The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration “scores first in the area of impunity”.
It also berated the present administration for its notoriety in acts of impunity.
The opposition party made these observations as part of its analysis of the ongoing impeachment saga playing out in Nasarawa State.
In a press statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, APC lampooned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members of Nasarawa House of Assembly for demanding the dissolution of the seven-member panel inaugurated by the state’s Chief Judge to probe the allegations leveled against Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura.
The party described the action of the PDP-dominated Nasarawa assembly as unreasonable and unconstitutional, arguing that for the first time in the history of the nation’s democracy, the legislature was seeking to disband the investigative panel it directed the Chief Judge to set up.
It said that the demand by the lawmakers showed that they either had poor understanding of the constitution or they were blinded by their desperation to impeach Gov. Al-Makura.
“Either way, they have boxed themselves into a tight corner. Holding an illegal sitting in Abuja with a fake mace is as ridiculous as the demand by the lawmakers for the dissolution of the panel set up by the Chief Judge”, the party said.
”Section 188 (5) of the Constitution is clear: ‘Within seven days of the passing of a motion under the foregoing provisions of this section, the Chief Judge of the state shall, at the request of the speaker of the house of assembly, appoint a panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the allegation as provided in this section’.
“It is important to point out to the desperate lawmakers that the key words in that section is that the chief judge must appoint persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity. At this juncture, it is neither the opinion of the speaker nor that of the legislators that counts; it is the opinion of the chief judge.
“Therefore, neither the speaker, the lawmakers nor the chief judge can dissolve the panel at this stage, and none of them can stop the impeachment process. Once the chief judge has appointed the panel under Section 188 (5), he becomes ‘functus officio’, that is he has no further powers on the matter. This is the situation of things at present and the lawmakers can only await the report of the panel”, the APC spokesman said.
APC said it was not surprised with the unwarranted and illegal call for the dissolution of the panel by the PDP members of the Nasarawa legislature, because that call fell within the realm of the runaway impunity for which the PDP and the Jonathan administration have become infamous.
“What the house is suffering from now is called boomerang. Against sound advice, it went ahead to initiate the impeachment process. Well, it must now follow it to its logical conclusion. The chief judge cannot be made to dissolve the seven-man panel because he simply lacks the power to so do”, APC added.