Some senators and members of the House of Representatives as well as sociocultural organisations on Thursday expressed divergent views on the call by the spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Father Ejike Mbaka, on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign or be impeached.
The cleric, who publicly supported the candidature of President Buhari in the build-up to the 2015 elections, said “God is angry with the president.”
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His call for Buhari’s resignation or impeachment came 24 hours after a renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi raised the alarm that nobody is safe anymore in the country, and challenged the president to act.
While some members of the National Assembly said Father Mbaka was right, others said the suggestion was overkill.
The Yoruba sociocultural organisation, Afenifere, said the president’s removal was long overdue but its counterpart in the North, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) said the reverend father should concentrate on his spiritual calling, insisting that he was confusing his followers by delving into politics.
Presidential spokesmen, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu were not reachable for comments by Father Mbaka on their principal to resign. The duo did not pick phone calls placed to them. The text messages sent to them were not replied to.
Speaking at the Adoration Ministry in Enugu, Mbaka had said; “I know people will say, Mbaka did you not pray for Buhari, did Samuel not anoint Saul? What are you talking about? Am I the creator of Buhari? God created him, Nigerians trusted him because he has done well some time ago but now, how can people just be dying?
“God will ask Nigerians: Nigerians why are you crying? We are crying because our leaders have failed us woefully. If it is in a civilised country, by now, President Buhari will resign. Quote me anywhere and let the whole world hear it. By now, with what is happening, President Buhari should honourably resign.
“We are crying because we don’t have a shepherd. All those that will fight what I am saying now will eventually suffer the rot. If you can’t do it, either you resign or you be changed. A good coach cannot watch his team defeated when he has players sitting watching on the bench. Either Buhari resigns by himself or he will be impeached.”
Turning to lawmakers, the cleric said: “If the members of these two houses do not want to impeach him and they want to begin to fight Father Mbaka, something worse than what they ever imagined will happen to the members of the Senate and members of the House of Representatives. Disaster is coming.”
Curiously, Father Mbaka also blessed the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu “for championing the cause of his people.”
He spoke highly of Kanu whose group has been proscribed and labelled a terrorist organisation by the federal government.
“Up till today, I don’t know who Nnamdi Kanu is. I have never seen him face to face. Look at my hand on the altar. But I want to tell you something. Wherever he is, may God bless him. Because if somebody has risen to shout that his brothers are suffering, is it a crime? May the lord bless his courage,” Mbaka said.
‘Impeachment long overdue’
A ranking lawmaker, who is an APC chieftain, said the impeachment of President Buhari was long overdue.
The lawmaker, who does not want to be named, said in a telephone interview: “His impeachment is long overdue because the main purpose of government, as enshrined in section 14 (2b) of the 1999 Constitution is security and welfare of the citizens; but as it is now, Nigerians are neither secured nor their welfare is being taken care of. So, it means the purpose of Buhari in government has been defeated.The lawmaker, however, said the president cannot be impeached.
“The president cannot be impeached because he has the leadership of both chambers. That was why at the inauguration of the 9th assembly, the presidency ensured that its candidates were the ones that got elected as presiding officers.
Another lawmaker tongue-lashed the president, saying no sane person will defend failure.
His words: “I’m not happy with the way the president is managing the country. Defending him will amount to contradicting my conscience. But another senator countered saying the insecurity in Nigeria is a “serious problem” inherited by President Buhari. “Why are we crucifying the president as if he is the architect of the problems?” the senator retorted.
“The situation would have been worse if it were another person. Buhari met Nigeria in comatose when he took over, he is doing his best and should all play our parts and we address the security challenges in our immediate environments,” he said. On his part, a former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, warned that Nigeria was fast falling apart and burning to death but said could be redeemed. He spoke on Thursday at the 10th Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Umuahia themed, ‘Let us Rebuild and End this Reproach.’
The Senator, who was represented by the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Alex Chiedozie Ogbonnia, said the country was at crossroads and it was high time leaders urgently rescue it.
Similarly, a member of the House of Representatives, Dachung Bagos (PDP, Plateau), said the National Assembly will move to impeach Buhari if the executive does not act on its resolutions on security.
Bagos, who was referring to the 40-member special committee on security inaugurated by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila on Wednesday said impeachment processes will be initiated if the summit’s resolutions were not acted upon by the executive.
The lawmaker spoke on a Channels Television programme, Sunrise Daily on Thursday.
Contacted, the House Spokesperson, Rep. Benjamin Okezie Kalu (APC, Abia), said the House will work with its resolutions on all issues.
“At all times, the parliament will continue to put the interest of the nation first before that of any political office holder in this country and that includes us.
“The resolution of the house will define as usual our expectations and outline our lines of actions thereto. Till then it will be wrong to pre-empt it.”
Impeachment not solution – Sen Kaita
Senator Ahmad Babba Kaita, who represents Katsina North Senatorial District, where President Buhari hails from, after lamenting the deteriorating insecurity in the country said impeachment was not the solution. Kaita, who chairs the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND said nobody is happy with the happenings in the country but that impeachment is not the way out.
“Nobody is happy with what is happening, with the situation we find ourselves, the spilling of blood in the land, no sane human being will be happy with what is happening but impeachment is not the solution to our problems rather, what we need is for all the three arms of government and other stakeholders to rally round Mr President and help him out of the mess we find ourselves. The blood being spilled is unacceptable,” he said.
On Tuesday, Senator Sani Musa (APC, Niger), had said that impeachment would worsen the rising insecurity situation.
“I do not subscribe to a situation whereby because we have the legislative powers to impeach, that we are bringing a motion for impeachment. No. This is not the time for a motion on impeachment. We are just at the mid-term of this administration. What we need now is to focus and see where we go,” he said.
The Senate has declined to comment on Mbaka’s call. Senate spokesperson, Senator Ajibola Basiru, did not respond to the calls and WhatsApp messages to him seeking reaction of the Red Chamber on the impeachment call.
Buhari should have resigned since – Afenifere
The Pan Yoruba Sociocultural organisation, Afenifere, yesterday backed the call for the resignation of Buhari over rising insecurity in the country.
Leader of the group, Pa Ayo Adebanjo in a chat with Daily Trust said the president should have long resigned, noting that the country was collapsing under his watch.
“Young officers are being killed on a daily basis. He should have gone since; he is just doing things that will make the country to break. He should go. Law and order have broken down. It is only God that can save us from Buhari now.”
You’re confusing your congregation – ACF tells Mbaka
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has called on Father Mbaka to stop venturing into political matters and concentrate on his spiritual and religious callings. It said Mbaka had only succeeded in confusing Nigerians especially his congregation.
ACF’s National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, said, “He should concentrate on spiritual and religious matters and leave politics to the politicians, his comments on politics are rather confusing people including his followers.”
Yawe, who spoke with Daily Trust on phone, said though the increasing insecurity in Nigeria remained a thing of concern to everyone, Father Mbaka’s statement asking the National Assembly to impeach the president showed he had delved into political matters.
“He is not only talking of the president resigning but that the National Assembly should impeach him, which is a full political exercise. It is a political trial of an elected leader and so there is an extent to which a religious person can deviate into politics; that remains unacceptable.
“In that his Catholic church, you have the president’s supporters and you have those who oppose the president and by the way Father Mbaka speaks, sometimes when he is supporting the president, he offends those who are against the president and when he is not supporting the president, he also offends those who support him and because of this, his spiritual messages will then hardly be accepted by all those who go to his church.”
Speaking on security in the country, he said: “The president is too relaxed as if people are not dying, as if people are not being held prisoners against their will. These people will go to a university and start shooting students and the body language of the president doesn’t seem as if he is disturbed by what is going on.”
President can’t be impeached by mere call- Lawyers
Lawyers have unanimously declared that mere call by a citizen cannot warrant the removal of the president except there are impeachable offences.
Dayo Akinlaja, SAN, said although Mbaka has the constitutional freedom of expression and opinion, it was not the right approach to commence the president’s impeachment.
“There is nothing beyond saying what he said. Having said it, there are options for the president to consider. If the president is of the candid view that in view of the circumstances in the country, that it is worthwhile for him to resign and he accedes the request, you cannot fault the president. The constitution recognises that the president can resign.
“It is left for the National Assembly to see whether or not there is good cause for them to commence impeachment proceedings. But certainly, it cannot be on the basis that a priest said the president should resign and the president has refused to do so,” he said.
Similarly, Yusuf Ali, SAN, said impeachment procedure cannot be based on mere call but there must be a list of impeachable offences against a particular public official like the president.
For his part, Yusuf Buhari Esq said the call for the president’s impeachment is more political than legal since there are no clear grounds of a misnomer by the president which would warrant a Nigerian citizen to call for the impeachment.
Mbaka playing politics with vision – APC
Contacted, the APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, cautioned Mbaka to stop playing politics with his vision about Nigeria.
“He should be careful. He should stop playing politics with his vision about Nigeria, if not, he will be exposed. Mbaka has entered too deep into politics. He does not understand the meaning of spiritual warfare that is why he is saying those things.
“After seeing the vision he should pray for Nigeria and not condemn it. He should fast and pray for Nigeria and not involved in politics,” the ruling party said.
By Ismail Mudashir, Saawua Terzungwe, John C. Azu, Balarabe Alkassim, Muideen Olaniyi, Abdullateef Salau (Abuja) & Abdullateef Aliyu (Lagos), Lami Sadiq (Kaduna)