Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves therefore are its only safe depositories.
Thomas Jefferson, (1743-1826) American President.
I am a voice. I am a metaphor for the ignorance of the common man in the market square who has little or no idea what the whirlwind blowing in the arena is all about. They call it ‘impeachment’. From the way these unproductive people who say they are our leaders talk about it in hushed tones, the fear of ‘impeachment’ verily is the beginning of political wisdom. People say that the way these politicians are carrying on is a reminder of the way the ones in the Second Republic carried on, prompting the military to organize coups. But whatever shall we make of the big political eggheads at whose feet ordinary mortals like us should learn the ABC of politics, who insist that that the impeachment fever that has swept Nigeria’s landscape in recent times is an ill-wind? Ill-winds the world over have one common denominator and it is that they never bring any good. Like the El Nino, they say the wind has swept off the Bayelsan, the Ekiti, the Oyo and very recently, the former Anambra state governor. These pundits insist that these incessant cases of ‘impeachment’ are tales told by an idiot and which signify nothing.
I should be able to contribute to this debate if I knew what ‘impeachment’ meant. The way these big people say it and the way they talk about it in very hushed tones seems to imply that it really is a terrible thing to do. They resemble little children who have been told they must not venture out at night because the seven spirits with seven heads together with the masquerade that eats children’s brains would visit from the land of the dead. Hear them: Alamieyeseigha was impeached; Fayose wrote to the National Assembly concerning his impeachment; Peter Obi has been impeached, and the wrongfully impeached governor of Oyo state has won his appeal. But what does ‘impeach’ really mean? Something in the way it is said connotes that it is a non-violent method of removing a non-performing official of government, the emphasis being on two keys words: non-violent and governors. And something in my guts tell me I must be correct despite the uncouth methodology that I applied in arriving at the meaning of this frightening word, ‘impeachment’. Well, you must not blame me too much. As I said at the beginning of my introspection, I am just a mere voice that ordinarily wants to ascribe some meaning to the sometimes loud, sometimes muffled complains about the non-violent removal of corrupt or power mad governors. For that is what they will be if they are not removed, oops, impeached forthwith.
I would like all of those big people performing all that drama and speaking all that grammar to realize that the only other way to remove corrupt politicians is via the violent method, the military method. And if we agree with that nonsense cliché that the even the best military methods cannot be comparable with the worst methods of civilian advocacy and government, I find it a little funny that we are saying that these impeachments are a little too frequent and a little too hasty. With all due respects, I should like to ask this: will it be ok then if the military, with their magic wand command us all to dance to their martial, stiff orchestra by force or that we keep them at bay by removing some of these chaps who arrogate to themselves the powers of the gods, not minding the frequency of their removal? Come to think of it, isn’t this something of what the rule of law is no matter how crudely it is applied here? Look at the way the former Anambra governor, Peter Obi, lost the legitimate position of power he fought so hard to redeem. Being mindful that the majority of those who made up the legislative instrument of governance in his state would be hostile to his administration as governor, what was a seemingly responsible person as Peter Obi thinking in going to put state funds in a bank of which he was or still chairman? Hear his supporters: as governor, he had the prerogative of putting state funds wherever he pleased. How simple that thinking is and in fact it being the reason why that unkind wind of impeachment blows so unkindly today. With state funds, no, he had no right to do what he did and I give a thumbs-up to the Anambra legislative people who impeached him forthwith (if that is the real reason they removed him), sending an urgent message to his kith and kin in governorship positions that they can be Barkin Zuwoed the minute they forget to read their history books.And now, I hope you don’t expect me to waste all of our time in examining the Fayose and Adedibu imbroglios? No sirs, not me. I have other matters to attend to.
What really bothers me in fact is that all of these impeachments have no real significance and have not impacted positively on the lives of the people our voices represent. This is because in some cases, governors are ‘duly impeached’ only when they will not dance to the manipulations of either a godfather or are seen as stumbling blocks to the tyranny of the legislature. If all of the governors that have been impeached so far were removed because they are so far removed from the people they serve, some eighty percent of them would be history today. The way it is today, if we impeach a governor because he refuses to dance to the familiar song of a godfather or that he is not our party man, it leaves us the common people in an impeachable position. So, shall we also impeach the common man?