Friday, September 21, 2012
Senate threatens to impeach Jonathan
A battle line may have been drawn between the senate and the executive over the non-implementation of its resolutions. The lawmakers expressed displeasure over the unwillingness of President Goodluck Jonathan to implement resolutions reached by the Senate particularly the recommendations on the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE). At Thursday’s proceedings of the senate, Uche Chukwumerijie (PDP Abia North), during debate on a bill for an act to amend the public enterprises act, threatened to move a motion to impeach the president if he continues to ignore the resolutions of the senate. “I have started collecting signatures. If we could collect up to two third of this senate here, we are going to get a motion that gives marching order to Mr President to do something about this report or else,” Mr Chukwumerijie said. “We can’t continue at this level at which we are going. This impunity in which they continue looting public fund and nobody is saying anything. We’ve come to the stage of threatening impeachments. “Uche Chukwumerijie will do it and move the motion,” the senator said. There was nothing to suggest at the beginning of plenary that lawmakers would vent their anger on the president over the non-implementation of their resolutions. Ifeanyi Okowa from Delta had earlier led a debate for the amendment of the BPE act. The bill seeks to amend the public enterprises act to provide further legislative framework for improved accountability in the sale of government assets. “The amendment provides for not less than five percent of the shares to be offered to Nigerians to be reserved for the host community of the public enterprises,” Mr Okowa said while moving the motion for amendment. The bill hit closely home for Ahmed Lawan (ANPP, Yobe) whose committee’s had exposed irregularities in the sale of government assets. The BPE report a product of the investigations which was completed and debated in November last year is yet to be implemented by the presidency. “It is time that the BPE report, the resolutions of the senate that has been passed to Mr President for his action are considered forthwith,” Mr Lawan said. Further worsening an already charged situation are the remarks by the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku who said resolutions by the National Assembly are only advisory. The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu said the National Assembly does not need the Minister to inform it that its decisions are not binding. “I don’t we need the minister of information or any other minister to remind us that our resolutions are not binding just as we don’t need to remind him that he was not elected,” Mr Ekweremadu. He said thought the resolutions of the senate are not binding but they are well thought of, researched and made out of patriotism. Mr Ekweremadu said the resolutions are an amalgamation of the views of very responsible Nigerians and “to that extent it is very persuasive.” With growing indignation against the executive by the national assembly, it is not clear what the next step of the presidency would be. The executive needs to act swiftly before the impasse with the national assembly gets out of hand.