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Gov. Ortom of Benue State impeached, as politicians react

Valentine Chinyem

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Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom has been impeached.

The governor was served an impeachment notice on Monday July 30, by eight lawmakers of the Benue state House of Assembly under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Confirming the saga at the Benue State House of Assembly, Gov. Ortom’s spokesman, Tahav Agerzua, said the lawmakers took over the Assembly complex to sit and pass the impeachment notice while heavily armed policemen, who are believed to have been drafted from Abuja, blocked the entrance to the Assembly complex.

Benue youths later stormed the Assembly complex over what they claimed was plots by some politicians loyal to the All Progressives Congress, APC, led Federal government to impeach Governor Samuel Ortom who dumped the party for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, last week

Governor Ortom however, has described his impeachment as null and void, saying he remains the governor of Benue State.

Politicians alike have continued to react to the impeachment news, with former Atiku Abubakar airing his voice on Twitter, “For a state facing security challenges like Benue, the introduction of lawlessness through an impeachment process could only complicate an already bad situation.

“I urge the police to remain politically neutral and avoid aiding lawlessness. The loyalty of the police should be to the constitution and the rule of law.”

Femi Fani-Kayode said via a Tweet, “Buhari’s latest show of shame in Benue is condemnable. Attempting to impeach Gov. Ortom by brute force and gestapo tactics is disgraceful.

“Using a tiny handful of crooked lawmakers and hundreds of policemen will lead to anarchy. Buhari is playing with fire and he is on his way out.”

PDP caucus, led by the Deputy Minority Leader, Chukwuka Onyema, said the impeachement is illegal and goes against the 1999 constitution.

“Indications are emerging that this administration is walking in the same grim path of the forbidden regime of Late Sani Abacha and the outright dictatorship that overthrew the Democratic Shehu Shagari’s administration.”

Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, also condemned the impeachment proceedings, desrcibing it as an “undemocratic event in which the minority is seeking to impeach a Governor against the position of the majority”.

They said this through a statement signed by their aides in charge of media, Yusuph Olaniyonu and Turaki Hassan respectively.

“We believe it is the sacred institution of the legislature that is being desecrated and rubbished in all these negative developments. The situation in Benue State House of Assembly has grave implication for the nation’s democracy and it represents a throw-back to the period of dictatorship in our country.

“It also represents how the Nigeria Police are being misused to achieve political end. In a statement recently, the Presidency derisively referred to an era in the past where a minority number of legislators was used to impeach Governors who were unfriendly with the Federal Government. What we are seeing in Benue now is a return to that inglorious era,” part of the statement read.