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Constitution Review: APGA Wants Immunity Clause Expunged

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SAN FRANCISCO, April 24, (THEWILL) – All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has called for the removal of the immunity being enjoyed by certain categories of public office holders, especially the state governors, from the Constitution.

APGA said the removal will check the arbitrariness of the public officers against the leadership of their respective parties.

The National Secretary of the party, Dr. Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi, who made the call while speaking in Bauchi, the Bauchi State capital, on Tuesday, said the clause should be expunged from the Constitution to reduce the over-bearing influence of governors on the leadership of political parties.

“If a Governor is today elected in his own state, he looks at himself as Almighty God, because of the immunity they are exercising. So, they see others as small goats, they don’t see that this power can come to an end, so they try to behave anyhow,” he said.

Going down the memory lane, Shinkafi said during the Second Republic, governors always sat at the back of political party leaders as he lamented that today, they are the ones at the front burner ; a development he attributed to the monthly federation grant they are collecting and administering as if it is their private money.

“Today, if Governor Isa Yuguda wants to give you N2 billion, nobody will ask him why, unless he is removed or his tenure expires. It is then that one is deemed fit to take legal action against the governor,” he said.

He said if the immunity clause is expunged from the Constitution, any public officer who commits criminal offence will instantly be tried in a court of law.

Shinkafi also expressed dissatisfaction that many past governors with criminal cases at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are yet to be convicted by courts of law.

He cited the case of Anambra State governor, Peter Obi, whom, he said, had wanted to pocket everybody in the party to satisfy his whims and caprices.

Shinkafi also unveiled plan by APGA to revalidate its membership nationwide, saying, “We are trying to restructure, re-energise, and re-brand the party ahead of the 2015 general elections.”

He expressed optimism that APGA will get power in Bauchi State in the 2015 general elections.

He also threw his weight behind the court of appeal judgement in Enugu State that restored Victor Umeh as the national chairman of the party pending the determination of the entire suit before it, saying the judgement has strengthened democracy and boosted the confidence of the people in the judiciary.

Arguing that Obi, being a beneficiary of the judiciary, ought to have known that they should not have conducted the convention when their case was pending in court, he described the purported emergence of Maxi Okwu as the national chairman of APGA following a national convention as an unhealthy development.

He lamented that the situation has created a faction within the party led by the Anambra State governor,Obi.

“ Our political party is a party that believes in the principles of the rule of law and that is what the Court of Appeal in Enugu has been able to prove.

“I can recall vividly when the same scenerio happened in 2007 when there was a case between Andy Uba and Peter Obi. Obi’s case was pending in the Appeal Court over the determination of his real tenure and Uba was sworn in as governor.

“ Sixteen days into the administration of Uba, the Appeal Court ruled that the election that brought Uba as governor was conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in error and ought not to be held. The court sacked Uba and Obi was sworn in as Governor of Anambra State,” he said.