The All Progressives Congress (APC) Sunday called on the National Assembly to rise above partisanship and save Nigeria from an imminent collapse by immediately commencing an impeachment process against President Goodluck Jonathan for gross misconduct.
The party said the country was drifting dangerously and that Nigerians were divided now more than at any other point in the nation’s history, with the exception of the civil war period.
But APC’s suggestion drew a quick reprimand from the presidency and ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The presidency, which described the call for the president’s impeachment as opportunistic, partisan and ill motivated warned APC against treasonable acts.
Also, PDP described the suggestion as irresponsible, immature, self-seeking and part of the APC’s larger agenda to truncate democracy in Nigeria.
In a statement by its interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said it made the call with a high sense of responsibility and the strong belief that the impeachment of the president was a legitimate constitutional option available to the National Assembly not only to protect the nation’s democracy but also to ensure the country’s unity.
“The talk out there now is that Nigeria has never had it so bad. But the government may not know because it has distanced itself from the people. Therefore, for embracing corruption so much and providing succour to corrupt public officials; for threatening the country’s fragile unity through divisive policies and politics, for frittering away the nation’s resources through unprecedented cronyism and clannishness, and for a total failure of leadership, this president deserves to be slammed with the cudgel of impeachment,” it said.
APC alleged that there is a total failure of leadership, even as insecurity, unprecedented corruption, palpable impunity, massive unemployment and hunger stalk the land.
It said: ”Since the raison d’être of any government is the security and welfare of the citizenry, and the present administration has failed to live up to the justification of its existence, there can be no other definition of gross misconduct than that.
”Therefore, the time has come for the head of that government, on whose desk the buck stops, to be removed through the provisions stipulated in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is the patriotic thing to do.”
The party warned that if the National Assembly fails to act and do so very fast, it would share with the clueless and feckless Jonathan administration the eternal blame for dashing the hopes of Nigerians, especially the youth.
According to the party, it is necessary for anyone who may say the call for the impeachment of Jonathan is outlandish to remember that all it takes to torpedo the nation’s democracy is for the government to get a pliant judge to affirm any of its illegalities, thus setting the country ablaze.
It wondered what could have been the sole motive behind the PDP’s move to oust the five governors who recently defected to APC if not to plunge Nigerian into chaos.
“We wish to state unequivocally that should the PDP go ahead with this plan, there will be widespread repercussions as the APC has resolved that henceforth, every act of impunity of the PDP and the presidency will be met with stiff resistance in the form of a vociferous telegraphing of people power, the likes of which have not been witnessed in these part.
”One such scenario is the present challenge in court by the PDP of the defection to the APC of five state governors. The PDP has gone to court fully aware of the ruling of the Supreme Court after the party (PDP) attempted to make the then Vice-President Atiku Abubakar to lose his seat and to also strip him of his privileges following his defection to the ACN.
”We reiterate those words today, and make bold to say that not even the revelation by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, that snipers are being trained secretly and that 1,000 people have been placed on political watch, will deter us from saving this democracy, which was watered by the sweat and blood of many patriots, long before this generation of opportunists stormed the political scene,” it said.
In a swift response to the allegations levelled against Jonathan that made the APC to call for his impeachment, the presidency warned the opposition party against toeing the path of treason.
A statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the president, Dr. Reuben Abati, said those threatening fire and brimstone should be ready for consequences of their treasonable action.
“Ordinarily, we would not have dignified Alhaji Lai Mohammed’s latest vituperations in the service of his paymasters with a response, but we thought it necessary to warn that the federal government will not stand by idly and let the nation be plunged into unnecessary crises and political instability because of the desperation and apparent readiness of the APC spokesman and his gang of power-seeking desperadoes to sacrifice the well-being of the country on the altar of their selfish personal ambitions,” it added.
It condemned the decision by the opposition party to move further beyond the bounds of honourable and acceptable political conduct, “with the senseless call for the impeachment of a president who continues to sincerely devote himself to the discharge of the sacred mandate freely given to him by Nigerians.”
It said: “The APC, which remains a minority party with doubtful credentials in the National Assembly, knows fully well that its attempt to hector and blackmail a parliament dominated by loyal members of the President’s party, the PDP, into an impeachment process, will come to nothing.
“But it has cavalierly embarked on this outrageous gambit, with scant regard for peace, order, security and political stability in the country, in furtherance of its dastardly and heinous strategy of overheating the polity and working to cause public disaffection against the Jonathan presidency with lies, false accusations and unjustifiable indictments ahead of the 2015 general election.
“The emptiness and hollowness of the APC’s call for President Jonathan’s impeachment will be obvious to all objective and discerning Nigerians who read through the statement issued by Alhaji Mohammed today (yesterday). It was long on self-serving rhetoric and falsehoods, but lacked a single clearly defined charge on the basis of which any plausible impeachment proceedings against the president can be initiated.
“All that the APC could offer in justification of its absurd and hare-brained impeachment call was a rehash of its well-worn litany of baseless accusations against the president, including some for which culpability should be laid squarely at the doorsteps of its own leaders and some of their new friends.”
The presidency noted that it considered it utterly deplorable that the APC in its desperation to seize control of the federal government, had been attacking the integrity and honour of the judiciary to pre-empt the outcome of the PDP’s case on the defection of the five governors.
“The Jonathan administration does not need Lai Mohammed or the APC to remind it of its constitutional responsibility for the security and well-being of Nigerians. The president will continue to do his utmost best to achieve positive national transformation in all areas in spite of efforts by the opposition to thwart or disparage the work of his administration.
“In this regard, we have noted the undisguised threat by the APC to foster public insurrection against the federal government if pending legal cases go against it. We urge Nigerians to take special note of this boastful indication of an intention to resort to lawlessness,” it said.
The presidency warned that APC and any persons making themselves its willing tools for the breach of public order and safety would face the full wrath of the law.
It also faulted APC’s accusation that 1,000 snipers are being trained by the Jonathan administration, adding: “President Jonathan is running a people’s government. He does not need any snipers. His legitimacy comes from the people. Those who are alleging the existence of snipers should step forward and provide the evidence or shut up forever and go down in history as spineless cowards, driven by sheer greed and indecency. ”
Also reacting to the impeachment call, PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said it was based on the desperation of the opposition party to take over power having realised that it would lose in 2015.
“The APC knows the implication of the call which is to cause massive turmoil and destroy the unity of our dear nation.
“Nevertheless, the PDP is ready, willing and able to stop them in their track,” it said.