Gale Of Impeachment

ALTHOUGH the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria never mentioned the word “impeachment” while clothing the legislature with power to institute proceedings that may result in the removal of an elected executive, impeachment has not only become a house- hold name but a dangerous weapon in the hands of the legislature.
Only recently, the Ondo State Deputy Governor was swept away from his seat by the state legislature for gross misconduct, a phrase that is more often resorted to by the lawmakers to unseat the executive.
Today, the whirlwind of impeachment is heavily threatening Enugu, Ekiti, Niger states among others; a situation which has not only set the legislature against the executive but has also ignited fragmentation of the legislature leading to splinter leadership groups in the hallowed chambers of the lawmaking bodies.
Prior to this, Adamawa State was a theatre of the macabre dance following the battle between the former governor, Murtala Nyako, and the lawmakers and even after his subsequent removal by the latter the war may still linger on as the ousted governor, and his followers are not likely to forget in a hurry this humiliation.
While political philosophers may justify impeachment proceedings as a check against gross misconduct, the way, manner and rapidity with which it is resorted to puts a question mark, whether the lawmakers are actually serving the purpose of deepening democracy or expanding the frontiers of selfish or mundane issues.
So worrisome, abused and somewhat ridiculous has the impeachment instrument become that some of the legislators believe that such removals can be done even in hotels.
The recent upsurge in impeachment threats coming on the twilight of the outgoing administration remains a source of worry and consternation as to the real aim of the proponents.
Indeed, many Nigerians do not see the useful purpose that can be achieved by the ousting of governors, deputies or Speakers just few weeks to the end of their tenure.
If anything, the increasing cases of impeachment constitutes a distraction and a slow down on the democracy highway as feuding executive and legislature cannot in a rancorous atmosphere move the nation forward.
It is time consuming and more often than not results to permanent political enmity. This is not the spirit behind our subscribing to democracy.
In Ekiti State for instance, security operatives have to work extra hard to avert incessant threat to peace posed by the uncompromising move of a faction of the state legislature to impeach Governor Ayodele Fayose. A more dangerous dimension to this is the co-option of the volatile National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) members into the crisis.
Similarly, in Enugu and Niger states, government, business has suffered serious set-backs with splinter groups in the legislature claiming and counterclaiming leadership, following alleged impeachment proceedings while in some cases the governors and the lawmakers are in war of words on the same subject.
This is certainly unhealthy for democracy not only for the affected states, but for the entire political configuration of the nation. There must be an end to this senseless culture of intolerance, mutual mistrust, impunity, political immaturity and dissipation of time and energy at the expense of the masses by lawmakers, who are supposed to lead by example.
Dialogue, based on superior argument, rather than unnecessary ego trip or grandstanding, should be explored by politicians as it remains the panacea to this gale of impeachment.