A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday ordered the House of
Representatives to proceed on their impeachment process against
President Goodluck Jonathan over the non implementation of the 2012
budget. The presiding judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole in his ruling yesterday noted that “no single arm of government can constitute itself as an impediment to the exercise of constitutional powers by another arm of government.’’ “It will be a great disservice for the course of justice for me to summarily sit-back and give a bench ruling without giving adequate
thought to the constitutional implication of what the ruling will bring. “By virtue of Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution, the powers to remove the fifth defendant (Jonathan) lie in the hands of the third defendant (National Assembly). The exercise of legislative powers to remove a President lie in their hands. However, no single arm of the legislature have unilateral powers to remove the fifth defendant (President).
Observing that the Senate was not made a party in the suit, Justice Kolawole, insisted that “the real and imminent urgency by which the court will intervene may not have been reached. Judicial powers must be exercised with caution so as not to exorcise the constitutional powers conferred on another organ of government. The court must be clearly certain that the process is on, and irreversible before it can intervene. The motion ex-parte is hereby refused.”
He said: “This may not be the proper occasion for this court to grant
ex parte order against the 2nd and 3rd defendants, as the reliefs sought by the plaintiff largely benefits the president.” The National Chairman of the African Liberation Party (ALP), Dr. Emmanuel Okereke had earlier approached the federal high court to stop the lower legislative house on their moves to impeach president Jonathan from office over his alleged inability to achieve 100 percent implementation of the 2012 budget. Okereke in his ex-parte motion insisted that the moves by the House of Representatives to fire Jonathan is uncalled for: “from harassing or further harassing the president with threats of impeachment or commencing any process of impeachment of the president for non-implementation of 100 percent of the budget.” He urged that the court to should determine whether “the constitution prescribed any time frame or date in each fiscal year within which to declare the budget as non implemented?” The ALP leader added that, “prohibiting the President or the Executive arm of government from hurriedly executing any part of the budget when or where the circumstances at hand does not permit prudent execution of such.” “Upon proper reading and interpretation of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, whether any of its provision specified 100 percent implementation of the federal budget of Nigeria for each fiscal year as appropriated by National Assembly mandatory.” Other defendants in the suit included Speaker of the House of Representatives, the House of Representatives itself, the National Assembly, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and President Goodluck Jonathan. Okereke however insisted that the September deadline issued by the house for 100 percent implementation of the budget was incorrect. The case was adjourned indefinitely.