The atmosphere around the Nigerian Senate over the past few weeks has been tense following a threat by some Senators to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari over his failure to solve the malignant problem of Insecurity.
POLITICS NIGERIA recalls that about a week ago, some Senators staged a walkout from the Red Chamber after Senate President, Ahmed Lawan refused to allow them discuss/criticise President Buhari over the plaguing insecurity in the country.
The senators immediately called a press conference issuing a 6 week ultimatum to the President to tackle insecurity and other problems affecting the country or they will commence impeachment proceedings against him.
However, fresh information made available to this newspaper, indicates that the plan may not see the light of day as some senators have retraced their steps.
Furthermore, The National Assembly has since received concrete assurance from the Presidency and the military that the security situation in the country will improve drastically within a month.
Besides the assurance from the Presidency and the military to mitigate the security crisis, it was gathered that most of the proponents of the impeachment took cognizance of the fact that the plot might fail in the end in view of the fast approaching 2023 elections.
Sources said some lawmakers, especially those from the North, fear that their involvement in the plot could cost them a return ticket to the National Assembly. It was gathered that some lawmakers are of the view that the nine months left for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to quit does not encourage impeachment now and the legislature may not be able to meet up with the technicalities of impeachment.
According to Nation, Some of the technicalities include the signing of a notice by one-third of members of the two chambers of the National Assembly and a three-month investigation period of allegations against the president.
Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution specifies eight steps for impeachment.
A ranking Senator who pleaded anonymity, described the process as cumbersome.
“The conditions precedent for impeachment are cumbersome. There is no way the 9th National Assembly can remove Buhari from office because it cannot meet constitutional requirement,” he told The Nation.
“Insecurity is actually insufficient to ask a President to leave office. The constitution is emphatic on corruption and gross abuse of office. Actually, what played out on the floor was not what we agreed at the executive session of the Senate. Some PDP senators were only trying to be politically smart.
“We reached a consensus that the security situation in the country was bad and we ought to draw the attention of the government to it.”
“The opposition does not have the number to sack Buhari. They succeeded in crying out but we knew they were not sincere. Some of those shouting can be rated more as APC in spirit than PDP. They even have more sympathy for Buhari than those of us in the ruling party.”
“In the fullness of time, we will reel out names of these PDP lawmakers who are closer to the seat of power.”
“Mark my words, the impeachment plot has crumbled. You will see what will happen when we are back in session. In any case, the President of the Senate faulted the so-called motion. So, there is nothing on ground to confirm any sign of impeachment notice.”
WHAT THE CONSTITUTION (SECTION 143) SAYS ON REMOVAL OF PRESIDENT/VICE-PRESIDENT FROM OFFICE
It is a very long process, taking at least three months to complete.
(1) The President or Vice-President may be removed from office in accordance with the provisions of this section.
(2) Whenever a notice of any allegation in writing signed by not less than one-third of the members of the National Assembly:-
(a) is presented to the President of the Senate;
(b) stating that the holder of the office of President or Vice-President is guilty of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office, detailed particulars of which shall be specified, the President of the Senate shall within seven days of the receipt of the notice cause a copy thereof to be served on the holder of the office and on each member of the National Assembly, and shall also cause any statement made in reply to the allegation by the holder of the office to be served on each member of the National Assembly.
(3) Within fourteen days of the presentation of the notice to the President of the Senate (whether or not any statement was made by the holder of the office in reply to the allegation contained in the notice) each House of the National Assembly shall resolve by motion without any debate whether or not the allegation shall be investigated.
(4) A motion of the National Assembly that the allegation be investigated shall not be declared as having been passed, unless it is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of each House of the National Assembly.
(5) Within seven days of the passing of a motion under the foregoing provisions, the Chief Justice of Nigeria shall at the request of the President of the Senate appoint a Panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the allegation as provided in this section.
(6) The holder of an office whose conduct is being investigated under this section shall have the right to defend himself in person and be represented before the Panel by legal practitioners of his own choice.
(7) A Panel appointed under this section shall –
(a) have such powers and exercise its functions in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed by the National Assembly; and
(b) within three months of its appointment report its findings to each House of the National Assembly.
(cool Where the Panel reports to each House of the National Assembly that the allegation has not been proved, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter.
(9) Where the report of the Panel is that the allegation against the holder of the office has been proved, then within fourteen days of the receipt of the report at the House the National Assembly shall consider the report, and if by a resolution of each House of the National Assembly supported by not less than two-thirds 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.