legal work for the Whitewater land deal.
The deal went bust and the Republicans saw that failed deal as an opportunity to nail the Clintons once and for all. They instituted inquiry to find out if there were criminal wrongdoings by Bill and Hillary.
In other words, they were looking for evidence of corruption against Bill and Hillary in that transaction. Ken Starr, a Federal Prosecutor was hired to find the evidence. In the end, they stumbled on evidence that Bill Clinton was having an extra-marital affair with a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky.
To cut the long story short, Pres. Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives for having sex with a woman other than his wife. The United States Senate refused to join the Congress in impeaching Bill Clinton. They did not find evidence of high crimes and misdemeanour.
In 2000 when Clinton left office at the end of his two terms, he had the highest approval rating of any President leaving office. The Republicans failed woefully in their witch hunt of the Clintons.
I did not forget the impeachment of Gov. DSP Alamaseigha, the first elected governor of Bayelsa State. I know some of the dramatis personae of that saga. I wrote some of the stories that played out before his impeachment.
What happened then was a travesty of justice that is why I am not using it as a point of reference now. God forbid that such shenanigan happens in Nigeria of today.
I know that some people, especially very powerful individuals feel that Pres. Muhammadu Buhari has overstepped his constitutional authority several times. Some people see the President as someone who does not mean well for the whole country but rather is bent on implementing a sectional agenda.
In this column I have openly wondered if Muhammadu Buhari is a Northern irredentist. And the evidences abound that this President is carrying out whatever agenda he has in a single minded way that would make some diagnose a Messianic syndrome.
The questions to ask then are: Does the President have a sectional agenda he is foisting on the country? Has Muhammadu Buhari arrogated to himself the power of a messiah and therefore believes that he alone knows and has solutions to Nigeria’s myriad of problems? Has the President contravened the 1999 Constitution which he swore to uphold and defend?
If you are reading this column you are not a child. We know why people would want to impeach the President. It has not been business as usual since May 30, 2015.
The Nigerian economy is in the doldrums and there is untold hardship in the land. Many Nigerian homes can barely eat a good meal a day. Children are out of schools as their parents are unable to pay fees.
People have been made homeless because they cannot pay rent. Businesses are shutting their doors and workers thrown into the streets. New jobs are not being created because government which is the catalyst of the economy is not awarding contracts.
There is hardship in the land and our politicians, maybe, for the first time in the history of Nigeria are feeling the pains of the ordinary citizen.
The Nigerian news space is saturated with stories of billions of naira and dollars being stolen by politicians, military top brass and bankers. It is indeed a new day, a new arraignment of one big man or woman for stealing from our common patrimony.
Common folks on the streets of Abuja, Lagos, Oshogbo, Kano, Owerri, Portharcourt, Zungeru, Azumini, Onitsha are asking: When will all these drama translate to a better life for us?
When will the war against corruption show benefits by reducing hardships on the common man? When will the average Nigerian get back to providing adequately for his family?
It is not surprising to many that Pres. Muhammadu Buhari is fighting battles. He is a former soldier, after all. Fighting battles is his trade. But does he have to fight many battles at the same time?
The problem with the leadership of the National Assembly, especially the Senate is an intra party battle. I have stated before and it bears repeating that I believe Dr. Bukola Saraki and Bar. Ike Ekweremadu hijacked the leadership of the Senate. They did not act as gentlemen and good public servants. Rather they allowed the end they envisaged to justify the means; jettisoning decorum, propriety and fairness for expediency.
Instead of towing the path of honour by resigning, they have subjected the Senate to indignities by having the leadership of that Institution to be docked as they stand trial for forgery and corruption. It’s a shame.
Again, let me restate that I believe Saraki and Ekweremadu have the inalienable right to aspire to any office. My quarrel is with the way they have achieved it.
I was surprised to read about denials of impeachment threat by some senators. The truth is that the plan is in the works. They will attempt to impeach Pres. Muhammadu Buhari. The final question is: What will Buhari do?
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: jelendu1.