Michael NnebeThursday, July 17, 2014
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alarabe Musa, the second republic governor of Kaduna State under the PRP, became the first governor to be impeached in Nigeria. Musa was quite a character, but once he crossed the line, the Shehu Shagari led NPN national government sanctioned his removal, and Balarabe Musa was history. It did not matter that Musa remained popular with the people of Kaduna State as at the time of his impeachment. This happened in the early eighties, and it is conceivable that several more aberrant governors might have suffered the same fate had the military not struck soon after the second term that began on October 1983. Between 2005 and 2006 the Obasanjo led PDP sanctioned the impeachment of five governors in Nigeria. The three more that followed in 2006, including those of Anambra and Oyo states were all reversed by the Nigerian Supreme Court.

The truth is that most governors in Nigeria are committing impeachable offences on a daily basis. Many of these governors carry out their activities with impunity, and as long as they are with the ruling national party, or are not in an antagonistic relationship with the ruling national party, nothing will ever happen to them. It is also a gospel truth that no governor can be impeached in Nigeria without the approval or at least consent of the president. It's just not possible. I will even go further to assert that no impeachment procedures ever began in Nigeria that was not orchestrated in Aso Rock. Before Governor Nyako was impeached a few days ago, he was accompanied to Aso Rock by two former military presidents to beg President Jonathan to stop the impeachment against him. According to sources now made public, the president gave him several humiliating conditions which Nyako refused to undertake, and the impeachment ultimately went through.

The truth is that Governor Nyako was hardly the poster child of a governor that deserves the tears of Nigerians. Attempts to impeach him began soon after his inauguration in 2007. He was actually served with an impeachment notice back in 2008, but was saved by the intervention of President Yar'adua after he went and pleaded at Aso Rock. Recently he decamped to the opposing APC, and proceeded to write the most divisive letter by a sitting governor in Nigeria. In his letter, Nyako among other things accused President Jonathan of funding the Boko Haram, carrying out a genocide against the Hausa/Fulani, and pretty much insulted everybody in the Southsouth and Southeast. I am not a politician, but after reading his letter I knew that his days were numbered. I was therefore not surprised that he was impeached. There is no doubt in my mind that the president's men orchestrated his removal right there in Aso Rock, but like I always say to these politicians, those who come to equity must come with a clean hand. Nyako had been a mediocre governor at best, and if you followed the sixteen offenses he was charged with, any one of them would have been sufficient to remove him from office.

The question is this, if Nyako was still in the PDP or a non-antagonistic APC governor would he have been impeached? Certainly not! Well, but this is politics and those who play this game must play by the rule. Remember Governor Amaechi? He flew around the country in an unregistered private jet that was supposed to belong to the people of Rivers state, and he did so without any problem. But once he was declared an enemy everything changed, and suddenly the powers that be discovered that his private jet was not properly registered and that it did not even belong to Rivers state, so they grounded his plane in a public show of humiliation. This is Nigeria politics for you. Am I weeping for Amaechi? Absolutely not! These characters know what they are doing. I have written what is on my mind repeatedly in this country, called a spade a spade at all times yet the presidency probably did not know that I exist. This is largely possible because I have stayed completely out of the system. Should I get in someone's pocket or some party's pocket and start insulting the president, I have no illusion what could happen to me. Gov. Nyako apparently wants to have his cake and eat it, but unfortunately it does not work like that, especially here in Nigeria.

Ironically, most of these governors impeached in the past were popular governors in their respective states. Ayo Fayose of Ekiti state who was impeached in 2006 was a clear example. It therefore leaves me with the impression that most of these past impeachments were simply political calculations designed to favor the ruling national party. It is however irrelevant whether these past impeachments were all based exclusively on political calculations since these governors often provide legitimate offenses for their impeachment. President Jonathan has since coming to power resisted the use of Obasanjo's style of impeachment as a payback to aberrant governors. But since the emergence of APC as a super opposition, especially in the upcoming 2015 election, it now appears to me that Jonathan's gentleman's style of politics is now over. Indications are that by the time this tenure is over up to five or even six governors may be impeached. The PDP will do anything and everything to make sure that their majority vote is preserved in 2015 national election. To do so requires friendly governors in states that have been considered crucial to victory in next year's presidential election.

As I write this article, the state house in Nasarawa state is now attempting to serve a notice of impeachment to that state governor, Tanko Al-Makura. I suspect that Al-Makura's impeachment is already a foregone conclusion. There had been eight several attempts to impeach him since he came to power in 2011, it is now unlikely that he will survive this Aso Rock sanctioned attempt. Edo, Rivers, Borno, and possibly Imo could all be among the states already penciled down for impeachment this year. Like I said before, this is all politics, and those who simply can't stand these nefarious scheming in politics should get out of the theater of politics. But there is also an alternative way; a governor who truly serves his people in an honest way, who tries to deliver the dividend of democracy to his people, can do so without fear of Aso Rock. And if you really wish to insult and accuse the president and his men of corruption and other atrocities, then perhaps it might be necessary to be clean from corruption yourself. By failing to play above board it is unlikely that most governors in Nigeria would have their state residents rise up in their defense no matter how popular they are. Nigerians know that these folks are simply birds of the same feather, and recognize politics for what it is.

Sadly though, as we have now entered a new era of impeachment galore, and as we watch these impeachments unfold one after another in the next several months, perhaps we should pause a bit and ask ourselves if this is the direction we wish to go as a country. I have read utterances by the likes of El-Rufai that their bloods will flow in defense of this new attack on their men. He even warned that this had happened in Nigeria before, presumably referring to the Nigerian civil war in the late sixties. In my opinion people like El-Rufai are still living in the past with this false notion that the Hausa/Fulani are destined to rule Nigeria forever. Nigeria has changed irrevocably, and any northerner that fails to understand this does so at his own peril. But the question we must ask ourselves as Nigerians, especially those of us who are not active politicians is this; shall we fold our arms and watch as these gladiators use every means necessary to achieve their goals. For now, it appears to me that these barbarians are once again at the city gates, clamoring to break in and destroy the decent political development we have all jointly built in the last seven years. If we allow them in against APC today, it may be APGA tomorrow, and Labour the next. And whether we like it or not, we shall all collectively become victims as a nation, and that is the tragedy of such backward political tactics.