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Nigeria's Fifth State Governor in a Year Faces Impeachment


Nigerian legislators have impeached Plateau State Governor Joshua Chibi Dariye on corruption charges. Reporter Abdulwahab Mohamed in the northeastern city of Bauchi explains why the legislators deposed the Governor yesterday.

“According to the Speaker, Mr. Dapialong, they impeached the Governor based on the Interim Report they received from a panel set up by the Acting Chief Judge, Mr. Lazarus Dayken,” he said.

The Plateau State House of Assembly became the fifth Nigerian legislature this year to remove a chief executive, in a nationwide campaign said to be endorsed by no less than President Olusegun Obasanjo and spurred on through investigations by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) Obasanjo appointed to probe political corruption. 31 of the country’s 36 state governors are under investigation by the EFCC for possible corruption. In recent days, Governor Dariye, who is also being investigated in Britain on money laundering charges, tried to fend off his impeachment by removing State Chief Justice Lazarus Dayken last Thursday, swearing in a new Acting Chief Judge, Yau Ibrahim Dakwang over the weekend, and having the Judge dissolve the panel probing his alleged wrongdoings. But as reporter Mohamed points out, the House of Assembly overturned those actions when it sacked the Governor on Monday.

“According to some analysts, now the fate of the new Acting Chief Judge has been decided because it has now become clear that new Acting Chief Judge sworn in by former Governor Chibi Dariye no longer has any power to exercise because they have now impeached the Governor. And the new Governor has also given the go-ahead to the former cabinet that was earlier on removed by the former Governor, Chief Chibi Dariye,” he said.

Although President Obasanjo’s supporters failed to amend Nigeria’s Constitution to let him run for a third term, reporter Mohamed says he is playing an active role to shore up gains for his ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) before next year’s Presidential election.

“What is now clear to most observers in Nigeria is that Obasanjo has a lot of turbulence in his heart, but the political arena and his political opponents, might use this incident to cover to capitalize on their chances of winning the 2007 elections,” he said.

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