WHY I WAS IMPEACHED -GONI MODU, EX-BORNO SPEAKER
Former Speaker of Borno State House of Assembly and Chairman, Northern States Speakers' Forum, Goni Modu, has recounted how and why he was removed from office. He also told Daily Sun that independence of the legislature could only be possible if the House gains financial autonomy. Excerpts:
Why I was impeached
What led to my impeachment according to my colleagues was that I was too loyal to the executive. I agreed I had to be loyal to the executive so that it would enable me carry along members of the House. Not even that, I had to cooperate with the executive for the house to perform other legislative activities and oversight functions.
The executive handles the funds needed, and it is the executive arm of government that will release the funds. It is the executive that controls the resources and does the disbursement. It means I had to cooperate to get things done hence we would just be there shouting. To me, we could not operate in isolation of the executive.
So my cooperation to ensure smooth running of the house cost me the speakership seat. But I must add that whatever anybody becomes in life is determined by God.
I am grateful to God for what I was and what I am now. It is not even easy to get elected because you are just one among equal but your colleagues say come and lead us. I considered it a great honour and for eight and half year, I led them.
I see it as the handiwork of God and if the people now say, it is okay, and then I think they have tried for me. I was the chairman of the 19 Northern State Speakers' Forum and I led the forum for two consecutive terms. In fact the second term is expected to end by July. Since I am no longer the speaker, the secretary is expected to take charge of the affairs of the forum until such time that another leader will be elected.
Independence of legislature
There must be constitutional review in respect of financial autonomy for the legislature. This is a major way we can strengthen our democracy through checks and balances as instrument of good governance. If the legislature is financially independent, governance in Nigeria will be better than what we have now. We started this struggle for financial autonomy and we were able to make headway sometimes in 2010. But because of the might of the executive, the House could not vote on it.
If it comes for second reading, may be the problem of the alleged cooperation with the executive by the house leader under me could be curtailed but for now it is not possible. I do not know how my colleagues want it to be. The truth of the matter is that whoever becomes speaker must cooperate with the executive if such person does not want the activities of the house grounded. Probably their approach may be a little confrontational but I doubt if they will do that because the leadership too wants to succeed.
I remember as the chairman of the speakers forum, I made several presentations at national and international levels for financial autonomy for the legislature in this country. All the 19 northern states agreed that such independence was necessary. We all voted for it and directed that all speakers should go back to their states and lobby their colleagues to support it. I got majority of my members and colleagues then to support the motion despite our assumed subservient.
Sovereign National Conference
I see the call as unnecessary now because we already have representatives of the people at the National Assembly and there is no need duplicating functions. The issue at stake is the review or amendment of the constitution. I think the various representatives should go back and itemize the various agitations of their people that could lead to thorough amendment of the document we have now. It seems to me what every proponent of the national conference wants is to discuss the lacuna in our constitution.