Some members of the group of 15 Ebonyi State House of Assembly legislators are vacillating over their decision to impeach Governor Martin Elechi because of what posterity will say of them. Can they get the needed majority to achieve their objective?
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Mar. 23, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
THE threat of impeachment is still hanging over Governor Martin Elechi of Ebonyi State despite the rumour on Tuesday, March 10, that seven of the group of 15 legislators have left the camp of those who want to impeach him. The seven legislators led by Enyi C. Enyi, minority leader of the House, were said to have returned to the group loyal to the governor in order to restore peace in the state.
But on Wednesday, March 11, Chukwuma Nwazunku, speaker of the House, denied that seven members of the House have pulled out the impeachment proceedings. He said the House was not divided over the impeachment process, adding that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lawmakers in the House were committed to their constitutional duty as regards impeachment move against Governor Elechi. According to him, the PDP members in the House were intact and the public should disregard the publications and rumours making the rounds that seven lawmakers had withdrawn from the ongoing constitutional exercise of the House.
Nwazunku said the House was committed to the constitutional responsibility for good governance, rule of law, saying within the life span of its tenure, it would pursue the impeachment to its logical conclusion for posterity to judge. “Our dear Ebonyi people, we wish to re-assure you that God and the Constitution of our land bequeath to us an irrevocable responsibility to make laws for the good governance of the state and to protect our people and her common wealth. We are very much committed to these responsibilities and within the life span of our tenure; we shall pursue these to a logical conclusion so that posterity will judge us fairly,” he said.
However, Enyi, leader of the seven-member integrity group, who announced the withdrawal of the seven members of his group from the impeachment proceedings in Enugu, said though some of the allegations levelled against the Governor were glaring and others yet to be investigated, they succumbed to the political counselling of their leaders and elders in the state to let the governor be.
“Some of us in the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, especially those of us in the Integrity Group have been reflecting on what kind of legacy we intend to leave behind as our contribution to the growth of democracy and overall socio-economic development of the state. Consequently, after several meetings and discussions, I have been mandated to come out and declare the position of my colleagues in the Integrity Group of the House of Assembly. Our resolution is simply that we have unequivocally withdrawn from any further involvement in the impeachment moves against the Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Martin Elechi.
“I make this statement without fear or favour, but as a patriotic citizen, a democrat and lover of peace and unity in my dear state. Our decision to withdraw from the impeachment plot was informed by far-reaching consultations within and outside our constituencies. We were also touched by the deep political counselling from our leaders and elders, which indicated that the long-term demerits of the action would surpass whatever short-term merits it may present,” he said.
According to Enyi, the impeachment plotters had realised that if their actions were consummated, it would spew deep political bad blood and dichotomy between the two political blocs of Abakaliki and Afikpo in the state. He noted that if the impeachment was pursued to its logical conclusion, the members of the Assembly would wear the stigma and badge of dishonour as lawmakers that impeached their governor, the first of the act in the South-East. “Those of us in the Integrity Group are not prepared to earn any stigma that could outlive our tenures and our political careers and even affect our children,” he said, disclosing that the plan to impeach Elechi was actually hatched last year.
Nonetheless, Governor Elechi had alleged that some politicians from the state budgeted N3 billion to impeach him, adding that the plot to impeach him will not succeed in the state. According to him, some politicians who were desperate to govern the state were trying to dent his image by accusing him of corruption. The governor made the revelation on March 10, at the Government House, Abakaliki, while addressing officials of the National Association of Ebonyi State Students who paid him a solidarity visit.
“As poor as we are, some people who want to take over Ebonyi State, budgeted N3 billion to ensure that I am crushed so that they will have their way. They throw that money recklessly and God is in control. So, let them bring more money and spread to hooligans in order to unseat me; they will not succeed. They are denting my image knowing that the process of impeachment cannot succeed constitutionally. In their avowed determination to remove Martin Elechi from seat, they realised that if he is there, the dream of some people to become the governor of Ebonyi State will be truncated.
“So, they must remove him at all cost and that is why they decided on impeachment before even having reasonable excuses to justify that decision. We are watching them. I am yet to be served. So, Ebonyi people have risen to the challenge of the moment and said ‘no’. We are watching them. It is ridiculous that lawmakers are lawbreakers. Otherwise, lawmakers should know that matters in court of justice should be allowed to take their cause before reacting one way or the other. It is so ridiculous that when a House of Assembly approves a borrowing through overwhelming resolution of the members and that borrowing is coming in stages, they said ‘oh, you have violated the laws; you did not get our approval’, forgetting that they had approved it themselves,” he said.