ENUGU IMPEACHMENT: BEFORE HIRELINGS MISLEAD THE PEOPLE
Ever since the former deputy governor of Enugu State, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi was impeached by the members of the State House of Assembly, I have read, watched and listened to views expressed by different commentators in the country. While some were little bit objective, others ignorantly delved in to it to dangerously advertise their ignorance to the reading public. Also, some are hirelings recruited by the Abuja-based politicians to maliciously portray the state in bad light just for pecuniary reasons. In fact, some of the hired express-doom commentators only ended up in exposing their crass ignorance and gross incompetence as pen professionals. None of these negative commentators cared to look at the substance of the matter because their paymasters who are the instigators of the media blitz on Enugu have already bought over their conscience as well as every sense of sound journalistic judgments left in them.
It is no longer news that the former Enugu deputy governor, Sunday Onyebuchi was accused of operating a commercial portray at his official residence in the government house as well as refusing to represent the state governor , Barrister Sullivan Iheanacho Chime at two official functions.
However, the first accusation of operating a commercial poultry in his official residence contravenes section 2(b) of the Code of Conducts for Public Officers. This Code contained in the 1999 Constitution reads:'Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraph, a public officer shall not engage or participate in the management or running of any private business, profession or trade.'
The second accusation that led to his impeachment was hinged on his refusal to represent the state governor at two official functions. This according to the lawmakers amounts to insubordination. Now, let us look at the word insubordination, factors that constitute insubordination and its application in modern times.
The word insubordination means a willful or intentional failure to obey a lawful and reasonable request of a senior or supervisor. It is an action which constitutes to lack of respect or harassment directed towards a senior. Factors that constitute insubordination are; that an order was issued by a boss to his subordinate. That the subordinate received and understood the order. And finally, that the subordinate refused to obey the order of the boss through explicit refusal or non performance. This was the case of the former deputy governor of Enugu State, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi.
Some of the commentators said insubordination should not amount to impeachment! May be they are not aware that Bernard Kiala, former deputy governor of Machakos county in Kenya was impeached in July this year on the ground of insubordination, after refusing to obey the order of Governor Alfred Mutua. Machakos is however a county in the East African country of Kenya. 'Macha' as it is popularly known was the first capital city of Kenya, but is now an administrative county. It borders Nairobi and Kiabu in the West, Embu in the North, Kitui in the East and Makueni in the South. It has a population of about 1, 098,584. So, those who say insubordination does not amount to impeachment should now have a rethink.
Furthermore, impeachment is not something one man can initiate and execute. So, for those who are making us to believe that there is an external influence to the impeachment or distribution of 'Gana must go' should prove their hypothesis. For instance, after the former deputy governor was accused of gross misconduct, a 7-man panel headed by Franklyn Uche Oraekeiyi was set up for him to go and prove his innocence just the way Governor Tanko Almakura of Nassarawa State was accused of gross misconduct and a panel was set up where he went and defended himself. After facing the panel, he staved off the impeachment and remained as the Governor of Nassarawa State. But, Onyebuchi could not stave off his own to remain as Enugu deputy governor.
Hence, it was when Onyebuchi could not satisfactorily defend himself that the report of the panel was submitted to the House and the House adopted its recommendations. According to the House leader, Mr. Sunday Udeokoye '… Whereas the investigating panel, having carefully reviewed the evidence presented before it both oral and documentary; whereas the panel of investigation came up to the conclusion that the allegations of gross misconduct leveled against the deputy governor of Enugu State by the House of Assembly have been proved. That the House, having carefully considered the report of the panel, do adopt it and it is hereby adopted.'
The adoption of the report was done in accordance with section 188(9) of the 1999 Constitution as amended. The section reads: 'Where the report of the panel is that the allegation against the holder of the office has been proved, then within fourteen days of the receipt of the report, the House of Assembly shall consider the report, and if by a resolution of the House of Assembly supported by not less than two-thirds majority of all its members, the report of the panel is adopted, then the holder of the office shall stand removed from office as from the date of the adoption.'
So, for those commentators who were castigating the State Assembly for doing their job as well as those weaving external or executive influence theories or narratives to the impeachment, my question to them is, on what parameter are they basing their castigation? Are they saying that the State Assembly should not do their constitutionally mandated job? Also, if I may give thought to the external influence or executive narrative, are they saying that, there are no men of conscience out of the 24 House Members who will say no to such influence? They should confront issues raised instead of resulting to name calling because it suits the interest of their paymasters.
That we enjoy press freedom does not mean we should be using it to abuse or malign people unjustly. They must clearly understand that every freedom goes with responsibilities and as a result, where their rights to exercising such freedom stops is where the rights of those they unjustly malign including the Enugu State Government and Assembly starts.
Written by Comrade Edwin Uhara, a renowned Activist and Public Affairs Commentator.