Impeachment is a constitutional means of removing an elected official from office for offences ranging from mismanagement, misconduct, embezzlement and gross misconduct.
Impeaching a state governor in Nigeria involves a lot of behind the scene consultations and persuasion to win the majority, most times members of the state house of assembly are bribed to vote against or in favour of impeaching a state governor.
What are the processes of impeaching a state governor in Nigeria?
The process of impeaching the Nigerian state governor is contained in Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution.
Step 1: A written allegation of gross misconduct against the governor must be signed by at least one-third of the members of the State House of Assembly and presented to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly.
Step 2: Within seven days, the Speaker of the House of Assembly is expected to serve the state governor with a copy of the notice of allegation.
Step 3: The Governor has a right to reply to the allegation levelled against him. The state lawmakers must be served each with the response from the governor.
Step 4: Within 14 days of the presentation of the notice to the Speaker of the House, they shall resolve by motion without any debate whether or not the allegation shall be investigated.
The motion must be passed by at least two-thirds majority of all members of the State House of Assembly.
Step 5: If the motion fails to get two-thirds, the process shall be halted. If the required votes is met, then the Speaker shall within 7 days of the passing of the motion, request the Chief Judge of the State to appoint a Panel to investigate the allegations.
Members of the panel should not have a political affiliation
Step 6: Within three months, The Panel is expected to report its findings to the State House of Assembly.
During the proceedings of the Panel, the Governor shall have a right to defend himself or have the right to be defended by a legal practitioner.
Note: Oyo State house of assembly which impeached Adewolu Ladoja in 2016 didn’t follow due process. Thugs were invited into the complex to prevent lawmakers who were loyal to the governors from gaining entry into the Oyo State House of Assembly complex.
Step 7: Where the allegations of gross misconduct against the governor can not be proven, the impeachment proceedings shall end right there.
If the allegations can be substantiated, the House of Assembly shall consider the report and a resolution for adoption of the report shall be moved.
Step 8: At least two-thirds of members of the House of Assembly must vote in support of the resolution to be adopted and the governor shall be impeached while his motion to swear in his deputy shall be moved immediately and adopted.
It should be noted that there are several factors that could end the tenure of a governor of a state in Nigeria, they include:
- Annulment of their election by court due to irregularities
At the time of this publication, seven state governors are on the list of impeached executive governors in Nigeria, though some of them challenged their impeachment in court which were invalidated by the court.
Most of the impeachments of state governors in Nigeria are illegal or didn’t follow the due process
Impeachment is used as a tool by political foes to punish their opponent
Most of the impeachments in Nigeria went violent, some of them leading to the death of supporters or serious injuries.
And since Nigeria returned to democratic rule on May 29, 1999, the most impeachment took place during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
It’s only in Nigeria where the minority has ever impeached a governor.
- Featured image by Voice of Nigeria
- Obayemi Olumide (August 26 2014). “Procedural and Substantive Rules for Impeaching Governors in Nigeria”. Proshareng.com. Retrieved March 18, 2022