Do I want more impeachments? Yes please. Bring it on. Let the snakes begin to eat their own intestines. Let them begin to destroy the myths of permanency many assume exist in politics.
With the impeachment of Gov. Nyako of Adamawa state still hot in the oven; there are reports of the “Nyako Treatment” being planned for several other governors in Nigeria. The focus seems to be mostly the governors that defected to the APC from the PDP, with many commentators happy about this development calling it democracy in action.
Before I reveal my analysis of the situation I will like to lay something to rest. Those that say the President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP have nothing to do with these fresh “impeachment movement” are in my view turning the truth on its head.
I heard somebody say that it was simply an Adamawa domestic political machinery that got rid of Nyako. Well…nothing can be further from the truth. It is like saying that David had nothing to do with the death of Uriah in the Bible. That it was Joab and the mighty men that departed from him at the fore front of the hottest battle that killed him. As many know; that is only part of the story; because if David did not give the order in the first place then all the subsequent events would not have happened leading to the murder of Uriah.
So let us be clear; the Presidency and PDP have hands in instigating these waves of impeachment. That does not make it wrong to impeach these governors; but we need to be clear who the puppet master is in this case and that is the Presidency.
It is instructive how corrupt politicians hated and despised my most voters can suddenly become progressive and acceptable simply by changing party membership and affiliation. It is a case of you are ok until you have defected to another party.
Truth is, practically all these governors of whichever party have blood in their hands financially speaking. Many have stolen their state blind and empty the government coffers for personal gain. But to the people in power, they seem ok until they defect to the opposition; suddenly they are now corrupt. Is it not curious that the alleged corruption upon which Nyako impeachment was predicated took place while he was still a PDP governor, few years back? He was not corrupt then but now he is backdatedly. He only defected to APC recently; but his alleged offenses went back many years before.
But despite these apparent contradictions and self-serving outrage by the Presidency-induced puppets; I actually think these impeachments are healthy for our democracy. Allow me to explain FIVE main reason for my thesis.
- Impeachments will enable all politicians to reflect on the uncertain nature of political office. It will make them realise that nothing is permanent and hopefully self-sensor themselves by curtailing their excesses. In this regard these wave of impending impeachments are healthy.
- Impeachments will reduce the cases of political opportunism. How can you take PDP money to get elected and then simply defect to the opposition after you get into office and expect the PDP to keep silent? You are denying them opportunity to recoup their investment as it is the norm in the aberration called Nigerian political arena.
- Legitimate impeachment of governors that is celebrated by the Presidency, makes it difficult for the Presidency to complain if the President himself is then impeached by the National Assembly at a later date. Afterall what is good for the goose is good for the gander. If the Presidency normalises impeachments; then it helps to strengthen the legitimacy of any future impeachment targeted towards him by the national legislature. So let the Presidency that occupies a glass house continue to throw stones. What goes round comes around.
- If the state legislature (although induced) see the actuality of impeachments in many states; they may in future (when not induced) be embolden to actually impeach deserving governors who do not work for the interest of the people. A lion that has tasted blood will more readily go after a future prey, even when nobody encourages him.
- Impeachments of many governors will hopefully awaken the citizenry to the importance of those they elect into the state houses of assembly. With the frenetic focus of most people on federal offices; many have paid little attention to those vying for state houses. This is because many consider the state legislature as less important. But with several impeachments; people will wake up to the reality of our constitutional arrangements by placing proper value, scrutiny and importance to state legislative contenders in future. This citizen sensitisation is healthy for our democracy.
Our political arrangements in Nigeria at the moment do not give the people a genuine choice. Regardless of the names of their parties; practically all these politicians are of the same egocentric persuasions. More than half of the bigwigs in APC today were all PDP members three years ago. So are they really different? Or they simply defected because they could not have their own way in PDP. Same applies to the APC to PDP defectors too. Hence, I do not belief the defections as we have seen in Nigeria as healthy or helpful to the people. Political prostitutes parade themselves with glee all over the country and the citizens are being made to choose between Satan and the Devil.
The strategic lesson going forward is to encourage politician to stay within their party and fight for what they beliefve, rather than jumping ship like the opportunists many indeed are. Obviously those that find themselves in a new party as a result of political mergers are clear exceptions. Changing political party membership does not make you a better governor or better politician. You are good or bad, all by yourself. There is no political party in Nigeria today that prevents you from being a good and effective governor or legislator if you choose to do so. But what has been happening is that birds of the same corrupt feathers have been flocking together.
So, do I want more impeachments? Yes please. Bring it on. Let the snakes begin to eat their own intestines. Let them begin to destroy the myths of permanency many assume exist in politics. And let them understand that the only true alliance politicians can have is with the people and not with comrades in theft whose loyalty is for sale. When politicians realise that they cannot fully trust themselves; they will realise that their true loyalty should be to the electorates and not their chums.
There is no perfect political structure or institution anywhere in the world. Accordingly the problem we face in Nigeria is not so much about the structure of our politics; but with its players and sponsors. Bad people will make every system bad, but good people will make even a bad system look good. Let the politician who chooses to be good stand their ground and fight for what they belief from within their parties rather than simply jumping ship. This is particularly needful in an ideology-free landscape environment like Nigeria. The other parties are not any better, so why bother.
Politics in any climate is not for the faint hearted. You have to be in the arena to know what it takes. This concept was perfectly captured by a great American president Theodore Roosevelt when he said: “The credit belongs to those who are actually in the arena, who strive valiantly; who know the great enthusiasums, the great devotions, and spend themselves in a worthy cause; who at best know the triumph of high achievement; and who, at worst, if they fail, fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” So be steadfast and work for the people, thou man in the arena.
Dr. Charles Omole is a corporate and political Strategist based in Lagos, with offices in London and New York.