The Northern Elders Forum (NEF), yesterday, threw its weight behind calls for the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari, warning that Nigeria cannot survive two more years under this regime. Speaking during AIT’s ‘Kakaaki’ programme, spokesman of the forum, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, called on members of the National Assembly to begin the process of impeaching the president, noting that the lawmakers must realise that the country is in a dire state.
Baba-Ahmed, who pointed out that the challenges bedeviling the country were more than mere talking and issuing statements, said now is the time to act.
He said: “Those who have constitutional responsibility must realise that the country is in a dire strait, and do something other than just talking and making promises. The second option is for citizens to get together and decide to do something.
“The third option is that those leaders who are failing will recognise the fact that they are the problem, and they will resign because they clearly have nothing to offer in terms of leadership,” he said.
“Or, as our democratic system provides, those with the responsibility to get them off, should impeach those who are failing. If the president can’t deliver, he should be impeached.
“Sadly, we don’t have a National Assembly that appears to have the levels of patriotism and concern beyond partisan politics to realise that when this roof falls, it also falls on their heads. Partisanship is so pronounced that the people we elected and sent to Abuja think they serve the President rather than the Nigerian people.
“Ordinarily, the legislators should look at the record of the administration, understand the areas where the President has failed, understand areas where there is clearly no evidence that they are going to do anything about it and refer to the Constitution that says the whole purpose of government is to secure citizens and pursue their welfare,” Baba-Ahmed said.
Earlier in February, the National Assembly had requested President Buhari to appear before it over the state of insecurity. However, the President did not honour the request. Section 143 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution gives the National Assembly the power to remove the President if he is incapable of effectively discharging his duty.
But the possibility of impeaching the President is low because the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), controls both chambers of the National Assembly. Also, past threats of impeachment failed to yield any action. In 2020, the PDP caucus, under the leadership of Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) threatened to commence an impeachment process over insecurity and corruption in the country. It never did.
The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has faulted the call by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) for the impeachment of President Buhari due to the appalling security situation in the country. BMO Chairman, Mr Niyi Akinsiju, maintained that such position by NEF was tantamount to an invitation to anarchy.
Akinsiju, who is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), argued that NEF’s position was politically motivated, adding that those calling for the impeachment of the President do not mean well for the country.
He noted: “They are entitled to their own opinion on the performance of the President. However, we insist that the vast majority of Nigerians who agree that the President is living up to their expectations would not allow any move to impeach him.
“The President is on top of his game in securing the lives and properties of Nigerians. There is no country in the world that is not grappling with a security challenge or the other. Even the advanced countries of the world are not exempted.
“The President is working round the clock to address the concern raised by Nigerians on the issue. The security architecture is being rejigged to tackle the latest challenge, especially coming from the Southeast geopolitical zone.”
However, an ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives on National Security has called for the submission of memoranda on a planned security summit. The four-day summit has been scheduled for May 24 to 28.
According to a statement by the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Chinedu Akubueze, the deadline for submission is May 20. The Special Ad Hoc Committee on National Security was constituted by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, on March 17.
According to the statement, memoranda should be solution-focused with emphasis on “local and community level security options, strategic national security, and non-military and non-kinetic security.”
This is not the first time lawmakers will be holding security summits in the administration of President Muhamadu Buhari. In 2018, the Senate had a summit on security and another was held 14 months later in 2019.
This latest one is coming amid an increase in killings and general insecurity across the country. Last month, the lower chamber asked the President to declare a State of Emergency on security, while the lawmakers also made 11 other resolutions on security.
An opposition lawmaker, Dachung Bagos (PDP, Plateau), had said the lawmakers would consider the option of impeachment if nothing changes after the summit.
Meanwhile, the Ado-Ekiti branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has thrown its weight behind the founder of Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola, on his recent call for a summit to address the lingering insecurity and other challenges bedeviling the country.
Babalola had last week while speaking during the 10th NBA public lecture held in his honour expressed regret over the wave of insecurity in the country and called for a summit titled ‘Summit of Hope’ where leaders across board will discuss workable solutions to prevent the nation from sliding into anarchy.
But an online report stated that the legal icon was daring the Federal Government by proposing the summit. The NBA, in its reaction, has therefore dismissed the report, which suggested that the legal icon wanted to destabilise or topple President Buhari’s government.
The NBA chairman, Adeyemi Adewumi, in a statement on Monday in Ado-Ekiti, while condemning the alleged malicious and misleading report, said Babalola was being patriotic by calling for the summit over the precarious situation in the country.
He said: “The Nigerian Bar Association condemns this criminally mischievous publication and calls on every Nigerian to disregard and discountenance its content but appreciate the patriotic and nationalistic move by way of suggestion, of Aare Afe Babalola, SAN to restore the hope of Nigerians.
“The publication is an attempt to hoodwink Nigerians into believing a negatively and falsely reported news as against the genuine reasoning behind Aare Afe Babalola’s call to restore hope for Nigerians amidst her numerous challenges.
“We wonder how the most nationalistic suggestion to summon all living former Nigerian presidents, leadership of the National Assembly, governors, religious leaders and frontline traditional rulers, as well as Civil Society Organisations, which was made in the most unparalleled good faith, now amounts to conspiracy to remove the government from power.
“The rationale behind Babalola’s call was to prevent the country from disintegrating and drifting into anarchy so that it can remain an indivisible entity. We must however state unequivocally that the law is very clear on the right of every Nigerian, including Afe Babalola, to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Section 39(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Ameneded).
“The law is equally clear on the right of every Nigerian, either singly or together, to advise government, in good faith, on how the country can move forward devoid of disintegration and anarchy.”