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How plot to impeach Atiku failed, by Rep

Posted by From John-Abba Ogbodo, Emmanuel Ande (Yola), Azimazi Momoh Jimoh (Abuja) on 2006/04/11 | Views: 1183 |

How plot to impeach Atiku failed, by Rep


UNTIL it blew open last week, the difference between President Olusegun Obasanjo and his deputy, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, had mostly seemed superficial or just part of random tales imagined from high places. But disclosures yesterday point to long existing intrigues in the relationship between the country's first two helmsmen.

UNTIL it blew open last week, the difference between President Olusegun Obasanjo and his deputy, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, had mostly seemed superficial or just part of random tales imagined from high places. But disclosures yesterday point to long existing intrigues in the relationship between the country's first two helmsmen.

At the National Hospital Abuja, a member of the House of Representatives, Francis Amadiegwu, disclosed that but for self-counter moves by pro-Atiku legislators, a motion for the vice president's impeachment would have been presented on the floors of the two chambers of the National Assembly about a month ago.

The disclosure came as the Adamawa State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) called on the Vice President to resign and face treason charges.

According to Amadiegwu, who is on admission for spinal cord injury he sustained in the encounter with security operatives who disrupted the meeting of anti-third term legislators at the Sheraton Hotel last Thursday, the impeachment plot blew open when a governor held a meeting with National Assembly members from his state over the proposed motion.

Amadiegwu disclosed that having got wind of the plot, the anti-third term members, in a counter-move, quickly revisited the alleged impeachable offences of President Olusegun Obasanjo himself.

According to him, it was this counter-move, which checkmated the plot to present the motion for Atiku's impeachment. And all had seemed resolved until last week's encounter and outburst.

However, fresh trouble reared its head yesterday against the vice president as the PDP in his home state, Adamawa, not only called on him to resign, but also asked the Federal Government to try him for treason.

Addressing journalists yesterday in Yola, the state PDP Public Relations Officer, Mr. Musa Kamale, accused Atiku of engaging in anti-party and anti-government activities, declaring that the vice president's recent actions were calculated to discredit the present administration and cause chaos in the country.

But Senator Saidu Dansadau (ANPP) has commended Atiku for speaking against the alleged third term agenda of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Kamale said that for Atiku to attend the meeting of the opposition and declared his preparedness to fight an administration in which he is second in command meant that he had a dangerous hidden agenda against the President. The only way to protect democracy in Nigeria, he said, was for the Vice President to quit office.

"If Atiku is not happy with the present government's policies, it is better and more honourable for him to resign instead of using public funds to fight the same government he is serving."

"Our call for his resignation is to avoid a breakdown of law and order. Atiku is trying to cause crisis in the country by inciting the public against government through his false comments and mispresentation of the present administration's policies", Kamale said.

Kamale also advised Atiku and his loyalists to redirect their resources towards building their new political party for the 2007 general elections.

Also at the press conference, the state PDP secretary, Dr. Idris Hong, disassociated the party from the proposed third term agenda, saying that it was a project of the National Assembly and not the PDP.

He said: "PDP as a party has no constitutional powers to amend any section of the constitution. It is only the National Assembly in collaboration with state assemblies that can amend the constitution, not even the President."

Hong advised those against the proposed third term bid to channel their complaints to the appropriate quarters and stop linking PDP with the controversy.

Meanwhile, members of the Turaki Vanguard, Atiku's campaign organisation, have criticised those calling for his resignation. The group said that Atiku has constitutional rights of freedom of expression and that PDP executive lacks powers to remove him from office.

Spokesman for the group, Mr. Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, said that apart from the National Assembly, no individual, group of persons or the President had the powers to remove Atiku.

Dansadau also faulted the plan by the ruling PDP to sanction Atiku, pointing out that the move was unconstitutional.

"I am amazed that PDP is contemplating taking disciplinary action against Vice President Atiku Abubakar because as a matter of fact, what he did on Wednesday evening was an exercise of his rights as guaranteed by Section 39 of the constitution," said Dansadau.

According to him, the issue of third term was one on which every Nigerian must a take position unless he was a coward.

His words: "In my candid opinion, I think President Obasanjo should take a position because this thing is purely a national issue. For him to remain quiet and say he has no position, I think it is cowardice. That is why I am commending Atiku for summoning the courage to say that he is against third term and being against third term is an advancement of sustainable democracy."

Dansadau wondered why the PDP did not punish many prominent Nigerians, including its national chairman, Senator Ahmadu Ali, and some state governors who had declared for the third term project.

He said that the anti-third term group in the National Assembly had invited Atiku to its last Wednesday meeting in Abuja because members had through interaction with him, known that Atiku was against the agenda.

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