The Guardian, May 23, 2005
The Presidential Library launch
The grand project launch of an unprecedented scale in the history of
Nigeria that flagged off a prestigious and ambitious Obasanjo
presidential library complex in Abeokuta, Ogun State, recently,
brought together the cream of the major players in the country's
political, industrial, financial and business empires. The
US$50million (N7 billion) project raked in N4 billion at the launch
excluding the unannounced US$20 million said to have been donated by
the oil majors operating in Nigeria.
The list of high profile donors among others is instructive:
Consortium of banks - N622million; 36 State Governors (or
Governments?) - N360million; Mike Adenuga - N250million; Aliko
Dangote and friends - N200million; Femi Otedola - N200million; NPA
community - US$1million; Ogun State Governor (or Government?) -
N100million; Obasanjo Holdings - N100million; Sunny Odogwu -
N100million; Arisekola Alao - N100million; etc.
There was a handsome roll of donors offering sums below N100 million.
Obviously the magnitude of donations calls to question the tax regime
of some donors in an economy many experts believe is not doing well.
It is clear that substantial donations have come from governors and
government functionaries, as well as others who enjoy government
patronage and related privileged opportunities. Without casting
aspersions on President Obasanjo's profile in governance, or being
overly critical of a project of such significance as a presidential
library, the launch of the novel enterprise in the president's home
state at this point in time does throw up a number of intriguing
questions about the whys and wherefores behind the concept.
It is not known whether President Obasanjo ever nursed the dream of
owning a presidential library or raised the prospect of setting up
one in his encounters with President Bush or with the other
ex-presidents of the United States. Said to be an honourable and
transparent man, his modus for sourcing funds for such a project, if
it did occur to him, may not have been as ambitious as that engaged
by the promoters of the project.
What can be deduced however is that from all accounts the library
project has been conceived as a parting presidential gift and
birthday present from those who feel compelled to devise a means of
acknowledging a gigantic presidential handshake for favours extended
in diverse ways. But what a gift! In doing so, they have advanced
reasons, some of them disingenuous and unconvincing, for
rationalising the actualisation process for the project. But having
sold the concept to President Obasanjo and from what he had to say at
the launch, he has embraced the ego-boosting project with such
characteristically stubborn passion that neither he nor his prime
movers are likely to entertain any misgivings from any quarters. But
misgivings indeed there are surrounding the project.
First is the question of concept. In a country too used to corrupt
ways, where leaders in and out of office are preoccupied with private
accumulation and the obfuscation and sometimes outright destruction
and obliteration of records to cover their tracks, the last thing
they would want is a public repository of documents, records and
information that could undress them. In a country where whole reports
of properly constituted public commissions, panels and committees
practically evaporate and never see the light of day, those who have
mummified skeletons in their cupboards would hardly support an
enterprise that would preserve information for posterity. A
presidential library, on the surface, is a laudable and ambitious
Those who have conceived Obasanjo's library think big. Since we are
so enamoured of things American, warts and all, as illustrated by our
poor attempt at copying their style of governance, Mr. Carl Masters,
the Caribbean American and his collaborators will have had little
difficulty peddling the idea borrowed from the American experience
where the history of presidential libraries began with Franklin
Roosevelt after World War II. In the US such libraries are set up by
an Act of Congress and funded by the state after the president has
left office, but Obasanjo's cannot be so organised.
But in what way whatsoever is Nigeria the twin of the US? Do we have
the same culture, discipline and orientation? Do we keep faith with
the tenets of democracy that we claim to copy from the US? Is ours a
nation governed by laws and not by men? In a nation where hardly
anything works, are we by this project about to see an oasis of
excellence in a sea of national morass? For a leader who on aggregate
is setting a national record in leadership longevity, will the
Obasanjo library be the yardstick for measuring his performance and
Next is the question of our value orientation. As desirable as the
project might be for Obasanjo and the initiators, would they
prioritise it above the crying needs of this country's social
institutions? Now and again tempers flare as administrators of our
public institutions engage our leaders in a losing battle to upgrade
facilities. Our numerous higher institutions can hardly boast of a
handful of them with adequately stocked modern libraries. Most, and
especially our so-called public libraries, have sparse shelves with
antiquated textbooks. In terms of comparative commitment and matching
resource, how many of the donors translate the motivation shown at
the Obasanjo library launch in aiding our ailing institutions?
The launch appears to have demonstrated the fixation of those behind
it on the profiling and packaging of the man as a successful,
consummate and larger than life leader. But the edifice does not make
the man. And in spite of their own efforts at influencing events,
history has its own way of situating those who shape it. In setting
their priorities would the project promoters not have given a thought
to immortalising President Obasanjo's sterling attributes through the
enhancement of library facilities in selected universities
countrywide, where much useful information, data and records can be
sourced through networking? But no. Nigerians in and outside the
ruling class know that there is no faith in public institutions. In
this country public institutions are not meant to be viable or
sustainable. Our national terrain is strewn with the debris of pet
projects that have gulped public resources and ended up atrophied
when the initiators have fallen out of favour, power and influence.
The sheer scope of the project for a president seeking to preserve
records for posterity is massive. This is not about a presidential
library complex in the mould of the American model. A lot is to be
sunk into providing hospitality facilities; communication,
information and research centres; as well as other ancillary
services, the commercial dimension of which is projected to sustain
the complex. But are the promoters comfortable with the propriety of
embarking on such a huge project at one go? Given our antecedents,
are they confident that this will not turn out to be a white elephant
project in the making and that it will give value for the investment?
There is also the question of timing. Critical observers have faulted
the motive for seeking to undertake and complete such a massive
project (said to be 'an entirely private affair') for a sitting
president in mid-term. People read some subtlety in the approach. By
rushing the fund-raising through, the potential donor is persuaded to
take a number of factors into perspective. Is he confronted with a
bully who gives with one hand and extorts with the other? Is he faced
with a catch-22 situation knowing that the power of incumbency casts
a shadow over him? Although no one is said to be forced to donate, no
one is fooled.
If the event were thrown open countrywide how many unpaid workers or
those at the lower rungs of society suffering the pangs of poverty
would be part of it? That is why the event is an entirely private
affair. Those invited to it were a select group targeted because they
are capable or have been adequately empowered. Would ex-president
Shehu Shagari or any other former leader command similar success
today from the same retinue of invitees for a similar private project
unless he were a godfather of some sort?
Nigerians also have the question of the moral dimension to consider
in assessing the place of this private project on the national scale.
This is a country where there is often a thin line between the
perception of the state and the leader, where personal foibles become
state policy, where the security of the leader becomes state
security, and where national interest is equated with the enlightened
self interest of the leadership. The Obasanjo library project is said
to be a private affair for which private funding has been sought. But
from the array of donors, the average Nigerian thinks otherwise. The
Nigeria Ports Authority(NPA) community put together $1million. And
this is an ailing government agency that owes contractors billions of
Naira. Knowing the Nigerian mindset you cannot involve functionaries
of government and its agencies and tell the world that all their
donations are coming from their salaries and private enterprise.
Whether transparency is served by the methods adopted by the project
organisers is open to question. The battle against corruption is
equally in jeopardy when donors are more or less intimidated by
tactics that are suggestive and coercive. It is happening under the
aura of an incumbent administration that ought to act as a check
against reckless extra budgetary spending. The library launch has
been described elsewhere as executive extortion. What has happened is
perhaps more serious than that. It can be described as constructive
corruption where the construction is subtle, disarming and palpably
negative. And that is an extremely dangerous adversary for any
Perhaps as Nigeria intensifies its war against corruption in its many
dimensions, one viable way of dressing the recently launched Library
project with a toga of integrity is for President Obasanjo to hand
over the project on completion to the Federal government. Otherwise
the project may continue to elicit controversy among the generality
of Nigerians, and forever constitute a major moral burden on
President Obasanjo and his immediate collaborators
N.U.C. ranking of Ibadan Varsity
By Tony Aladekomo
It is indeed cheering news that the National Universities Commission
(N.U.C.) recently announced the University of Ibadan (U.I.), Ibadan,
as the topmost in the 2004 NUC ranking of Nigerian universities. It
is an epochal development because it has again confirmed that the
recte sapere fons (U.I. motto meaning "correct fountain of wisdom')
is not just the first but the best university in the country. The
N.U.C. is the body statutorily saddled with the task of standardising
university education in Nigeria. Its dedication, integrity,
impartiality, and stance against half-baked university education is
As a matter of fact, the distinction of UI as a foremost citadel of
intellectualism, not just in the country but in the world at large
has been historic. It is Nigeria's premier university established by
the British in the then West Africa's largest city and one of
Africa's four largest cities in 1948. The landmass of and
socio-academic activities in UI are so enormous that the school has
got the synonym of "the city within a city". Its University College
Hospital (UCH) has been West Africa's best hospital even as its
College of Medicine remains the best and the most coveted by
university admission candidates in the country.
The university has indeed produced many world-renowned leaders and
scholars like Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Prof. Wole Soyinka and Prof.
Chinua Achebe. So globally distinct is this institution that it has
made its way into some world-books. Today, it has the highest number
of professors in Nigeria, and its Post-Graduate School remains the
foremost in the country. While bent on maintaining uncompromising
quality education for which it has been reputed since its founding,
it insisted that it would not join the other universities to
establish mushroom study centres and so-called satellite campuses
whose storm was speedily corrupting the university system and
lowering educational system in the 1990s. The die was cast and UI was
vindicated as the NUC clamped down on these 'business centres' around
the year 2000. (It is only sad that the same canker is again rearing
its ugly head by courtesy of some vice chancellors, polytechnic
rectors and college provosts who erroneously rate bumper revenue
above quality education).
Unfortunately however, the rise of the premier university suffered a
decline and plummeted in the years of the locust (1996-2000),
occasioned by academic and non-academic staff strikes, poor funding,
maladministration and students unrest. All this led to poor output,
especially on the part of indolent students. (Indeed, the same
problem afflicted almost all Nigerian universities during the period
and the consequence is the current absence of any Nigerian university
on the list of the world's top 200 universities). The result of all
this on UI was its loss of the maiden topmost position in the NUC
ranking to the University of Lagos in 2002.
It is however comforting that many diligent products of U.I during
the years of the locust still proved themselves as the best on
occasions when they were to compete with students or products from
other Nigerian and foreign universities. A case in point was a girl,
Helen Oluwatosin Otitoju, who left UI as a result of the 1996/97
strike and enrolled in Howard University, Washington, USA. When she
graduated there in 2001, she broke the record as she did not only bag
First Class Honours in Electrical Engineering but became the first
student in the school's 134 years' history to receive The Pioneer
Fellowship, a graduate study programme at the California Institute of
Technology, which has no fewer than 27 Nobel Laureates as members.
Similarly, in 2003, UI products in the 2002/2003 session of the
all-time internationally standard Nigerian Law School stood as the
best, as they (of all the about 40 local and foreign universities
that had their products in the Law School in that set) distinguished
themselves as the alumni/alumnae of the university with the best
Fortunately however, in the midst of the decline in which even the
foregoing distinctions came out, revivals came the way of UI as
dutiful, present Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ayodele Falase, took over at
the beginning of this century. He speedily embarked on measures to
forestall any industrial action, combat against student unrest,
invigoration of the UI Post-Graduate School, employment of more
academic staff in needy faculties, generation of funds beyond
government sources, provision of infrastructural facilities and
physical beautification of the institution.
A major fruit of the Falase reform is the recent ranking of UI as the
best university in the country by the NUC. This singular exercise has
again re-emphasised to disputants that UI is not just the first but
the best. And it will certainly be a catalyst to the on-going efforts
of the school authority to restore it to its rightful place in the
global roll of distinguished universities. Thus, Prof. Falase rightly
said at the 2005 Annual Alumni Lecture of the Lagos Branch of the
U.I. Alumni Association: "The vision of the institution for the 21st
century is to expand the frontiers of knowledge and transform the
society through innovation while its mission is to be a world-class
institution where conditions for learning are excellent, research and
services are outstanding and students and staff are worthy in
character and sound judgment".
This is a commendable vision/mission and indeed in line with section
I subsection 2 of the University of Ibadan Act, which says: "It shall
be the function of the university to encourage the advancement of
learning throughout Nigeria and to hold out to all persons ... the
opportunity of acquiring a liberal education; and... to provide such
facilities for the pursuit of learning and the acquisition of a
liberal education as are appropriate for a university of the highest
standing" (Cap. U6, Vol. 15, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004).
What is more, the onus now rests on the Federal Government and
well-to-do alumni/alumnae to help with the provision of the needed
funds so that the above-stated vision, mission and statutory aims and
objectives of this great citadel of intellectualism will be
fulfilled. Ditto, the school authority and the Federal Ministry of
Health should do something too so that the UCH will soon regain its
old glory of being the best hospital in West Africa. The UI authority
should also stop the current gradual transmutation of the school into
a full-blown Post-Graduate School. The reason is that it is contrary
to the aims and objectives of its founders, to the University of
Ibadan Act and to the present needs of the country.
To crown it all, the NUC has rightly said that UI will be among the
universities it will forward to the world's university-ranking body
for its next exercise. And we strongly hope that it will favourably
consider and include the topmost university in the greatest African
country among the world's top 200 universities this time around. Long
live University of Ibadan!
Aladekomo is a legal practitioner in Lagos
Agriculture and national growth
By Alfred Chine
Agriculture, simply put, is the art, design and structure of food
production. It seeks to satisfy the current and emerging food
requirements of the people, the nation at large and the emerging new
world through participatory production for exports in areas of
competence and advantage. It is a practical expression of knowledge
of the areas of need in feeding a people.
It carries with it a well cultivated approach in providing basic food
needs in excess of current demand so as to encourage storage in
readiness for days of scarcity. It goes further to classify food
items, such as, wheat, corn, fruit, nuts, tubers, grains, fish, meat,
milk and so on. Due to the need for optimum output, food productions
are necessarily sectorised in consonance with agreeable weather and
soil conditions. It further identifies inputs of hybrid class for
planting and appropriate instruments needed for operations.
The greatest necessary inputs for food production are freely given by
nature, not to mention the food inputs like seedlings, grains, etc,
without which there will be nothing to plant or sow. It is so
important that in every socio-cultural group the world over, there
are established folklores that underscore the importance of this
sector. Some of these story lines are either derived from the animal
kingdom or from humanity itself. A cursory look at the book of
Genesis in the Holy Bible reveals that one of the first major
assignments given to man was in respect of farming. Therefore,
emphasising its importance to man would be tantamount to talking 19
to the dozen.
In every genre of planning the enterprise of a nation, two broad
classes are easily identified: agriculture and industry. But premium
is usually placed on agriculture as it remains the forerunner of any
other national enterprise objective. If this is so, it could be said
that agriculture is the engine room for national development. But
where do we stand today? Is our score card worthy of praise? Have we
been able to feed ourselves? What is the contribution of agriculture
in our balance of trade in the international scene? These questions
beg for answers that are not yet there for we have consistently
treated agriculture like a fish cast out of water unto a dry sandy
beach, panting and gasping for breath.
Agricultural corporations have been put into the culture of
administrative ministries where unending planning and massive paper
work never seem to leave the files and tables of high officials for
practical implementation. Where do we go from here? We have never
endeavoured to grow into practical relevance. But this is a
compulsory step if we must succeed.
For the purpose of defined objective and definite result in food
production, established agricultural corporations should seek to
create divisions and subdivision of their productive function.
Directive principles in planning must focus on this area. An
agricultural grains corporation should be put in place to see to
functional farming arrangement for the production of grains in the
nation. This should be preceded with the knowledge of tonnage of
national consumption pattern. Since lands are vested in the states,
they have the flexibility of land acquisition for cultivation and
farm management. Another important corporation will be that of animal
husbandry for meat, poultry, egg and milk production. The functional
inputs in the activation of this corporation are well known.
Rearing of cows of good breed for milk production will be a healthy
development. We don't need to import cows. Our cows are good enough.
Milk production here should emphatically be for fresh milk which is a
rich input into the food consumption of the entire populace. This can
blossom into a great industry. We can develop as much corporation for
specific food production as possible, for there is no harm in getting
the art of effective, efficient and sufficient food production, if
that is what will satisfy our national food requirement. There must
be a commitment to excel, to understand the need to feed ourselves.
This is where the philosophy of implementation of appropriate
production mechanism comes into play.
There must be a national philosophy, a dignified ethos, a practically
induced motto for unbridled commitment to food production. This is
the key to living, the key to national growth, a stabilising factor
in growth mechanism of a people. Imagine a great man of God
delivering a beautiful sermon to a crowd of hungry people. He will
only end up listening to his own voice. A hungry man is not just an
angry man; he is lost to his environment, weak in any meaningful
contribution and deaf to any suggestion. He easily transforms into a
dangerous enemy to society.
But we as a people have the option not to allow that in our society.
There was time when our great grand fathers fed the entire population
from farm proceeds. With their level of illiteracy and lack of
knowledge, they scored quite high in their ability to overcome
hunger. Today we can do better. The appropriate heartbeat must be in
place. This is where the real wealth lies - the overthrow of food
scarcity among us.
The responsibility of bringing about the relevant mechanism that
would transform our agricultural sector is that of the government.
Let us add practical co-ordinates to our planning and administrative
structures. It is now time to act operationally. This is a sector
that is the mother of all sectors. Every kobo invested in this sector
has the potential to multiply itself and create a mighty harvest for
industrial growth. It is the only credible sector that has the
capacity to employ a lot of Nigerians. Just take a look at livestock
in its undeveloped stage as is currently the case. It provides
employment and income for pastoralists. Even the marketers of
livestock and many other operators involved in the livestock
business. Conservatively, the turnover in this trade only will
definitely be above N50 billion annually. Therefore, imagine the
total turnover in activities involving grains food crops, milk
production, palm oil and so on.
We have entered into the business of ECOWAS in the sub-region. What
are we offering? Where will our reward ratio come from? Let us look
within and get ourselves ready for a possible West African Trade
Organisation (WATO). Agriculture is the sector that will see us
through. If we plan and implement it right, our future generations
will not forget.
Chine is a company executive in Lagos
When legislators tackle the President
YINKA ADERIBIGBE writes on the face-off between the executive and
legislature and how the gathering storm over the threat by some
members of the House of Representatives to pursue the impeachment
threat against President Olusegun Obasanjo was aborted.
The executive yesterday took the wings off the House of
Representatives sail, when it expressed its readiness to dialogue
over grey areas in the 2005 budget.
The rapprochement came just as the House of Representatives formally
accepted the list of 15 impeachable offences compiled against
President Olusegun Obasanjo by its member Hon. Bashir Idris Nadabo.
Ndadabo, an All Nigerian Peoples party (ANPP) legislator representing
Katsina federal constituency is the leader of a pro-impeachment group
which in the past fortnight has raised the ante of political
discourse when he began to push for the impeachment of the President.
Nadabo's move, which as at Monday had been supported by 195
legislators, has been described by analysts as indicative of the
legislature's opposition to the style of governance of the President.
Determined to press ahead with the process, the House it was learnt
set up a committee to fine tune Nadabo's bold investigating cases of
corruption and impeachable offences against the President in order to
come up with an unassailable charges. That committee is set to
formally submit its report this week. The House leader, Hon. Abdul
Ningi, heads the committee.
The Ningi committee undoubtedly is determined to unearth real
constitutional breaches upon which to hang President Obasanjo. Ningi
who in the past has put his intergrity on the line in support of
Obasanjo, shared the believe that the House must redress the
situation, where it continues to be denigrated by the executive and
The committee becomes important because, to some members of the
House, "impeachment is a serious business that should not be left in
the hands of an inexperienced law maker like Nadabo."
In a press conference last week, Nadabo had listed 15 offences
against the President as follows:
reckless disregard of the supreme court judgement in presidency's
case with the Lagos State government;
extra-judicial spending from the national treasury;
non-implementation of the budgets and disregard of the rule of law;
breach of section 305 of the Constitution;
falsification of 2005 budget;
loan to Sao Tome and Principice and Ghana;
violation of section 53(1), (2);
complicity in the Anambra political crisis;
failure to appoint Minister of Petroleum Resources;
violation of the house resolution regarding demolition in Kubwa area of Abuja;
promoting university education services that negates section 18 (1),
(2) as well as section 4 (3);
promoting economic policy that negates section 17 (1a);
privatisation policy that violates section 162 as well as section 15 (5);
violation of section 15 by employing two of his children and making
one of his son's a de factor minister; and
making Nasir El-Rufai chairman of the Federal Capital Development
Authority in violation of section 147;
This list, however, became lengthened by Monday when Nadibo added
three other charges namely:
The imposition of petroleum tax, a violation of section 59(1a)(b),
the payment of salary to certain Nigerian-born public officers as
expatriates, a violation of section 151 (2) and
virment at national Planning Commission without resource to the
Nadabo said his action is borne out of the desire to ensure a more
serious national Assembly, one that is not a rubber stamp to the
He said:"We have to show that we are serious in this country. The
National Assembly members wanted to show to the Nigerian people that
the National Assembly is serious this time."
But this hardline position may after all become unnecessary, with the
government offering the olive branch demonstrating a readiness to
dialogue and put a stop to the crisis of confidence between the two
arms of government.
In a memo from the executive signed by the Finance Minister Mrs Ngozi
Okonjo-Iweala, government has directed the Budget Office and the
ministries affected by the virement proposed by the Presidency to
meet with the relevant committee of the House for amicable resolution
of the differences.
The letter with reference number DG/BDG/GEN/COR/IPA/20/11/297 which
was read on the floor by the speaker Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari,
" We are pleased to inform you that the Budget Office of the
federation and the affected ministries and agencies are ready to
discuss and agree on this issue with the relevant joint committees of
the National Assembly."
But the House insisted yesterday that the "mystery" budget prepared
and signed by the Minister be withdrawn before further negotiations
According to the chairman Media and Public Affairs of the House, Mrs
Abike Dabiri and her Information Committee counterpart, Alaba Ojomo,
the House also accepted to synergise actions over the impeachment
issue thus committing it to a committee.
"We discussed the impeachment issue. Nadabo had been collecting
signatures and as at this morning, he had about 240. But we decided
to treat this issue as a House," Dabiri said.
Only last year President Obasanjo had commended the maturity of the
legislators, especially for the co-operation and support he had
enjoyed from legislators, particularly from its leadership.
Indeed, a lot of factors influenced the careful choice of leadership
of the House of Representatives aimed at avoiding the headaches and
sleepless nights that the Ghali Umar Na-Abba leadership gave the
presidency in the last dispensation.
In that dispensation, thrice the presidency survived impeachment
moves made by a concert of forces from the Senate as well as the
lower chamber. It was therefore considered reasonable for the
President to insist that more national minds be saddled with
This paid off until Nasir El-Rufai stung two weeks back when he
continued the demolition of structures at Kubwa area of Abuja against
the legislature's veto. He claims his action has full support of
In response, angry members of the House gave Speaker Masari an
unenviable option to choose between the people and the President. It
was a coup notice that Masari read very well. He chose to keep his
seat, thus leading the legislators on a demonstration to Kubwa.
The final straw, however, was the allegation that the President
unilaterally cut down the budget passed by the National Assembly and
accented to by the President some three weeks earlier.
The argument by the Finance Minister that the President so acted on
the advice of the CBN, which cautioned that implementing the budget
wholesale would push up the liquidity ratio in the economy and impact
negatively on it could not assuage the legislators' ill feeling.
To them the President clearly breached the Constitution, which
clearly states that the legislators have powers to superintend over
the nation's purse. In clear terms, the President can only spend what
the National Assembly approves. Former aide to Ghali Umar Na-Abba,
Eziuche Ubani, held that the President does not have any power to do
what he did.
He reasoned that though the president might have acted the way he did
due to revelations of budget manipulations, which claimed the
position of former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara, he still could
have used other avenues.
He said: "If the President was sure of his position, there are
avenues he could have used to arrive at the right thing. He could
have withheld assent until a review is accomplished. He could have
stopped the NASS leaders from bringing the bill for accent. Lastly he
could have signed and then implement what will not surpass the
spending limit he seeks to achieve."
The President's spokesman, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, however, dismissed
the charges against the President. For him it is nothing more than a
'storm in a tea cup' that could lead nowhere.
Yet this storm was strong enough to necessitate the national chairman
of the PDP, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, to impress it on the House leadership to
use the party's 70% control of the House to an advantage in
pressurising the promoters to drop the charges.
But the leadership has always insisted that the move transcends the
party. That 195 members have signed up is enough sign that the move
has a mass appeal in the House. In a House of 360 members, the
promoters need just 45 more names to meet the required number of 240
needed, to move for the Presidents' removal.
Speaking on the thickening plot, Internal Affairs Minister, Dr.
Iyorchia Ayu described it as healthy.
His words: "The disagreement is a healthy ingredient of democracy. An
absence of an avenue of dissent may yield undemocratic consequences.
"In a democracy, there is institutional disagreement. If we don't
have room for these types of disagreements and they are pent up, they
might explode with undemocratic repercussions."
Also in Lagos, over the weekend, the Nasarawa State governor, Alhaji
Abdullahi Adamu, said the impeachment plan is "a distraction and
He told reporters that the ruling PDP is united and is capable of
resolving the impasse amicably without any rancour."
But the issue of impeachment has become a recurring decimal in the
democratic dispensation since 1999.
To a senior lecturer in the Political Science Department of
University of Lagos, Mr. Tunde Babawale, it is symptomatic of the
measure of contempt with which the executive held the legislature.
"The legislature has never been considered by the executive in this
democratic transition as part of the democratic structures and a
necessary process of governance. It has rather been treated as an
irritant that is to be ignored at will," he said.
He explained that no matter how salutary the motivation of the
President is, nothing in the existing 1999 Constitution arrogates to
him such powers to substitute the budget dully passed by the National
Assembly for any other whose author(s) remain unknown to Nigerians.
Though analysts believed the House of Representatives position is in
line with ascertaining its rights under the law, many do not believe
this present war with the President may really go far.
The upper chamber, the Senate has been instructively quiet since
Nadabo stirred the honest nest few weeks ago. This cold shoulder from
members of the Senate has been identified as a weak point of the
impeachment campaign which the President would exploit. It has also
been said that many of the legislators have no moral ground on which
to castigate the President.
While the Senate is still battling with a ruptured image and
credibility crisis, most members of the lower house owe their seats
to their governors or the likes of the chairman PDP Board of Trustees
(BOT), Chief Tony Anenih, who are still the President's spin doctors.
Like an analyst observed, by the time these political I.O.U.s are
called in and the greed of those with eyes either on second term or
those who wish to make small money through the crisis are preyed on,
the threat would like those before it crumble.
"It would be a monumental surprise if the House moves beyond the
collection of signatures," he said.
To analysts, issues raised by the legislature particularly over the
budget is worrisome, and deserve honest appraisal by the president.
Only last week, the Finance Minister, Okonjo Iweala, said only three
tranches of the budget would be released this year. Her reason is
because the first quarter of the year has elapsed before the
president accented to the budget.
Invariably the budget will follow the noticed pattern in the past
five years, where budgets have been implemented far below 70 per cent.
This to analysts, is worrisome, as Nigerians were by design, been
denied many things on yearly basis due to "avoidable and often
Like Mr. Taye Ajisafe a social critic said, Nigerians deserve to be
better served by their leaders. "The President needs to take a deep
look at this matter and resolve his differences with the National
Assembly once and for all taking the nation through this ritual every
year affects the nations economy negatively and stunts its