Atiku condemns Illegal Plot to Oust Gov Ortom
By David Odama
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has condemned the awkward political development in Benue State where some lawmakers, aided and abetted by the Nigeria Police Force came together to illegally occupy the Benue State House of Assembly and serve impeachment notice to Governor Samuel Ortom.
Reacting to the political development in a statement in Abuja on Monday, the former Vice President said he was greatly embarrassed by the unfolding political drama in Benue State.
He condemned the aberration and arbitrariness in the plot to oust Governor Ortom contrary to the provisions of the country’s constitution.
According to him, “any attempt to disregard the rule of law and constitution in the impeachment of a governor is a recipe for anarchy and officially sanctioned lawlessness.”
Atiku regreted that, for a state facing security challenges like Benue, the introduction of lawlessness in the impeachment process could only complicate an already bad situation.
He urges the police to remain politically neutral and avoid aiding lawlessness, adding that partisanship could professionally destroy the image of police.
He stresses that the loyalty of the police should be to the constitution and the rule of law.
The former Vice President further noted that “whatever might be the short term political benefits of lawlessness, the long term dangers are by far greater than those perceived benefits.”
“If unchecked, the political situation in Benue State could lead to a domino effect across the country, thereby jeopardizing our democracy and endangering innocent lives and property of lawful citizens” he stated.
Benue Assembly: Democracy Held At Gun Point, Says Turaki
Frontline PDP Presidential Aspirant, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, SAN, has expressed apprehension about the survival of democracy in Nigeria considering the manner in which it is being held at gun point by the Buhari Administration without remorse.
In a statement entitled: “Are we In A Democracy?,” the presidential aspirant noted that to describe recent attacks on democracy as condemnable was an understatement.
He recalled the hijacking of the Ekiti State governorship seat by the APC-led government using 30,000 policemen besides other security forces deployed for just one election.
He recalled also the deployment of policemen on July 27 ostensibly to block the Benue State House of Assembly from performing its democratic duty of sitting in the legislative chamber.
Turaki recalled further the scandalous siege laid to the official residences of the Senate President and his deputy, with the probability of blocking them from going to the Senate chambers and having them impeached as being alleged.
He referred to another incident where policemen were suspiciously deployed to the Ekiti State House of Assembly for what they referred to as ‘security reasons’ with the Speaker denying ever making such a request.
Turaki said now, those in possession of the instrument of coercion have done it again with the storming of the Benue State House of Assembly on Monday, July 30 where they deny entry to the Speaker and 18 other members, while allowing entry to just seven members loyal to APC.
These members in the minority, he said were planning to impeach Governor Samuel Ortom in spite of the decided cases at the Supreme Court in the matters of former Oyo State governor, Rasheed Ladoja and ex-Plateau State governor, Joshua Dariye where the apex court had declared such moves as illegal, null and void.
“This strong arm tactics in a democracy that had also been used to humiliate the judiciary”, he said, “have seriously dented the image of our democracy.”
Turaki called on men and women of goodwill, those who cherish the vision of Nigeria’s founding fathers and lovers of democracy all over the world to stand up and be counted to save the country from sliding into an undeserved anarchy being engineered by the APC.
Ortom Impeachment Comical, Must be Resisted -Makarfi
As Nigerians woke up to yet another tragicomical drama, this time around playing out in Benue State, Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi said he was disturbed at the seeming obsession with some forces who seem bent on truncating our democracy and ridiculing all of us in the comity of civilized nations.
The Senator said he was appalled that despite numerous judicial pronouncements, some by even the highest court of the land, more than 2/3 of a 30-member House of Assembly will be denied access to, and in fact chased away from the House by the Police, while giving state cover to seven or so other members to sit and even attempt to impeach a democratically elected governor for the simple reason that some quarters have been slighted by the governor’s decision to move from one party to another. Senator Makarfi considers this as unlawful, disgraceful and undemocratic act, which portends a danger of monumental proportions to the country and its institutions.
“Senator Ahmed Makarfi believes that freedom of association is the inalienable right of every Nigerian as enshrined in the nation’s constitution and all international conventions. More importantly however the fact is that impeachment of a state governor is a legal and constitutional function, the process of which is clearly spelt out in our constitution, with no ambiguity”, said a statement by his media office.
The Senator reminded Nigerians, particularly the APC and its leadership that “the PDP, when it held sway, respected the rights of the people to freely decide what political platform(s) to identify with, a stance that the APC more than any other party, reaped bountifully from and the fruits of which included Governor Ortom himself, at that point. It therefore smacks of hypocrisy and a brazen disrespect for fundamental human rights for the same party to now deny people the right defect from it for whatever reason(s).”
It is imperative, the statement stressed, “that people’s rights and freedoms of movement and association and all other rights be respected fully by the state and its agencies; and that both the APC and its government brace up for more people exercising these fundamental rights and respect same.”
He called on people of Benue State resist “this callous assault on their freedom, remain peaceful and law abiding and be assured that Nigerians are with them in this trying moment.”