Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe (Abia PDP) said this while contributing to the debate on a bill seeking to prescribe punishments for acts and conducts that are undemocratic by elected officials and persons.
Expressing opposition to the bill, Abaribe argued that impeachment is already prescribed in the constitution, adding that there are further consequences for non performing officials at the polls.
“This is a very difficult bill to pass. Elections have consequences. When you choose in an election, you must be able to accept the consequence of that choice you have made. Nigerians chose APC, they must live with the consequence of that. Nobody can wake up now and tell us that some people are undemocratic, we know that therefore but they are going to suffer the consequence of their misdeeds in office with another election.
“That means we actually do not need this bill to punish those that are undemocratic. The way to punish them is to make sure that they don’t come back to office. That is the only way and of course if you are in office and you commit a crime the consequence of the crime is also there, it is up to the executive to do the needful using the institutions that are available,” Abaribe added.
“The penalty is there in the constitution. If a president refuses to act, then impeach him. There is no other thing you need to do,” he added.
His position which elicited laughter from the lawmakers, did not go down well with Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, who cited a point of order to the effect that Abaribe has strayed away from the subject being debated.
Lawan accused Abaribe of casting aspersions on the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the president.
Senate President Bukola Saraki agreed with Lawan.
Abaribe however cited a portion of the lead debate presented by Na’Allah who quoted former United States President, Richard Nixon, as saying ‘if you dodge from your responsibilities, you cannot escape the consequences.”
“What does the law say about consequences of dodging from your responsibility? I was simply explaining that. Let me withdraw that of the president and say any governor that leaves his responsibility should be impeached,” Abaribe said.
Meanwhile, the South-east Senate Caucus has said its fears on the manner of administration of Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari have been confirmed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, particularly regarding the lopsided appointments.
The leader of the caucus, Abaribe, in a statement issued yesterday, said the caucus had issued several warnings on the nepotic appointments, but was largely ignored.
“What is happening? What former President Obasanjo said is what we have said and predicted long ago. No one should be surprised over what is happening or the shape of the political appointments made by President Buhari,”
“To be fair to him, the president made himself clear during his state visit to the United States of America, with his now unfortunate theory of 95 percent and 5 percent reward for support. The whole thing has come to bear negatively on the entire country and every body is now shouting but we predicted what is going on,” the statement read.
Abaribe said the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) may have deliberately chosen to run a government which alienates a sizeable portion of its people and promotes exclusivity, unlike the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which ran an all inclusive government.
The statement read further in part:
“For any party, there should not be any political barrier or alienation of any constituent part, because after elections, the president is the president and father of all Nigerians irrespective of the political leaning,”
“My hunch is that the appointments so far, which have surreptitiously thrown up the prevailing circumstance, have failed to encourage our people’s hunger and quest to build a nation state out of a heterogeneous Nigeria. The appointments, as they were, do not also support the effort to weave a more cohesive country that would metamorphose into a nation where unity and love will prevail.”
“The founding fathers of our country had this in mind when the notion of ‘federal character’ was inscribed in the constitution and a commission created for that purpose. That a president of elder statesman status would willfully breach this fibre that holds this country together is highly regrettable.
“Well, my take is that ‘it is a Buhari country,’ it is the reality, so he can play around with his choice as his mind and conscience direct him. After all, he did not win election in the South-east and South-south and yet he became president, therefore, the South should be orphaned for not voting for him. Perhaps that is the stark reality that the people of the South in Nigeria should face.
“There is an idiom in Igbo language that says: “20, years or more is not eternity.” The Buhari government will also come to an end one day.
“Nonetheless, it could have been good and politically expedient if President Buhari sees himself as president of Nigeria, which is the hallmark of a statesman and not that of president of a section of the country.”