Impeachment of Plateau speaker, breach of constitution –Not-Too-Young-To-Run movement

The Not-Too-Young-To-Run movement on Friday in Abuja described the impeachment of the Plateau House of Assembly Speaker, Ayuba Abok,  as a breach of constitution.


Convener, Not-Too-Young-To-Run movement, Samson Itodo, at a news conference, said that the State House of Assembly was a creation of the Constitution and should in all instances be seen to act in consonance with the constitution.


Itodo said that the purported impeachment of Abok by six violated the procedure prescribed by the constitution for the impeachment of a duly elected speaker of a House of Assembly.


“Section 92(2)(c)of the 1999 constitution (As amended) provides that a speaker can only be removed from office by a resolution or vote not less than two-thirds majority of members of the House of Assembly .


“By virtue of this provision, a minimum of 16 members of the House of 24 people would have been required to successfully impeach the Speaker.


“In this instance, rendering the action of the eight members illegal and in direct contravention of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


“ Not-Too-Young-To-Run movement condemns in its entirety the conduct of the eight legislators whose actions are capable of jeopardising  our democracy and undermining youth representation in public office.


“This act of legislative rascality is intolerable and highly condemnable, ’he said ’’


Itodo said that the movement would continue to defend  the constitution through legal and civil means.


“If we were able to achieve the Not-Too-Young-To-Run  campaign with the support and solidarity of different stakeholders, then the youths of Nigeria know for sure that this is surmountable and we will continually through legal and civil means defend the constitution.’’


Co-convener Not-Too-Young-To-Run  Movement ,Hamzat Lawal,said that the movement the condition was clear on separation of power and this action mitigated it.


Lawal said that  this was a test to the people of plateau state  to rise ,because true legitimacy was in the hands of the people so they needed to protect the state assembly because without an independent state assembly there would be no democracy.


“In line with our commitment and rule of law, the movement demands as follows: that the president issues a directive to security agencies to restore order in the House.


“They should also ensure Abok is accorded full legal and security protection to preside over legislative business of the House without intimidation and interference.


“That the National Assembly should take legislative action to uphold the Constitution and defend the legislature as a cardinal institution of democracy.’’


“The National Assembly should invite the Inspector-General of Police and Director-General Department of State Services for questioning over the involvement of these institutions in the constitutional breach.’’


Sponsor of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Act, Tony Nwulu , said that the movement also demanded that the state government respected the doctrine of separation of powers.


Nwulu said that this was as enshrined in the Constitution and ensured it refrained from interfering with the business of the House.


He added that the movement demanded that the six legislators and their benefactors be held to account for subverting a constituted authority and undermining the constitution.


“Days are gone when you do such kangaroo things , we no longer have room for that in our democracy ,if the speaker gets impeached for doing the wrong thing, let him be impeached, but let it be legal, that is all the movement is asking and demanding.’’


Nwulu said that the processes of impeachment should be legal, the rule of law must at all times be respected or else that meant that democracy was not being practiced.


He said that the movement would always stand by what was right and legal and in this instance the impeachment process was totally illegal.


He said that the purported impeachment fell short of Nigeria’s democratic standards and totally unacceptable and unconstitutional, as such should be jettisoned.


“Nuhu remains the speaker of plateau state assembly until a forum is formed, if the forum is formed and the members decide that they want to impeach their speaker, then we will know that they have done the right thing,” he said


Narrating what happened, Dasun Philip, Deputy Majority Leader and Chairman, House Committee on Information, said that the action that took place at the House was completely illegal, unacceptable and contravened the provisions of the law.


Philip said that the impeachment process started illegally adding that the mace, the symbol of authority was not in its place through the session and the fact that it was a borrowed mace not belonging to the House.


He said that about 14 legislators had to sit elsewhere to determine the fate of the legislators that caused the crisis because the Assembly complex was hijacked.


“One consolation that I have and will still like to hold unto is the fact that the president of this country does not tolerate any act of illegality.


“If it is true that he is a man of integrity, and he does not compromise any issue of corruption, then this is the time for him to step in,’’he said.


The embattled Speaker, Abok who was also present at the conference thanked the leadership of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run movement the platform that produced young legislators like him.


He explained that impeaching him  if he had done wrong would not be an issue  but that he did not of such adding that even so ,such impeachment should follow due process instead of the manner it was done.


“They arrested the clerk by 1a .m.  in the morning and they did what they did and called it impeachment of the speaker of the state house of assembly.’’


Abok called on Nigerians especially  youths, to rise up for justice by taking the bull by its horn to fight for justice.


Source: News Agency of Nigeria