The Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Ali Olanusi, was impeached today Monday 27th, 2015. Twenty (20) out of the twenty five (25) lawmakers in the state’s legislature signed the impeachment notice. The former Deputy Governor defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) just three days to the elections.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is satisfied that due process was followed in the exercise leading to the impeachment. However, the speed with which the impeachment was executed has exposed the dramatis personae as impatient and intolerant politicians. The notice of impeachment was served on Wednesday 22nd April. The Judge constituted the panel the next day and by Friday 24th the panel had submitted its findings! The deputy governor was booted out of office on Monday 27th April, 2015. The whole process lasted four working days.
In the face of the impeachment of the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, MURIC calls the attention of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to the baffling and nauseating paradox in Ekiti State where the governor, Ayodele Fayose exploits the current presidential impunity to abuse his executive power.
The governor of Ekiti State has rendered the principle of separation of power impotent by disallowing both the legislature and the executive from functioning for a long time. The governor allegedly slapped a judge in the court premises. The courts have not been sitting for a long time under Fayose.
Neither has the house of assembly. Nineteen (19) lawmakers of Ekiti State who are members of the APC have not been able to sit in the house. This constitutes an infringement on Allah-given fundamental fights of the legislators. The state police command gives illegal and unconstitutional protection to seven (7) minority lawmakers of the house who are members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the president’s party. This is an incomprehensible act of impunity.
Governor Fayose openly incites citizens of the state against the 19 lawmakers. The roads are barricaded by weapon-wielding thugs allegedly with the connivance of the police. Nigerians are astounded that their outgoing president still allows Fayose’s bolekaja mentality to hold sway in Ekiti State. The five evils enumerated by Chamberlain, “Brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution” now hold sway in Ekiti State.
How can 7 be greater than 19? What mathematical configuration do we call this? History will not be kind to President Jonathan unless he makes amends before he leaves. The 19 Ekiti lawmakers were elected the same way Fayose was elected and there is separation of power between the executive and the legislature.
Of course it falls in line with Jonathan’s record. Was it not in his regime that 16 was weightier than 19? President Jonathan recognized the governor who scored 16 as the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and persecuted the one who scored 19. In Rivers State, the president also allegedly supported five (5) lawmakers in their illegal attempt to impeach a governor who had the majority lawmakers on his side.
MURIC holds President Jonathan responsible for the excesses of Governor Fayose.Jonathan is in control of the police and the Ekiti police command has been highly partisan in this matter. The lawmakers must be allowed to sit regardless of what their intention may be. This is what the law says. Any other thing is a contravention and an illegality. We demand full respect for the rule of law. Ondo State has set a precedence. If the rule of law can be respected in Ondo, it must also be supreme in Ekiti. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
MURIC notes with deep concern that Jonathan’s concession of defeat lacks a followup. One stroke of fairness cannot obliterate the tyranny of a tenure. Action speaks louder than voice. Rather than promoting liberal democracy and checking the impunity of his cronies, Jonathan’s post-concession actions tend to cement impunity and totalitarian despotism. Jonathan cannot lay claim to heroism and statesmanship until the right thing is done in Ekiti as well as in all other matters. It is not so easy to assume the status of a statesman.
President Jonathan must take necessary steps to allow the 19 lawmakers to sit in the hallowed chamber in the same way that the 20 lawmakers sat in Ondo to impeach the deputy governor. Failure to do this means that Jonathan is deceiving Nigerians and the rest of the world about his newfound love for democracy and statesmanship.
Unless Mr. President does this, Nigerians and the rest of the world would know that this country became George Orwell’s Animal Farm under Jonathan. What would posterity say about this after Jonathan’s exit except, “There goes the president who brandished impunity, condoned lawlessness and divided his country along religious and ethnic lines!”
MURIC’s final message to Mr. President is very simple: you can only take one, it is either impunity or Nigeria. Ignore the impunity in Ekiti State and lose your newly won integrity.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)