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Editor's Pick#ThrowbackThursday: Attempts at impeaching the Nigerian President (1999-2022)

#ThrowbackThursday: Attempts at impeaching the Nigerian President (1999-2022)

 

On #ThrowbackThursday this week, we have curated for you; a timeline of previous attempts to impeach the Nigerian President between 1999 and 2022.

 

In the last week, Nigerians have been reacting to the ultimatum issued to President Muhammadu Buhari by opposition lawmakers.

The accompanying threat to impeach him following the state of insecurity in the country has also continued to dominate conversations.

This piece thus takes us through the various attempts (albeit unsuccessful) to impeach the Nigerian President from office since 1999. Has the Nigerian legislature really been flexing its muscles on every administration?

Let’s take a look:

THE OBASANJO PRESIDENCY

On August 13, 2002, the House of Representatives voted a motion requesting President Olusegun Obasanjo’s resignation within 14 days or face impeachment.

The accusations centered on claims that Obasanjo did not implement budgets passed over the previous three years in accordance with the Appropriation Law. 

They also spoke to military operations he directed, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people at Odi in the Southern Oil region in 1999 and at Zaki Biam in central Nigeria in 2001.

After the two weeks elapsed, Obasanjo ridiculed the motion as a “joke taken too far.”

The then PDP-controlled Senate supported the House of Representatives after the ultimatum was over, further escalating a crisis.

Despite holding a resounding majority in both chambers of parliament, the PDP lawmakers were unhappy with an executive they claimed had dictatorial inclinations and didn’t help them with governance.

THE JONATHAN PRESIDENCY

In December 2014, about 70 senators and 195 House of Representatives members signed t0 impeach then President Goodluck Jonathan.

The lawmakers accused him of breaching the constitution by spending more than what was appropriated for fuel subsidy.

Additionally, they claimed that the president was ineffective in fighting corruption and dealing with Boko Haram militants who had seized control of some towns in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states.

President Goodluck Jonathan through his media aide, Dr. Doyin Okupe told the lawmakers to stop playing the hymn of impeachment.  

“Every time there is a disagreement, they ought to quit threatening the President with impeachment. 

In order to develop this democracy, we need to forget about impeachment; disagreement will always exist, but we must manage it,” Okupe stressed.

READ ALSO: Impeachment Threat: Why Senators walked out on Lawan at plenary

THE BUHARI PRESIDENCY 

The first motion to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari from office was moved on April 8, 2018, during the Eighth Senate by Senator Matthew Urhoghide; Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts. 

Following Buhari’s approval and withdrawal of $496 million from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) without the lawmakers’ permission.

Buhari said in a letter to the Senators that he had given the United States government an anticipatory approval to buy Super Tucano aircraft due to a deadline and the expectation that they wouldn’t object.

In accordance with Orders 15, 42, and 52, Senator Uroghide claimed that the adoption without the National Assembly’s input was a violation of the Constitution and should be sanctioned with impeachment.

Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu-PDP), who seconded the motion, downplayed the President’s rationale that he is simply requesting that the money should be considered as a supplementary budget because the process of approving the main budget is still ongoing.

According to him, Mr. Buhari needs to pay for the ‘impeachable offence’ he committed.

READ ALSO: PDP Reps threaten impeachment, says NASS being blackmailed to mask corruption

On July 27, 2022, Senators from the opposition political parties stormed out of plenary on after Senate President, Ahmad Lawan rejected a motion.

The motion which was for Buhari to address the security situation within six weeks or face impeachment was moved by Senator Philip Aduda; the Minority Leader.

Despite security threats reaching the nation’s capital this week, the president’s office dismissed the threat as absurd.

 WHICH WAY FORWARD?

There have been numerous yet unsuccessful attempts to remove Nigerian presidents from office since 1999.

What toll will this impeachment threat take? Is it just the legislature flaunting its powers? Or truly “another joke taken too far?” 

Time they say shall tell. Albeit, tell fast enough.

Ibifubara Abbiyesuku
Ibifubara Abbiyesuku
Ibifubara Abbiyesuku is a young researcher with a niche on peace, security and social development within the African Continent. She has M.A Peace and Conflict Studies and B.A History and Diplomacy.
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