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Reps threaten to impeach Jonathan over budget
The House of Representatives, yesterday, threatened to impeach President Goodluck Jonathan if his Finance Minister fails to release funds for MDAS in September.
The House had equally scored the Federal Government below average in all spheres as various committee chairmen scored all the MDAs they did oversight extremely low.
The member representing Surulere constituency, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila who initiated the debate on budget implementation affirmed that the House would be left with the option of impeachment of the president if by September the economy is not improved with the budget.
He stated in his argument that “the President had come to the floor of the House with a budget which he called transformation budget but it is a budget of abracadabra and voodoo.”
As the entire House embraced his suggestion with extreme noise of acceptance, Gbajabiamila said: “The president is not doing anybody any favour as constituency projects are done all over the world.I have met the President, he is a fine man, I like him but I like my country more because when the budget is not implemented, our constituents suffer and it leads to lack of infrastructure; so come September, if the budget is not 100 per cent implemented, we will start to throw articles of impeachment at the president”
On a contrary opinion, Hon Nado Terembe representing Bayelsa, raised a point of Order that Order 9 Rule 61 was being violated.
He said: “Gbajabiamila’s contribution is not in alignment with the first motion or bill on the floor so impeaching the president is not relevant in this issue”.
However, it took the intervention of the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal who presided, to sustained his point of order as the house was visited with conflict of ideas on the matter. Gbajabiamilla was then asked to continue as directed by the speaker.
The Minority Leader intervened saying: “Let me point out a superior Order which is Section 143 of the constitution. For avoidance of doubts, the President may be removed in accordance with the law whenever he is found guilty in the performance of his duties.”
The House began action when a. Motion supported by 21 members was presented to the House by Hon Albert Sám Tsokwa. The ADOPTION of the resolution tagged ‘ non-implementation of 2012 budget “ took effect as a result of the House’s careful deliberations.
Sam had expressed fear on the collapse of so many things in the country due to non-implementation of budget in the seventh month of the 2012 fiscal year, noting that even after seven months capital budget implementation by various MDAs was yet to be at sight.
The lawmaker had complained that, in spite of the fact that the MDAs had reached advanced stages in the implementation of the procurement process, contracts award letters were yet to be issued due to unavailability of funds.
Hon. Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi (PDP-Enugu) who supported the motion said that the House should suspend its initial plans to interface with the Ministry of Finance and other relevant agencies of government.
Hon. Samson Osagie (ACN-Orhionwhon/Ohuede), Minority Whip vehemently asserted that the executive for the first time must be taught the necessary lesson on non-implementation of the budget.
Lamenting over the terrible state of roads across the country, House Committee Chairman on Works, Hon Ogbuefo Ozomgbachi said “the nonpayment of contractors has resulted in the stalling of road construction across the nation” He buttressed his point by stating that the failure of the Minister of Finance to release fund was a clear violation of the law of the land.
In its unanimous resolution, the House submitted that the nation was failing in its entirety and advised the government to ensure that the people feel the positive impact of democracy.
Jonathan reacts to Impeachment threat
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan had reacted to the impeachment threat by the House, stating that he was on the same page with the House on the budget issue, and that there was no cause for alarm. Speaking through his Special Advicer on Communication, Mr. Reuben Abati, Jonathan said that he had instructed his ministers to ensure a speedy approach towards budget implementation.
According to Abati “The House and the President are on the same page on budget implementation. Just as the House is concerned, Mr. President is concerned too. What happened today (yesterday) in the House was ironic and a big coincidence because two ministries: interior and police affairs were in the Villa to make presentations on their key performance index.
“Each ministry came with all the parastatals under it and presented their KPI in relation to Budget 2012. They were required to state their mandates, the money they collected under Budget 2012, their level of performance and their challenges if any and then define their next steps. After each presentation, there was robust discussion.”