CISLAC cautions Houses Of Assembly against arbitrary use of Impeachment Powers

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) notes with great concern the sudden resurgence in the spate of impeachment and threats spreading across the political landscape and calls on lawmakers in the states Houses of Assembly not to abuse their powers of impeachment or deploy it arbitrarily.

CISLAC had always been and continues to advocate for strong legislature with capacity to make laws for peace, security and good governance at both federal and state levels and hold the executive accountable through effective oversight and representation, including invoking the power of impeachment where the need arises, in a transparent and responsible manner to serve the interest of justice fairness and the electorate and not vindictively or to score cheap political points.

We are however concerned that the ongoing spate of impeachments may not pass the test of credibility, popularity and rationality, if closely examined. Without prejudice to the right, duties and powers of state legislature to impeach erring executives, we are worried that many of the reasons invoked are either belated or flimsy. Others are indulgent and ridiculous with the procedures flawed and hurried in a manner that casts doubts as to the motives behind the actions.

CISLAC wonders why legislators would overlook acts of corruption or having failed to discharge their functions of oversight effectively or worse still, benefitted from such corrupt practices and looked the other way, suddenly awake retroactively to exhume such corrupt practices and use them as allegations for which a governor should be impeached. We consider this an indictment of the concerned legislators, an abuse of power and process and a betrayal of the trust reposed in them by the electorate.

We wish to note that with the spate of insecurity on some parts of our nation, which is spreading gradually, avoidable impeachment of executive governors few months to the end of their tenure may not be the most progressive actions law makers can take at this point of our national development. We are convinced that precious legislative time can be deployed into more constructive and people-impacting interventions.

We call on members of states Houses of Assembly to concentrate on using their positions to promote community development, peace-building and citizens’ welfare through effective oversight and representation rather than engage in issues that could further polarizes the people, heat up the polity, create acrimony and fuel intolerance and conflict.

We also call on them to channel their energies to promoting good governance and peaceful coexistence by committing themselves to performing their legislative functions putting the interest of the electorate first and above selfish and parochial interests. They must act with sincerity, integrity and uphold their independence and the principle of fairness and justice.

We remind them that they are accountable to the electorate and must uphold due process, the rule of law and constitutionalism in the discharge of their duties. They must discharge their responsibilities with the highest sense of responsibility.

Signed
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Executive Director of CISLAC

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