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There are a thousand reasons to impeach Buhari – Barr. Ezeobika

As debate about the possible impeachment of president Muhammadu Buhari by members of the national assembly continues to rage, Barr Chukwudi Ezeobika, in this exclusive interview with political correspondent, Lanre Oloyede, explains grounds upon which the president can be impeached among other national burning issues.

Your view on falling rise of naira and rising inflation?

It is indeed worrisome that the Central Bank of Nigeria under Godwin Emefiele could single handedly champion the cause for the depreciation of the Nigerian legal tender through his reckless and irresponsible policies one of which is the existing illegal regimes of multiple exchange rates which grossly affects the integrity of the naira and which has hitherto opened an unending door to an unprecedented level of corruption enabling a very insignificant percentage of the Nigerian population to freely obtain forex thereby making huge profits, while genuine users such as manufacturers, entrepreneurs and genuine producers find it extremely difficult to access and or obtain forex for their businesses.

The threatening level of uncontrolled borrowing by both the federal and State governments, unabated revenue leakages, falling external reserves as well as over dependence on oil, remain a clear sign of endemic ineptitude on the part of the Mohamadu Buhari-led APC Government in the management of our common wealth.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, as an institution, has failed under Godwin Emefiele and the only honourable thing for him to do is to tender his resignation and apologise to Nigerians for his colossal failure.

What do you make of Buhari’s purchase of 10 SUVs for Niger?

The approval and subsequent release, by the Mohamadu Buhari-led APC government, of the total sum of N1, 145,000,000 for the purchase and supply of 10 Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles to Niger Republic while vehicles are locally manufactured and assembled in Nigeria, shows the level of insincerity on the part of the government in building the Nigerian economy.

While I do not have unusual concerns for such gesture by the Nigerian government, bearing in mind that Nigeria, even as a State that supports known sponsors terrorism, still receives hundreds of millions of naira from the West as grants, to develop its economy. My main concern however is that this gesture is entertained by the government amidst our current economic woes and while the Country is almost consumed by protracted debt crisis.

This singular action by the Buhari administration makes a huge mockery of the recent increase in the import duty on cargoes charged by Nigeria Customs Service.

The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, having shamelessly defended such irresponsible purchase and supply of 10 Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles to Niger Republic, it has become incumbent on her to without further delays, work with the Nigerian Customs Service to suspend recent increase in the import duty on cargoes charged by the Nigeria Customs Service.

The immediate suspension of these arbitrary tariffs by the Nigerian Customs Service and not the gesture of freewill donation of SUVs to Niger Republic, remains the decision which is in the best interest of the Country.

Are you worried about the recent extension of terror activities to the FCT?

With the recent successful attack on the Kuje Medium Custodial Centre on July 5, 2022 by over 100 members of the Islamic State for West African Province who overwhelmed a battalion of the Nigerian Army, Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, and the Armed Squad of the Nigerian Correctional Service, amongst others dutifully stationed at the facility, one may be justified to have serious concerns and worries over the existing security architecture in the Federal Capital Territory and the capacity of the incumbent government to tackle terrorism.

Consequently, further attacks by terrorists on the Presidential Guards Brigade (which provides security for the President) resulting in the deaths of two Officers and six Soldiers as well as the attack on a military checkpoint at Zuma Rock resulting in the killing of a Soldier and injuring of two others, clearly shows that the Federal Capital Territory and indeed the entire Nigerian State is currently under siege by terrorists.

The ineptitude and weakness on the part of the present administration to tighten and safeguard the Nigerian seemingly porous borders and protect its citizens from unabated influx of terrorists, remain a great source of concern and if not checked, may spell doom for the Nigerian State.

What worries me most however, is that the Nigerian State remains handicapped and completely incapacitated to hold those at the helm of affairs responsible for their incompetence, tactlessness and lasstitude.

What are the legal issues surrounding president Muhammadu Buhari’s Impeachment?

Impeachment of a President in Nigeria going by Sections 143 and or 144 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) remains practically tedious, cumbersome and time-intensive.

While the National Assembly under Section 143 of the Constitution has the powers to impeach the President if found guilty of “gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office”, the Federal Executive Council on the other hand, has the powers under Section 144 to remove the President if it is “declared that the President is incapable of discharging the functions of his office”.

Impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari by either the National Assembly or the Federal Executive Council will require a substantial amount of time which may in earnest exceed 4 months.

There are a thousand and one reasons why President Buhari ought to have been impeached from office but I however do not feel obliged to believe that this is the right time to commence such unfruitful exercise bearing in mind the hypocrisy, indignity and insincerity of the current crop of legislators in Nigeria.

It will indeed only be honourable for President Muhammadu Buhari to toe the path of honour and resign forthwith as President knowing fully well that his level of ineptitude as well as cynicism transcends all known forms of logic and or reason.

What are the processes or procedures involved, are they complex, can it be achieved within the 6 months left?

Impeachment of a President in Nigeria going by Sections 143 and or 144 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) remains practically tedious, cumbersome and time-intensive.

While the National Assembly under Section 143 of the Constitution has the powers to impeach the President if found guilty of “gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office”, the Federal Executive Council on the other hand, has the powers under Section 144 to remove the President if it is “declared that the President is incapable of discharging the functions of his office”.

Impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari by either the National Assembly or the Federal Executive Council will require a substantial amount of time which may in earnest exceed 4 months.

There are a thousand and one reasons why President Buhari ought to have been impeached from office but I however do not feel obliged to believe that this is the right time to commence such unfruitful exercise bearing in mind the hypocrisy, indignity and insincerity of the current crop of legislators in Nigeria.

It will indeed only be honourable for President Muhammadu Buhari to toe the path of honour and resign forthwith as President knowing fully well that his level of ineptitude as well as cynicism transcends all known forms of logic and or reason.

What amounts to gross misconduct and what defence can the president put up?

Gross misconduct by Collins dictionary is a proven crime in connection with employment that is serious enough to require immediate dismissal.

Once the National Assembly and or the Federal Executive Council has fulfilled all the requirements under Section 143 and or 144 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) with regards to Impeachment, the President stands impeached and the Vice President, by virtue of Section 146 of the Constitution, shall hold the office thereof.

Campaigns for 2023 will soon officially kick off, What should be the major issues?

The issues for campaigns in the scheduled 2023 general elections are indeed enormous.

First and foremost is the issue of breach of public peace and heightened insecurity across the length and breadth of the Nigerian State. This remains the main issue that has incapacitated, crippled and unsettled successive governments in Nigeria since 1999.

The Nigeria Police Force remains one of the world’s worst equipped and funded institutions.

In close proximity to insecurity is the issue of the economy and unprecedented level of youth unemployment in Nigeria.

The protracted epileptic power supplies in Nigeria has hindered and in most cases stifled economic growth.

The health sector in Nigeria has been completely abandoned by successive governments in Nigeria resulting in avoidable deaths and increased infant and maternal mortality rates.

Drop in educational standards in Nigeria is a great issue for campaigns as the courses thought in most of our universities are no longer relevant in the 21st century and most graduates produced do not fit into the labour market except by furthering their education abroad.

These amongst others are the major issues that will remain on the front burner as the campaigns commence.

The OBIdient movement, what are their chances, what Strategies should they use to take advantage of the growing popularity?

With decades of rot, impunity and corruption in the management of our God given human and natural resources, the Nigerian masses have, for the first time, had an opportunity to consciously choose the direction they expect the Country to move through the scheduled 2023 Presidential election.

With a crop of recycled, incompetent and corrupt politicians who seasonally rotate themselves in power and very often foist themselves on the people, the Nigerian youths have, for the first time in the history of Nigeria, chosen to support a particular Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates under the platform of Labour Party whom they earnestly trust and believe in bearing very much in mind, their respective antecedents.

These, I believe are the OBIdients and their chances at the polls in support of their Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates remain intertwined and interwoven with the very future and continued existence of the Nigerian Nation.

The common strategy open to the OBIdients as well as all Nigeria youths who wish well for our beloved Country is to ensure that they do not only exercise their franchise in electing the next Nigerian President, but that they vote for Candidates eminently qualified to resuscitate and redeem the Nigerian Nation from the generation of leaders that have unapologetically failed us as a people.

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