IMPEACHING YAR'ADUA AMOUNTS TO CRIMINALIZING ILLNESS
Dr Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora is the deputy Senate Minority leader and former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly. He is one Senator that does not sit on the fence on any national issue. He calls a spade a spade no matter whose Ox is gored.
In this interview with Sunday Sun, he speaks on a wide range of issues and argues that the upper chamber is not aware that President Umaru Yar'Adua is back to the country. Among others, he cautions the Governors Forum not to overreach itself on national issues.
The Governors' forum today is having a larger than life image in Nigeria. Some people say this should not be since the body is not recognized by the constitution; what is your view on this?
It is true that the forum is becoming quite influential and it is also true that there is nothing called the Governors' Forum in the Nigerian constitution. But be that as it may, they have been able to constitute themselves into a pressure group in Nigeria.
Are you saying the forum is not a power bloc?
You can call it anything you like, but the truth is it is alien to the constitution and they have been wielding a lot of influence. We can't deny that we are in a political environment with different groups coming up to protect different interests; I don't have any problem with that as long as they don't over reach themselves. The forum has been doing a lot within the polity all in the bid to have some influence and control as well. I won't fault that as long as that forum does not do anything that might be construed as an attempt to erode the constitution.
I said earlier that the forum should not over reach itself. The forum once said that they are ruling out the impeachment of President Yar'Adua.
Impeachment does not appear as an option in the present circumstance, because you won't want to create an impression that you are criminalizing illness. Besides, if you serve the chief executive an impeachment notice, aside for allowing for fair hearing, the constitution also provides for that person to defend himself. How do you call a sick person to come and defend himself?
As much as the impeachment option is not in consideration, I still believe that it is not for the forum to attempt to dictate that to the legislature because impeachment is a legislative action and not an executive action.
It is also believed that the forum prodded the Senate and the House of Representatives to make Goodluck Jonathan an acting President.
Anyone saying that is very wrong. It was our own decision because we are part of the system and we have been monitoring the unfolding drama and we were compelled by reasons of meeting the expectations of the people and living up to constitutional imperative and the need to move the nation forward. We were also compelled by the reason of the need to do the needful in the circumstance. These are the reasons that necessitated our decision in that regard and we took a decision we consider as the best for Nigeria and we don't need anyone to prod us to do that.
Will you say the present arrangement is not making a Jonathan Presidency vulnerable?
He has powers as acting president as laid down in the constitution and he is exercising that power. I don't see any impediment on his part. He has been acting and acting well and he has been carrying out those things expected of him so what else are Nigerians asking for?
Is the Senate still expecting a letter from Yar'Adua to say he is back in Nigeria?
Until he sends the letter, we are not notified of his return to the country. Officially, we are not aware.
Since the advent of the Jonathan government, we have had two serious killing in Warri and in Jos, what does these killing portend?
The two issues though unrelated bother on security and I know that we have been having challenges on security in the country. That of Jos is a recurring decimal and it is unfortunate and with each crisis, they tell us it is going to be the last only for it to rear its head again. That means there is something we are not getting right.
Again, all the reports of the various panels have never been implemented and that itself is an invitation to further commission of crime. That was why when we were debating the issue of Jos, we asked government to publish the outcome of the various enquiries that have been set up in the past.
This is one area I find the government to be failing in its duties because the constitution says security of lives and property shall be the primary duty of the government. The government of the day is not doing that. We have what can be called near total collapse of security and that is unfortunate. It is something we all need to condemn and lay the blame at the doorstep of the government especially since intelligent report forewarned us of the impending mayhem. It shows negligence of duty on the part of the security operatives but I hope when we have the full report on it, we'll be able to lay the blame properly.
The Warri bombing is indicative that MEND wanted to make a statement because they said a certain government functionary claimed that MEND just existed on the pages of newspapers and that they don't exist. This calls to question the comment of these government officials. Coming at this stage of our attempt to achieve peace in that region is regrettable.
The bombing is also an indication that those the government is speaking with over the amnesty issue is not all inclusive. It is suggestive that we still have certain aggrieved parties so I will suggest that government should bring on board all the aggrieved parties in the Niger Delta to have a holistic approach to it. When you are and seeking peace, there is no approach that should be neglected. We also need to look at the importance of justice as a prerequisite for peace.
Another aspect of the whole thing is that there is need to have a good confidence building in the Niger Delta peace process because that bombing is indicative of the existence of some mutual distrust.
I will rather want a situation where the promises made by the FG are manifesting quickly in the area of job creation, rehabilitation and resettlement and massive infrastructural development.
That is one thing the people will see and there will be confidence in the whole process. People believe what they see, I think we have passed the era of talk, talk and more talk and no action. We should start action, action and more action that the people can feel and see.
The PDP has been controlling the nation's democracy for the past eleven years and some critics say that the party has been more of a curse than a blessing to the nation's democracy; do you share that view?
PDP has been in the saddle since 1999 and that is eleven years. What is there to show for it at the centre? Our infrastructures are still dilapidated and there is widespread rot all over the nation. PDP lacks the vision and the wherewithal in terms of concrete ideas that can move Nigeria forward.
Is the AC an alternative then?
Yes, because the AC is the most credible opposition party we have in Nigeria today. Presently, the AC is opening its arms wide to collaborate and cooperate with other groups in the interest of the country with a view to rescuing the country from the stranglehold of the PDP. I believe that better days are ahead for us. I know that the AC can provide a solid performance that will assist in moving the country forward. AC can champion a new Nigeria. What has happened over the years under the PDP is dashed hope and failed dreams and we are all tied.
Most Nigerians are unhappy with what the PDP is giving us so they are yearning for a new lease of life, which can only be offered by the AC, and its allies who I believe will dislodge the monster called PDP.
Why is it difficult for the opposition parties to come under one umbrella and face the PDP?
One is the issue of ideology; there is also the issue of personal preferences. Unfortunately, because I believe that if we are looking at the common interest, individuals should forget self and sacrifice for the nation. I think it is the inability of some politicians to make sacrifices that caused it; we all need to make sacrifice to achieve common national goal. To fail to do that won't be good for us as a nation.
I hope this time around the game will change because this is the only opportunity we have to make Nigeria better and achieve potentials.
Are you discussing with leaders of the ANPP?
Buhari is one of the leaders of the ANPP and we are discussing with him.
What of the core ANPP?
We are discussing with politicians of like-minds to be able to wrest power from the PDP.