House spokesman disagrees with PDP over call for Buhari’s impeachment

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Spokesman for the House of Representatives Mr. Ben Kalu on Monday reacted to the call by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus leader, Mr. Kingsley Chinda for the commencement of impeachment proceedings against President Muhammadu Buhari Chinda’s for his failure to protect Nigerians from the onslaught by bandits and Boko Haram religious extremists.

Chinda (PDP-Rivers) had, in a press statement last Saturday entitled ‘Nigeria saddled with the circus’ described as “disheartening” to the PDP Caucus that the president “has failed to lead Nigerians from the front as he promised.

“Nigerians are daily and defencelessly killed by terrorists and bandits, while the economy is being freely bleed by public officers,” he said.

The lawmaker was referring to the December 28 beheading of over 60 rice farmers in Zambarmari in Borno State by Boko Haram insurgents.

He said  the reaction by the presidency and the military to such killings “highlight a certain crassness and lame duck attitude that has for the past five years come to define the Buhari presidency.”

He described as “worrisome” the body language of the government which he said had made the terrorists so bold.

Chinda said the PDP lawmakers “observed with deep pain the dastardly attacks on poor farmers which have continued unabated across the vast swathes of northern Nigeria, which act came to a sad climax over the weekend in Zabarmari, near Maiduguri, north east Nigeria.

“The attacks continue to take a consistent pattern – a pattern that results in mass deaths and emboldens the insurgents to embark on more spectacular attacks that provide them national and global attention.

“While the emboldening of terrorists remain sources of worry, the greater worries for us is the do-nothing posturing and the effeminate reactions of the presidency and the military that follow the dastardly attacks”.

“The reactions of the presidency and the military highlight a certain crassness and lame duck attitude that has for the past five years come to define the Buhari presidency.” He lamented that

“Northern Nigeria has long become the vortex of massacres. From Buni Yadi, Gamboru, Baga, Gwoza, Shiroro, Konduga, Kawuri, Southern Kaduna to Benue and certainly everywhere else in Nigeria, lives are being snatched by insurgents, bandits and kidnappers who have no respect for the sanctity of life. ”

He therefore called on Nigerians to “compel their representatives in the national assembly to immediately commence impeachment proceedings against President Muhammadu Buhari for gross incompetence and persistent and continuous breach of Section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution.

The Section provides that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.

The caucus also called on the members of the federal executive council to invoke the provisions of Section 144 (1) of the Constitution by declaring that the President is incapable of discharging the functions of the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The section provides that “the president or vice-president shall cease to hold office, if by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of all the members of the executive council of the federation, it is declared that the president or vice-president is incapable of discharging the functions of his office.”

But in his spokesman for the  House, Mr. Ben Kalu, said Chinda made the call wrongfully to distract the members.

In statement entitled ‘Re: “Nigeria saddled with the circus” – Hon Kingsley Chinda and his lone voyage of impeachment call,” Kalu said Chinda was expressing a personal opinion.

The statement reads: “The attention of the House of Representatives and her leadership has been drawn to the press release by Hon Kingsley Chinda, titled “ Nigeria saddled with the circus” circulated over most dailies on the 6th of December, 2020, where he called on constituents irrespective of political party, tribe or religion to compel their representatives to commence impeachment process against the president .

“This opinion of a single member of the opposition party in the house has been misinterpreted by journalists as the voice of the entire House of Representatives when it does not represent the weakest opinion of the minority-caucus of the 9th House. Even among the minority caucus, Hon Kingsley Chinda lost the opportunity to speak for the entire minority when he lost the minority leadership election to Hon Ndudi Elumelu the minority leader of the 9th Assembly, a wound that has refused to heal.

“It is the structure of the minority caucus leadership and majority caucus leadership that is recognised by the House as any statement not emanating from these and the spokesperson of the House does not in any way reflect either the minority, majority or general position of the 9th House of Representatives and should be disregarded like his other divisive, distracting, destabilising and destructive positions. Just last week the speaker warned the media to desist from ascribing to the House the opinion of a single member, since we have a spokesperson.

“The motive behind this press release as well as the timing leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of most progressives who were instructed by their constituents to request for an interaction with the president, a task many thought was not possible seeing that in the history of our modern democracy none of the past presidents obliged the parliamentary request for an interactive session and none of the past leaderships of the assembly was able to use parliamentary back channel diplomacy, adopted and applied by the current leadership to secure the acceptance of Mr. President to this invitation. An outing that has strengthened our democratic principles.

“If this call came post President’s visit for the failure to dialogue well enough in securing solutions or due to his inability to put our positions to use, it would appear logical. This call is not only illogical, it appears as a tool strategically thrown up to disrupt the agenda of the coming visit with all it sets out to achieve in the spirit of nation building which remains the mantra of the 9th Assembly and is considered a joint task.

“In the view of the 9th Assembly, it would remain a call made wrongfully to distract the members whose minds are set on the visit and the expected achievements. It is surprising that Hon Kingsley Chinda, was among those who insisted on the invitation of the president, probably expecting a gross disregard from the president who surprisingly broke the jinx and kindly obliged our request.

“Isn’t it obvious that apparently shocked by the acceptance of Mr. President, he is on a new lonely voyage of personal agenda strange to the legislative agenda of the house and leadership? Where was his constitutional impeachment voice when his previous presidents of PDP extractions were invited but ignored the house, wondering why he is just remembering his constitution now that a president is coming to accept our inputs to the solutions he is seeking.

“I, therefore, assure Nigerians that having asked us to invite Mr. President which we have done, you should be patient to wait for the outcome of our meeting, before been misled by a alone voice on the frolic of his own, whose private opinion in no way represents the position of the House of Representatives. We have only invited Mr. President for an interactive session and cannot be distracted by those with other self not House motivated agenda.”

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