OrderPaperToday – The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives has threatened to instigate impeachment proceedings against President Muhammadu Buhari if the escalating corruption and mounting insecurity in the country is not curtailed.
The caucus said it has given the Executive “four weeks to provide security to Nigerians and commence proper cleaning of the embarrassing and notorious corruption cases (EFCC and NDDC) or we shall revert to the relevant sections of the constitution and commence impeachment proceedings in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.”
This was the highlight of a statement issued on Monday morning on behalf of the caucus by its leader, Mr. Kingsley Chinda, who represents Obior/Akpor federal constituency.
The caucus listed and lamented instances where officials of the executive have undermined the legislative arm in what it described as “glaring, deliberate and calculated blackmail by the Executive to ridicule the National Assembly and bring the parliament into public odium.”
According to the opposition lawmakers, “the behaviours of appointees of the Executive arm are mere smokescreens to create a diversion from high level of corruption of the executive arm.
“The odious events of the past few weeks, chiefly orchestrated by unconscionable officials of the Executive arm of government who continue to show disrespect for the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the ethos, notions and governance practices that shape constitutional democracy, underscore the blackmail.”
The statement said: “Recall three of several events of the past few weeks. On Thursday 16th July 2020, a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour walked out on the House Committee on Diaspora unprovoked.
“Festus Keyamo, Minister of State for Labour, who appeared before the Joint Ad-Hoc Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity walked out on the Committee over disagreement that arose between him and the Committee on two specific questions.
“A few days ago, the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Daniel Pondei, walked out on the Committee of the House of Representatives charged with the responsibility of investigating the financial scandal that has rocked the Commission. Again, regardless of his reasons, a walkout on the Parliament is inexcusable.
“Keyamo’s 774,000 public works jobs are ATM s directed at siphoning money from the treasury akin to the school feeding programme of pupils at home. No more. The beneficiaries are to earn N20,000 for three months totalling N60,000.00 and N58billion has been voted for these phantom jobs?
“How else can we explain a non-sustainable scheme, with no end value, that has no multiplier effect on local economies across the length and breadth of our country? What is N20, 000, a sum far below the minimum national wage, when inflation is galloping at 12.56% and nearing 15.18% for food prices alone? Keyamo is clearly running the public works’ job, built on effusive sound bites, with the intention to fleece our country.
“774,000 jobs are simply installed 774,000 ATMs in 774 LGAs. Only Keyamo and the insidious promoters of the scheme have the passwords to the individual ATMs. Pronto. Let us also remind the Learned SAN that it is unlawful to pay any Nigerian Worker, emolument below the statutory minimum wage which his ministry ought to implement.”
While noting that “the three arms of government are empowered to work in sync, within the bounds of the basic law, and deliver on the responsibilities and mandates assigned to them by the Constitution,” the caucus stressed that “no one arm is superior to the other.
“However, the Executive arm has gone about itself like the Leviathan, taking the legislature and judiciary prisoners. This should not be so in a constitutional democracy in which the Constitution is held out as inviolate and inviolable. To hijack other arms of government, supplant them into obsequious rubber stamps arms, is to subvert the Constitution.
“If the totalizing and unconscionable behaviours of members of the Executive arm enhance governance in our country, our position here would have been made tenuous by the fact of the good governance that their misbehaviours enthrone; but it is not the case.
“There is a total collapse of all governance and structural systems in the country due to bad or near absence of governance. We groan under a government where armed robbers have now seized our highways; operatives of the State Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Forces have taken over the streets of our towns and cities, killing and maiming Nigerian youths.
“Worse still, security is at its lowest ebb. Terrorists, kidnappers and bandits have taken over vast ungoverned swathes of our country. Katsina, the home state of the Commander-in- Chief is on its knees. In fact, everywhere is unsafe in our country. The internal security of the country has been compromised as Boko Haram continues to inflict violence and death on Nigerians, while President Buhari continues to sound like the broken record.
“There is something more sinister going on that the behaviour of Daniel Pondei seeks to mask. Never in the history of the NDDC has corruption reached the peak as it has today. According to revelations already in the media, N81bn was squandered alone between January-June, 2020, with an individual paid $1m from NDDC in what appears as forensic looting of the NDDC coffers; yet, the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC rather than be sober and repentant, had the effrontery to walk out of the Committee charged to look at the books of the Commission. This is unacceptable.
“All these drama are moves to change the current narrative of bad, corrupt and inept governance and turn the attention of Nigerians away from the main issues of unpardonable deceit and deep rooted corruption that bedevil this government.”
The caucus therefore called on the leadership of NASS to “take back its independence from the Executive and desist from making such statements as “I will approve whatever GMB asks for”; “better to be a rubber stamp and get what we want,“ adding that:
“The institution of the National Assembly, made up of its members, is higher and bigger than the members themselves; the institution of the National Assembly remains the symbol of democracy; and its independence should not be negotiated under any circumstance whatsoever.
“We cannot as Members of the PDP Caucus, watch from the side-lines as if nothing is happening when the tenets of democracy are being subverted and the Constitution desecrated. The snub of the National Assembly by the Executive and the unconscionable and obsequious behaviours of appointees of Executive arm have to stop forthwith.”
The lawmakers also commended the “growing activism and independence of the judiciary and urge it to reject acts of intimidation directed at judicial officers and uphold justice at all times.
“In particular, we commend the Chief Judge of Ondo State, Justice Olarewaju Akeredolu who, in rejecting the Ondo State’s House of Assembly’s request to set up a panel to impeach the Deputy Governor, showed uncommon courage in upholding the spirit and letter of the Constitution.”