Nigeria News
Formal Impeachment Plot against Jonathan Not in Senate Now, Say Senators


Contrary to reports that 63 senators have signed up for the impeachment of President Goodluck Jonathan, THISDAY investigation revealed monday that no formal decision has been taken by any party caucus in the Senate.

A caucus meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) senators scheduled for 5pm monday, where the decision on whether to initiate an impeachment move against the president or not would have been taken, was later cancelled.
It was learnt that the meeting was cancelled due to the preparation for primaries by the senators.

One of the senators, who arrived Abuja for the meeting yesterday, told THISDAY that he was not informed before his arrival that the meeting had been cancelled. No new date has been scheduled for the meeting.

While THISDAY spoke with a number of senators from different political parties on the matter, it was learnt that although very few senators had indeed muted the idea, opening and signing of any register on the matter have formally not started.

Even APC senators who were reported to have been at the forefront of the alleged impeachment move have never held any meeting on it. A prominent APC senator told THISDAY on the telephone that even though he had heard of such intention, it is not true that collation of signatures had started.

The senator, who did not want to be named, however, told THISDAY ahead of yesterday’s cancelled meeting that the forum was designed for a decision on any possible impeachment move.

“Honestly, I heard of the plan. A colleague called me and said they wanted to start but it has not started yet. We want to have our caucus meeting on Monday at 5pm where we will discuss it,” he said.

In the same vein, another opposition senator told THISDAY that although he heard of the intention, nobody had personally approached him about it neither was he ready to be part of it. Another opposition senator said he only had “the feeling” that there could be something like that but he had not been around because he had been busy with his campaigns.

Asked if he would be part of it if indeed there is such a plan, he said: “I don’t have anything to do with them.” Asked why he would not be part of such plan as an opposition senator, he said: “I don’t know.”

But another APC senator said if the plan was eventually hatched, he would eagerly be part of it because he  was unhappy with the president over the decision of the men of the Nigeria police to fire tear gas canisters in the National Assembly on November 20.
“Attack on the parliament is a treasonable felony. You don’t tear gas the parliament,” he said.

The above submissions were also in tandem with what an APC senator, Ibrahim Musa (Niger North), who was quoted in one of the earlier reports on impeachment had said.

The senator was quoted to have said he only heard of the move but it had remained only as a rumour. Musa was quoted as saying “I think there’s something like that but I don’t have details. It is still coming as a rumour.”

Also, a media aide to another APC senator who could not be reached yesterday said his principal was not part of it. He added however that the senator would only feel obliged to support it if it becomes the resolution of the APC caucus.
He also said some APC senators he had asked about it had denied knowledge of any register.

But Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, told THISDAY via the telephone on Friday that he was not aware of the existence of an impeachment move in the Senate.

The former governor, who said he would not hold any brief for those who have been chunking out the rumour, added that he was sure that such plan did not exist in the Senate at the moment.

Also speaking, Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang, dismissed outright the existence of such move.

According to him, what senators are concerned with at the moment is how to resolve the various problems confronting the country such as security crisis, economic problems and reconciliation among party members in the build-up to the 2015 polls.

Furthermore, he said some individuals within the Senate were deliberately selling the story to newspapers with the intention to blackmail the president and secure media attention.

However, a source told THISDAY that the kite might have been flown by an insignificant number of some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators who have lost out in the current political scheming and therefore opted to resort to blackmail with a view to forcing Jonathan to guarantee their restoration.

THISDAY learnt that it is these aggrieved senators that are selling the idea to their APC counterparts because they felt the idea would easily find expression through the opposition.

However, THISDAY checks revealed that it would be a herculean task to push the idea through as APC caucus in the Senate as currently constituted has only 38 members following the recent defection of six senators from the party in Ogun, Oyo and Edo States to PDP.

Upon the defection of 11 senators from PDP to APC on January 29, this year, APC’s ranks in the Senate swelled. Yet PDP still retained its majority in the upper chamber.

The configuration of the Senate at the time was altered to PDP – 61, APC 44; Labour Party (LP) – three and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) – one. But the defection of six senators from APC in recent times brought the number of APC senators down to 38 while the number of PDP senators have risen from 61 to  67.

Although the three LP senators in the Senate have not officially written the Senate President David Mark on their defection to PDP, they have been identifying with PDP in their respective states. For instance, Senators Boluwaji Kunlere and Ayo Akinyelure have followed Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko to PDP while Senator Joshua Dariye who was elected into the Senate on the platform of LP in Plateau State has also announced his intention to return to PDP.

Other senators who have defected from APC to PDP are Ayo Adeseun (Oyo Central) and Ehigie Uzamere (Edo South), while Chris Anyanwu formerly of APGA has also joined PDP. On the other hand, while three other APC senators from Ogun State, Adegbenga Kaka (Ogun East), Olugbenga Obadara (Ogun Central) and Akin Odunsi (Ogun West) had left the party for SDP, another senator, Femi Lanlehin (Oyo South), left APC for Accord Party.

Therefore, the current configuration of the Senate is PDP – 67; APC – 38; SDP -3 and Accord -one.
Given the above configuration, it may amount to an uphill task for the APC senators to push through an impeachment agenda.
But with the rumour that eight PDP senators had been enlisted for the task, the number can only rise to 46 which is far below the two-thirds of 75 senators required to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president.

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