A former lawmaker representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Shehu Sani has stated that it would be technically impossible to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari with less than one year to the end of his tenure.
Recall that minority lawmakers in the Senate had last week given President Buhari six weeks to address the general insecurity in the country or risk impeachment.
The PDP caucus in the House of Representatives also joined in the six-week ultimatum after a meeting of the National Assembly PDP caucus.
Although the presidency described the impeachment threat as “babyish antics of the opposition”, some senators of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have backed the impeachment move.
Speaking on Wednesday during a Premium Times forum on Twitter Space, Shehu Sani urged opposition lawmakers to focus on the 2023 general elections.
Although he is disposed to impeach the president over the worsening security situation, Sani noted the complex nature of impeachment as provided in the 1999 Constitution makes it technically impossible to do this before next year’s election.
He said: “At a time like this, what should be most important is how to dislodge the present political party. Any other thing can be a serious distraction.
“The Chairman (Iyorcha Ayu) of the PDP was also a former Senate President. He knows the details and the issues in the National Assembly. I think the party should preoccupy itself with the strategy on how to win the election.
“Dissipating energy on the issue of impeachment can even affect the next election. If it is easier, I believe the president should be impeached today, and if there would be no consequences. If you go to the details, it would take months and with leadership like Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, who are already in sync with the government, it is going to be energy wasted.”
Distraction called 2023 general election
The former lawmaker stated that most senators would be occupied with activities leading to the 2023 general election, adding that it would be difficult to have a full quorum in the national assembly to impeach the president.
Shehu Sani said: “At a period like this in the National Assembly, when the whole tenure of the administration is coming to an end– and they already proceeded on annual recess, by the time they are back, there would never be a full quorum in the National Assembly.
“Many seats will be empty until the end of the year because the senators and Reps will have to retrieve back to their constituencies, struggling for their political lives.”
He said he believes the impeachment threat “is more symbolic to send a message to the president that he has failed and the National Assembly is taking him on.”
“What is important is for them to summon the service chiefs continuously and to call for their removal. That is within the purview of the president.
“But it could have been good for the president to be impeached. As someone who has been within the system, I know that it is technically impossible.”
Naija News reports that at least two-thirds of lawmakers must back any impeachment of the president, which means the opposition lawmakers – who have less than half of the population of each of the two chambers of the National Assembly – will need to convince about half the APC lawmakers to impeach Buhari.