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Checking The Indiscriminate Impeachments In The State And Council’s Legislative Assemblies

When Nigerians jubilated over the return of democracy, little did they know that it would become a period of ridicule by the international community and the Press.
There is no doubt that Nigeria occupies a prominent position in both Africa and the black World.
That position and her nascent democracy have been constantly threatened by the wind of impeachment crises blowing across the state of Assemblies and that of their counterparts in the Councils’ legislative assembly in the country.
This prevailing scenario has become a serious concern to well-meaning citizens and the international community.
In furtherance of this worrisome trend, State and Councils’ legislative assemblies throughout the Federation have virtually turned themselves into chambers of ridicule as members push through the impeachment of their speakers or leaders.
However, not many are perturbed about the impeachment but are concerned if the proper procedures were adopted or whether they were done in good faith.
It is a well known fact that the impeachment of the speaker or leader of a legislature is definitely a fundamental issue.
In this regard, the impeachment clause is part of the checks and balances of the constitution to ensure that public office holders are mindful of their activities.
Hence, the constitution does not allow for a reckless recourse to and ready abuse of the clause.
And so, in a serious minded society, an impeachment being a grave action should only be approached as a last option.
Unfortunately, that has not been the case in some of our States and Councils’ legislative assemblies.
Speakers, leaders and their principal officers are sacked without enough opportunity for them to defend themselves.
This, to say the least is unacceptable, unethical and contravenes the rule of law.
We are aware that some speakers and leaders have been accused among other things of incompetence, high handedness and being a stooge of the executive arm of government. Some others too, have been accused of running the affairs of the houses without recourse to the principle of accountability which is the hallmark of democracy.
Grave as these offences may be, caution and the application of procedures are equally expected of legislators or councillors embarking on an impeachment process.
So far, about five speakers of the state Houses of assembly throughout the federation have been removed. For instance, within three weeks about three or more speakers were elected in one of the Houses of assembly in the Northern part of the country.
Also, the speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly was removed but the quick intervention of the President Goodluck Jonathan saved the situation and the speaker was reinstated.
Here in the state, the crises rocking the Ahoada-East Local Government Area took a different twist as the legislative arm of the Local Government impeached the deputy Chairman of the council, Hon. Britain Ewoh.
Again, recently, Okirka Local Government Area was on the news as the councillors impeached its leaders resulting into in-house fighting among themselves.
The situation at the local government area was becoming tense and worrisome to the good people of the area so much so that it could lead to a breakdown of law and order.
Expectedly, the state government in its swift reaction nipped the problem in the bud and suspended both the chairman and his deputy and instead appointed Godknows Tam-George to oversee the Local Government Area for the time being.
According to the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. George Feyi, the action taken was to avert further crises in the area and to bring peace and development.
It is against this backdrop that many observers and political analysts in the country have raised an alarm on the negative consequences of the impeachment of speakers, leaders and principal officers of Houses of Assembly and that of the council’s legislative assembly.
It is true that sometime, the crises in the Houses of assembly and that of the council’s legislative assembly could be a plot by some politicians outside the House to influence legislators to impeach either the speaker, leader or the Chief Executive of a state or local government council.
We therefore, urge members of the states assemblies and that of the councils’ legislative assemblies that they should avoid this unwarranted spate of political anxiety and confusion.
This is because any thing short of that would be counter-productive and certainly smacks of bad faith, They should place the overall interest of their states and local government areas above personal or sectional interests.
Besides, their mentors and manipulators outside the Houses should hold their break. What the country in general needs now is peace and stability for progressive development.

Written By: Felix B. I. George

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