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Impeachment Saga: Ozekhome, NBA Chief, Others Caution Oshiomhole

Some eminent lawyers yesterday came down heavily on the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, over his recent utterances since he assumed his new position.

Specifically, among the utterances lawyers raised issue on was the one credited to Oshiomhole saying that, “No Court will save Saraki.”

The lawyers, who spoke, noted that such statement was a sign of disrespect to the nation’s judiciary.

They, however, reminded him that he cannot be a judge in his own case.

Oshiomhole had been calling for the resignation of the Senate President Bukola Saraki since he defected from the APC to the PDP.

He had stressed several times that Saraki ought to vacate his seat, having left the party on which platform he assumed the seat of the Senate President.

He had also threatened that the APC senators will impeach him and that no court can save him.

Commenting, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome and a Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Monday Ubani, both cautioned the APC national chairman to be wary of his utterances in his party’s quest to ensure the impeachment of Saraki.

Oshiomhole had while addressing APC’s caucus in the National Assembly on Tuesday stated that no court could save the Senate’s President.

However, in his reaction, Ozekhome, disclosed that the APC national chairman ought to know that court’s decision on any matter is final and no executive fiat can override it.

He said: “A court’s decision on any matter is final. No executive fiat can override it. The tripartite doctrine of separation of powers is found in Sections 4 (Legislation), 5 (Executive) and 6 (Judiciary), of the 1999 Constitution as amended. None of these arms of government can act in disobedience of the other.

“That doctrine of separation of powers was mostly popularised in 1748 by a great French philosopher, Baron de Montesquieu. Once a court gives a judgment, all governments, persons and authorities must obey it. Not to do so is a ready recipe for anarchy and chaos. Such torpedoes democracy and conscripts the democratic space.”

In his submissions, Ubani urged Oshiomhole to be circumspect in his approach to issues.

He said: “Mr. Chairman, note that I am not a fan of Mr. Saraki and I have not hidden my disdain for his personality and activities in the upper chamber, but try to be wise in some of your utterances and note that we have intelligent and educated people in Nigeria. We are not all fools, for God’s sake.

“The four ways for Mr. Saraki to leave the present seat as required by law are (1) Death (2) Resignation (3) Dissolution and (4) Impeachment by two – third majority of the entire membership of the Senate, approximately 73 senators. See Section 50(2) (c) of 1999 Constitution as amended:

“Section 50 (1) says, There shall be:-(a) a President and a Deputy President of the Senate, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves; and

(b) A Speaker and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves.

(2) The President or Deputy President of the Senate or the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives shall vacate his office –

(a) if he ceases to be a member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives, as the case may be, otherwise than by reason of a dissolution of the Senate or the House of Representatives; or

(b) When the House of which he was a member first sits after any dissolution of that House; or

(c) If he is removed from office by a resolution of the Senate or of the House of Representatives, as the case may be, by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of the members of that House.

“The present status though not confirmed hundred percent in the Senate is, PDP 49 senators and APC 52, the remaining for APGA and ADC.

“So, I ask, how will the APC senators as presently constituted impeach Mr. Saraki, the Senate President? Is Mr. Oshiomhole planning an impeachment that will not comply with the strict provisions of the ground norm, the 1999 Constitution as amended?

“How do they intend to muster the 73 senators as required by law or is he engaging in intimidation, bullying and noise making which reduces his personality before right thinking members of the society?

“The “monster” Saraki was created by APC in their naive political engineering and I think the best approach would have been to handle him with wisdom and intelligence in order to get the best out of him in the interest of Nigeria.

“With the present configuration, the Senate cannot also impeach Mr. President, it is impossible legally. They can’t even try it,” Ubani said.

Another Abuja based lawyer, Kingdom Okere, noted that in the constitution which calls for amendment, it did not specifically provide that the presiding officers shall be elected from the majority political party.

“It is just a matter of convention, harmony and understanding among members of the majority party in both chambers that presiding officers had emerged from majority political party over the years,” he stated.

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