Reps: PDP caucus condemns Kogi Deputy Governor’s impeachment
• Seeks intervention of NASS, CSOS, others to salvage democracy from total collapse
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives, on Monday, condemned the impeachment of the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba who was impeached last weekend.
Worried by the development, the Caucus via a statement signed by Hon Kingsley Chinda, PDP Caucus Leader; Hon Chukwuma Onyema, Deputy Caucus Leader; Hon Umar Barde, PDP Caucus Whip and Hon Muraina Ajibola, Deputy Caucus Whip harped on the need for the intervention of the National Assembly, civil society groups and all well-meaning Nigerians in order to save democracy from total collapse.
The statement read: “We watched with very keen interest recent developments surrounding the embattled Deputy Governor of Kogi State, His Excellency Simon Achuba and we join several well-meaning Nigerians and democrats to condemn in very strong terms the purported impeachment of the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, which is not only baseless, but illegal, unconstitutional and a total debasement of all known democratic principles, due process and the rule of law by members of the Kogi State House of Assembly in concert with the Kogi State Government.
“The events leading to the purported impeachment of MrKogi State as Deputy Governor of Kogi State are, to say the least, offensive, grotesque and embarrassing as the entire impeachment process itself was a hoax.
“Recall that Mr Simon Achuba has for over a year been at cross purposes and had a running battle with the Kogi State Governor, Mr Yahaya Bello.
“It is interesting to note that following allegations of misappropriation of funds, non-compliance with extant financial regulations and gross misconduct against Mr Simon Achuba, a 7-Man judicial panel set up by the Chief Judge of Kogi State, His Lordship, the Honourable Justice Nasiru Ajana and headed by John Baiyeshea (SAN) having investigated same, found the Deputy Governor not guilty and accordingly exonerated him of all the allegations.
“Curiously, moments after the panel submitted its reports, on Friday, 18th October 2019, the Kogi State House of Assembly (which was not even in session), led by its Speaker, Mr Kolawole Matthew, proceeded to allegedly impeach the Deputy Governor.
“This is clearly a travesty of justice and tantamounts to a criminal conduct on the part of members of the Kogi State House of Assembly as it offends the letter and spirit of S.188(8) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which provides that ‘where the panel reports to the House of Assembly that the allegation has not been proved, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter’.
“Equally potent and compelling is the fact that assuming (without conceding) that the panel had found Mr Simon Achuba guilty of the allegations against him, S. 188(9) of the Constitution gives the House of Assembly fourteen (14) days of the receipt of the panel’s report within which to consider the report and if by resolution supported by not less than 2/3 majority of all its members, the report of the panel is adopted, then the holder of the office shall stand removed from office as from the date of the adoption of the report.
“No doubt, the impeachment process and inglorious part played by members of the Kogi State House is a travesty of justice and tantamounts to a constitutional breach on their part and same must be condemned and decisive action taken in order to save our democracy, due process and the rule of law from its final ‘burial rites’ in Nigeria under the APC rule.
“We cannot and must not stand aloof and watch democracy so badly debased in our country because as rightly stated in the immutable words of Prof. Wole Soyinka in his prison notes, ‘the man dies in him who keeps quiet in the face of tyranny and oppression’.
“Indeed, to remain silent in the face of these invidious governmental actions and executive rascality in Kogi State and in several other places across the country would amount go the greatest disservice to our nation.
“We must, therefore, all rise up to defend democracy, due process and the rule of law and by implication defend the sanctity of our country.
“The time to act is now! And fast we must act!. We hereby call for the immediate reinstatement of Mr Simon Achuba as Deputy Governor of Kogi State. We also urge the National Assembly, civil society groups and all well-meaning Nigerians to act now and save our democracy from total collapse,” the Caucus urged.