The All Progressives Congress has condemned the renewed plan by the Nasarawa State House of Assembly to impeach the state governor, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura.
Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, also said the fresh move to remove Al-Makura, was illegal. The lawyer said in a statement on Sunday that under the constitution, the House of Assembly lacked the power to raise the same allegations against the governor having been earlier exonerated of the same accusations by an impeachment panel.
The APC, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in Ilorin, Kwara State, on Sunday, said that the lawmakers were bent on violating the constitution in their desperation to remove the governor.
It noted that Al-Makura had been cleared of the charges against him by a duly constituted impeachment panel.
The party said it would amount to an illegality for the lawmakers to draft a vacation judge to set up another panel to probe the same 16 allegations, of which the governor had been absolved.
It said the constitution was clear that only the chief judge of the state could set up such a panel, upon receiving a request from the Speaker of the House of Assembly.
The APC, therefore, said that any attempt to draft a vacation judge to set up another panel would be against the constitution that gave the legislature the impeachment power in the first instance.
The party also said that Al-Makura could not be impeached on the basis of the same allegations.
It noted that if the lawmakers were to follow the constitution, they would have to find a new set of impeachable offences against the governor, adding that the legislators would have to notify the governor and forward their request to the chief judge, not to a vacation judge.
It said that the latest move by the legislators, who had relocated to Abuja from their base in Lafia, was being instigated by the Peoples Democratic Party.
“That this illegality is being contemplated under the watch of President Goodluck Jonathan is clear for all to see. In fact, it is in line with the culture of lawlessness and impunity for which the Jonathan Administration has now become infamous,” the APC stated.
The party said that the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, from Nasarawa State, had been goading the state legislature to disregard the constitution and remove the governor.
The APC said that the reason for the minister’s action was because Al-Makura was in the opposition party.
It said, ‘’It is also as clear as daylight that the kind of money being dangled at the lawmakers to impeach Governor Al-Makura at all costs could only have come from a deep purse or a war chest.
“With almost N30m and other perks being reportedly offered to each lawmaker just to take out an opposition governor, it is clear in whose interest and at whose behest such is being done.”
It called on those it described as “the puppeteers of the marooned Nasarawa legislators” to call the lawmakers to order.
“The lawmakers have tried and failed to remove Governor Al-Makura. Let them now return to Lafia and continue with their constitutional duties. They must give peace a chance,’’ APC said.
Falana, in his statement, also said, “The seven-member panel set up by the Chief Judge of Nasarawa State to investigate the allegations of impeachable offences leveled against Governor Tanko Al-Makura has concluded its assignment.
“Since the House of Assembly ignored the directive of the panel to substantiate the allegations against the governor panel dismissed them. Once the governor has been exonerated by the impeachment panel no further proceedings shall arise from the allegations by virtue of section 188(8) of the Constitution.
“However, completely dissatisfied with the clean bill of health given to Governor Al-Makura by the impeachment panel the House of Assembly of Nasarawa State, the House has decided to request the vacation judge to set up another panel to re-investigate the allegations which had been dismissed in favour of the governor.”