Misuse and Abuse of impeachment

In inserting the impeachment clause in the constitution the aim is to make it the instrument of last resort to remove federal and state executives found to have, beyond all doubts, compromised the integrity of their positions.

The impeachment of a president or a governor is such a serious issue that the constitution has deliberately made the process difficult by the requirement that 2/3 of the members of the initiating legislature must approve it.

Besides, the chief judge is required to set up a panel to study, approve or disapprove the allegations by the legislature.

Hence, in the over 250 years of US independence no president or governor has been removed from office by impeachment.

And in Nigeria, despite the unhealthy politicking, only two governors have been impeached in controversial circumstances.

Recently, the attempt by the Nassarawa State House of Assembly to impeach the state governor was nipped in the bud when the committee set up by the state chief judge dismissed the charges against the governor thus underlining the critical role of the judiciary in the impeachment process.

In recent time, there have been persistent rumours and threats of impeachment of some governors. Instructively the threat involve governors whose State Houses of Assembly are controlled by opposing parties.

It thus becomes obvious that in most of these moves, selfish partisan politics, instead of proven cases of fraud and misgovernment against the governors, have been the motivating factors.

Even more laughable is the case of speakers of State Houses of Assembly some of who are impeached by their fellow legislators for the flimsiest of excuses.

It is on record that state governors are implicated for inciting and compromising members of the Houses of Assembly to impeach the speakers for not dancing to their tunes.

Impeachment is meant to keep presidents, governors and top public office holders in check. The purpose is defeated if the process is abused, misused and trivialized through puerile applications.





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