By OSAZUA IVBAZE
THEIR House of Representatives counterparts have also promised to make available very soon, the authentic list of those who endorsed the impeachment notice against the president.
Senator Alkali Jajere representing Yobe South on the platform of the All Progressive Congress, APC, who made this disclosure stated that the number of Senators who had signed the impeachment letter was 63 last week and that the number would increase to 70, adding that the pro-impeachment senators which he claimed cut across all the party lines had what it would take to ensure that the impeachment was realised.
Already, the anti-Jonathan Senators have accused the leadership of the Senate of conspiracy as they claimed that the adjournment of plenary to December 16 was deliberate and a ploy by the leadership to frustrate the impeachment move.
But the pro-Jonathan Senators have alleged that those planning the impeachment may have been operating in spirit as there was nothing to show that such plot existed, even as they described the arrow head of the alleged plot Senator Jajere as a joker who had taken the joke too far.
One of the Senators against the alleged impeachment plot, Senator Ayogu Eze, PDP, Enugu North said: “To me, Jajere is a story teller. We are waiting for him and other signatories who are more of spirits than human beings in the senate.
“Let me put it to him and his other people that if they think they can intimidate the president or PDP out of power, they are just day-dreaming because the man will contest the 2015 election and going by realities on ground, he will win. So the earlier they realise this, the better for them.
Speaking to journalists after adjournment on the authenticity of the alleged impeachment plot and the collection of signatures, Senator Jajere said: “I have signed the impeachment notice because there are impeachable offences against president Goodluck Jonathan.
“This senate approved N240 billion as subsidy fund but the same government spent N1.7 trillion which is a clear breach of the appropriation act.
“The business of government is to curtail excesses but this government has shown that it is incurably deficient in handling the situations in this country. That government cannot say it wants to continue.
“The president should have even resigned without waiting for him to be impeached. The duty of the legislature is to act as a check and balance because it is the most important symbol of democracy because every other arm of government exists even where there is no democracy; it is only the legislature that makes a democracy, a government”.
“As at last week, 63 of us have signed up for the impeachment, my signature was the fourth but I can confirm to you that we have 63 signatures but after the session today, two people had called me and told me that they want to sign”.
“One of them is an APC Senator who was away campaigning because he is contesting the governorship election of his state. The other person is a PDP senator”.
Also answering question why the impeachment plan was coming when the first tenure of President Jonathan’s administration was coming to an end, he said: “The impeachment issue is not just coming now. It is a process that started early in the year. There was a hiccup but today, there are issues that have triggered the National Assembly to do what it should do. No matter what the time, it is a three legged issue, the National Assembly will now have to initiate the process and then, submit that process to the judiciary.
“As of today, the required signatures to initiate the impeachment notice had been obtained. The senate has adjourned to the 16th, so, by that date the impeachment notice will be presented on the floor of the senate.
Meanwhile, the presidency on Monday pleaded with the Senate that the interest of the country and the protection of the nation’s democracy should be paramount.
Responding to the purported moves by the lawmakers, the presidency noted that the country was at the moment facing challenges and impeachment will not be required to address the mirade of problems adding that political problems requires political solutions.
Doyin Okukpe, SSA to the president on Public Affairs who spoke on behalf of the presidency urged the lawmakers to continue with their work of nation building for the development of the country and wellbeing of the people.
His words: “We strongly trust and believe in the leadership of the present Senate and the unwavering patriotism and commitment that have been shown by the distinguished members and we trust that ultimately it is this tendency towards true nationalism that will prevail in the Senate”.
A Human Rights Activist and Public Affairs commentator, Steve Omoike has called on the Senate to re-consider its move in the interest of political stability in the country. He said impeaching the president at a time like this will attract negative interpretations by a section of the country who will see it as a war against one of their own. He cautioned the lawmakers to put national interest above personal considerations.
Speaking further, he said: “I don’t think the move to impeach the president is reasonable. Election is just less than three months and Nigerians have a choice between Jonathan and other presidential candidates. What I think the opposition should do is to ensure he is voted out in the February polls. Let them sensitize Nigerians on the shortcomings of the president and the need to reject him. That I feel is a better option. Impeachment will unnecessarily overheat the polity”.
In his reaction, Zik Cibenre, a writer and public affairs commentator the impeachment move should halt.
According to him “All we can say is that you cannot use petrol to extinguish a fire. Agreed that our dear president Goodluck Jonathan has his faults and lapses as every human being on earth, but that does not mean an impeachment move is the best solution. Whatever wrong(s) the president must have committed, some of which we are very much aware of, does not amount to the legislators concerned to be calling for his impeachment. The truth is that the people of the South-South Niger-Delta will not take this likely or sit and fold their hands and allow this to happen. We have had past political leaders that have committed worst atrocities against this country but they were never removed from office. That does not mean we are in support of such evidences of bad governance’. On the contrary, the onus is on everyone of us to keep talking and playing our part in making things better by giving the right advice to those in power”.
“Come to think of it, how come it is now that we finally have a president from the South-South region that these set of senators and lawmakers are fighting tooth and nail to see the president’s impeachment? In the history of this country, no civilian president has ever been impeached, even when there were calls for such impeachment process”.