2 Comments » April 27th, 2007 posted by // Categories: General Articles





THIS is a nation of aggravated impunity. And nowhere is this impunity greater than in government. Quite often, to our unrelenting anguish and stunted development, we are just helpless spectators as those we elect abuse that mandate, personalize governance and dare us to call them to account. If in doubt as to how desperate things could get around here, check out the last-minute drama at the Lagos State House Assembly, where the legislators, apparently on the instructions of the governor, are trying to impeach the deputy governor, Femi Pedro.

With neither rhyme nor reason to their comical act, the legislators are embarking on an impeachment process about a month to the handover of government on May 29 and at a time that this nation is on tenterhooks. In saner climes, impeachment is a serious and solemn business. Without exception, all the impeachments in this democratic experiment have been anything but that. They have instead been monuments to unaccountability and a mockery of democracy.

So, what are the grounds of impeachment at the Lagos State House of Assembly? The House Majority Leader, Hon. Jide Omoworare, in his smug and often crowing remarks in the papers, gives an idea. The Lagos lawmakers would want to impeach their deputy governor because of their ‘concern’ for his safety.

Since Pedro had come out to say that the governor’s sustained attacks on him in the media constituted an incitement of the people against him and his family for which the governor should be held responsible in the event of an untoward incident, the lawmakers feel he would be safer impeached! In any case, Omoworare argued tongue in check, impeachment would pave way for Pedro to go on leave which the governor has pressed on him to no avail.

Really, one does not know whether to laugh or cry at this trivialization of impeachment as a legislative weapon. The surprise really is that this beer-parlour kind of conduct is not attracting robust condemnation. But then, haven’t unpunished cases of bare-faced impunity sent all of us into unshockability?

The lawmakers are not even hiding the fact that they are doing the bidding of the governor. The same Omoworare said in the papers that the lawmakers would halt proceedings if the governor remonstrated with them or the deputy governor sent his resignation letter to the governor! Here, we see servility at its most sickening.

Omoworare could not, perhaps out of garrulity, resist revealing the real reason why Pedro has been marked. The House Majority Leader said Pedro had been penciled down for impeachment since he defected to Labour Party from his boss’ Action Congress.
Please, perish the thought that this raucous bunch would not ignore the Supreme Court ruling in Atiku Abubakar’s case that defection to another party is not an impeachable offence and stop plans to impeach Pedro. Don’t even contemplate the outrage that a whole Alliance for Democracy House and governor, that ditched their party through which they were elected for Action Congress, would ever think of readying a lynch mob for a deputy governor that followed suit to Labour Party.

If you think of propriety, decorum and justice you are strictly on your own. None is an issue here. The mob is only gathering in the name of vendetta. And the governor is the puppeteer.

Proof? The governor and the Assembly Speaker, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, had remarked immediately after Pedro’s defection that he had committed no impeachable offence. What has caused change in opinion between then and now? A bitterly contested governorship race in which the governor was not a contestant but one he nevertheless prosecuted like a war for his protégé, Babatunde Raji Fashola.

Pedro’s sin against the god-father was to have protested widespread irregularities that marred the election alongside other governorship candidates. The real unstated impeachment offence that Pedro committed as seen by the AC crowd that now consider themselves conquistadores was to call for the cancellation of the result of the election.

For this heresy, the governor called Pedro a traitor, saying he had betrayed the state. Perhaps, in the often Byzantine interpretation of the word ‘state’ in these parts, the governor is Lagos State. Yet, that weighty accusation of being a traitor only climaxed almost a one-sided attack against a silent and long-suffering deputy governor. The governor, among other things, had accused his deputy of planning with PDP’s Federal GPovernment to rope him into a phantom coup.

Tinubu also ordered the removal of Pedro’s campaign billboards and made the libelous remark that he could not trust his deputy with the treasury. In deference to his boss and decorum, the deputy governor never replied.

The only time he ever did in a robust manner, he drew the imperial ire of the godfather. Enter impeachment. And what did Pedro say? He said that he had a right to make remarks about an election in which he participated. And that, in any case, he was not alone in calling for the cancellation of the election as the Action Congress’ Presidential candidate, Vice President Atiku Abubakar, had joined his counterparts in other parties in calling for the cancellation of the governorship and House Assembly election results in the 36 states. Then, he said his safety and that of his family was threatened if he could be called a traitor by his boss because of a mere protest.
Sadly, the governor and his lawmakers are confirming by their conduct that Pedro’s safety fears were founded. Impeach a guy for saying his life may be in danger? It is a sad day.

Now, all manner of afterthoughts are being aired by the governor and his aides who have suddenly experienced a Damascus-road kind of conversion. The governor has said he never wanted Pedro as his deputy. His aides said Pedro is incompetent and fond of always betraying friends, for example Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, with whom he allegedly had a pact in the presence of the governor that Afikuyomi would have an unchallenged shot at the governorship.

Those in government must think the rest of us have cotton wool stuffed into our heads instead of grey matter. Did it have to take Pedro’s defection before his traducers noticed these so-called inadequacies?

Tinubu never wanted an incompetent man as a deputy, yet Pedro enjoyed the confidence of the governor so much that the deputy governor represented his boss at the Council of State meeting, supervised ministries and was at different periods Chairman of the internally generated revenue committee as well as tenders board. This same Pedro always acted for the governor anytime he traveled. As for the Pedro-betrayed-Afikuyomi refrain, this is most ridiculous.

Even when we discountenance the undemocratic nature of a conclave making a succession pact to pre-empt the wish of the Lagos electorate, it is tortuous logic to accuse Pedro of betraying Afikuyomi.

Clearly, if there was ever any pact, the governor broke it by anointing Fashola. In any case, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi had said publicly that it was the governor that betrayed him, invoking the wrath of God on Tinubu.

The whole impeachment process is a charade. If the view of ordinary folks like me count for anything, it should be discontinued immediately. Lagos deserves peace. There should be limit to impunity.

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  1. iyajemi says:

    i find it laugable that tinubu wants to go ahead with this.

  2. rahman_O says:

    are they actually trying to impeach him in the 11th hour? such madness!!!

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