Former Senate President and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim, says arbitrary change of presiding officers of the 4th Assembly was why the lawmakers moved to impeach former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Anyim stated this on Monday in his address during a public lecture of the National Assembly Legislative Digest, which held at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Conference Centre in Abuja.
The former SGF described a situation where the impeachment of a presiding officer of the legislature is regarded as democracy in action, while that of the executive is seen as democracy under threat ,as unacceptable.
According to him, “a contrived impeachment of any elected officer in any arm of government is unhealthy for democracy,” urging both arms of government to avoid impeachment at all costs.
“On 29th May, 1999, the 4th National Assembly was inaugurated and one of the daunting challenges was the legislative-executive tango over the selection of leadership.
“When we met with Gowon and other former Heads of State, we shared one concern, that is the fact that a situation where impeachment of presiding officers of the National Assembly is regarded as democracy in action and that of the executive arm as democracy under threat is unacceptable,” Anyim said.
He added that the 4th Assembly, through the passage of both the EFCC Act and the ICPC Act, gave life to the institutional fight against corruption and abuse of office by elected officers.
In his own remarks, another senator in the 4th Assembly, Jonathan Zwingina, expressed concern over the deteriorating image of the National Assembly, saying journalists must be educated on the rights, privileges and duties of that arm of government.