In Nigeria, a State House of Assembly (legislature) can institute impeachment proceedings against the governor (executive) after a motion has been moved.
It’s one of the major checks and balances used by the legislature to ensure that the head of an executive doesn’t go beyond their constitutional power.
Who are the impeached governors in Nigeria?
Below is a list of Nigerian governors who were impeached from 1981 to date
Alhaji Balarabe Musa (1981)
Balarabe Musa was the first executive governor to be impeached in Nigeria’s political history. Balarabe Musa was the governor of Kaduna State between 1979 till 1981 when he was removed by the Kaduna State House of Assembly.
He was a member of the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) while the state assembly was dominated by Nigerian People’s Party (NPN) members. As such, he was impeached by the NPN-dominated House of Assembly.
He was kicked out of office because he refused to include NPN members in his nomination list of commissioners which the state House of Assembly rejected
Diepreye Alamieyeseigha (2005)
How Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha escaped from U.K. police custody after he was caught with £1m in his home remained a mystery.
The police later found £1.8m ($3.2m) in cash and bank accounts and a London property worth £10 million.
Alamieyeseigha allegedly disguised as a woman to escape arrest. He was later found in his Bayelsa home.
By December 9, 2005, Alamieyeseigha was impeached by Bayelsa State House of Assembly for allegations of corruption, theft of public funds, stealing and abuse of office, and money laundering.
He was the first governor to be impeached in Nigeria’s fourth republic. Alamieyeseigha died on October 10, 2015.
Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja (2006)
On January 12, 2006, Rashidi Ladoja was impeached as the Governor of Oyo State by 18 Oyo State House of Assembly lawmakers who had allegedly collected bribes from the “top”
He challenged his impeachment, and on November 1, 2006, the Appeal Court in Ibadan reinstated him, declaring the process of his impeachment null and void.
But he would not resume office until the Supreme Court upheld the decision on November 11, 2009, and Ladaja officially resumed office on December 12, 2006.
Some year after, Ladoja disclosed in an interview that he was illegally removed from office because he had the effrontery to challenge Olusegun Obasanjo’s third-term agenda.
Towards the end of his second term as Nigeria’s president, Olusegun Obasanjo planned an amendment of the constitution to allow him to run for a third term.
Nigeria’s 1999 constitution only allows two-term for state governors and the President.
Ayo Fayose (2006)
In the southwest geopolitical zone, Fayose was the first governor to be impeached in the fourth republic. The former Ekiti State governor was kicked out of office on October 16, 2006, by the Ekiti State House of Assembly.
Fayose was accused of mismanaging the state resources, abuse of office, throwing the state into crisis and lawlessness which led to a declaration of State of Emergency.
Fayose would late stage a comeback and won his party (PDP) ticket, won the governorship election and was sworn in on October 16, 2014.
Peter Obi (2006)
The soft-spoken Peter Obi faced a lot of political challenges during his tenure as governor. Obi was impeached on November 2, 2006, by the Anambra State House of Assembly.
The state house of assembly led by Mr. Mike Balonwu accused him of gross misconduct.
But Mr Obi later revealed that the Anambra House of Assembly colluded to impeach him because he refused to inflate the state budget.
He challenged the impeachment and was reinstated by Nigeria’s apex court on February 9, 2007. He later decamped to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and later to the Labour Party where he is standing as one of the presidential candidates in the 2023 elections.
Joshua Dariye (2006)
Another dramatic impeachment in Nigeria’s political history happened in Plateau State where 8 out of 24 members of the Plateau State House of Assembly impeached Joshua Dariye.
How it happened:
In October 2006, eight of the twenty-four state lawmakers had gathered within the assembly complex to issue an impeachment notice against Dariye.
In order to show solidarity with the governor, his supporter gathered to prevent the overzealous 8 lawmakers from entering the Assembly complex, riot policemen were drafted into the area, and they shot dead two supporters of Dariye.
Dariye was removed by November 13, 2006. Dariye appealed his removal and on March 10, 2007, a Court of Appeal ordered Dariye’s reinstatement, which the Plateau House of Assembly denied and appealed to the Supreme Court.
The apex court upheld the ruling of the Appeal Court and ruled his immediate reinstatement on April 27, 2007.
A former Chief of Naval Staff was caught in Nigeria’s political drama. His military skills failed him as the Adamawa State House of Assembly deployed their political abracadabra and impeached Murtala Nyako on July 15, 2014.
The state lawmakers accused the former military man of corruption including theft of public funds, abuse of office and money laundering.
Nyako fought back by appealing his illegal removal, and on February 11, 2016, the Court of Appeal declared the impeachment null and void.
Also, the Supreme Court on December 16, 2016, upheld the ruling of the Appeal Court and also ruled that all his entitlements accrued from the date of impeachment be paid to him.
He never stepped into the government house as the apex court was silent on his reinstatement,
Most times, processes of impeaching a state governor in Nigeria are not constitutionally followed, it is done in a commando way under the watch of heavily-armed security men loyal to a particular political godfather.
Most times, the Federal Government plays a huge role (behind the scene) to remove a state governor for the governor’s perceived ‘disloyalty’. Nigeria experienced a high spate of removal of state governors under the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (between 1999 to 2007).
Why was Balarabe Musa impeached?
The NPN-dominated house of assembly accused him of not constituting a cabinet, he was impeached and Balarabe Musa became the first executive governor to be removed from office by a state house of assembly.
But he would later reveal that he was impeached because he planned to have the state open small- and medium-sized industries, and this would deny the NPN members the opportunity of establishing their own enterprises
How many state governors have ever been impeached in Nigeria since 1979 till date?
Seven executive governors have been impeached since 1981 till date. However, many state deputy governors and Speakers of the House of Assembly had been removed in controversial manners in the past.
Can a state governor in Nigeria be removed?
Yes, a Nigerian state governor can be removed if he is found of gross misconduct.
However, in Nigeria, state lawmakers most times use their power to settle political differences. They collude to illegally remove a governor.
When was Peter Obi impeached as Anambra governor?
Peter Obi was impeached on November 2, 2006, but he challenged his removal and he was restored as Anambra governor by the Supreme Court on February 9, 2007
|Balarabe Musa||June 23, 1981||Kaduna||No|
|Diepreye Alamieyeseigha||December 9, 2005||Bayelsa||No|
|Rashidi Ladoja||January 12, 2006||Oyo||Yes|
|Ayo Fayose||October 16, 2006||Ekiti||No|
|Peter Obi||November 2, 2006||Anambra||Yes|
|Joshua Dariye||November 13, 2006||Plateau||Yes|
|Murtala Nyako||Murtala Nyako||Adamawa||No|
- Featured photo by Daily Trust
- Ijeoma Ezekwere (February 9, 2007). “Nigeria reinstates impeached Anambra state governor”. Reuters.com. Retrieved March 15, 2022