Before the emergence of the video showing the Governor of Kano State, Umar Ganduje stacking money into his “babanriga” the way a goblin in a Lord Of The Ring’s movie will pack gold, he was coasting home to victory against his former boss, Sen Rabiu Kwankwaso.
He founded the gandujiyya halacci movement which is giving the kwankwasiyya amana a run for the control of the political machinery of Kano while also promising to deliver over 5 million votes to President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid.
Now it appears the earlier victory is fast evaporating with this video, and the governor is staring down at the barrel of impeachment, as the Kano state House of Assembly already embarked on an investigation into the video.
A member of the House, Labaran Madari on October 15 moved a motion for the investigation into the video with the House setting up an investigative committee.
The governor is protected by the immunity clause provided in the constitution, and section 88 of the 1999 constitution empowers only the state house of assembly with the power to remove a governor or deputy governor on the ground of misconduct, which this allegation is about. So the fate of Ganduje lies with the House of Assembly and the court of law.
Brief history into impeachment
As recall is to the lawmaker, impeachment is to the executive. Over the years, there had been several cases of impeachments.
Popular among them was Balarabe Musa of Kaduna state, who was impeached in 1981 and Ayo Fayose who was also impeached in 2006. Rasheed Ladoja, Joshua Dariye, and Diepreye Alamieyeseigha also tasted wine from the goblet of impeachment.
However, some cases of impeachments such as Peter Obi and Murtala Nyako were upturned by the court with the Court of Appeal ruling that all entitlements should be paid to Nyako.In the case of Ladoja, the appeal court also invalidated his impeachment.
With this pattern of overruling impeachments by the court, it’s important for us to look at the process of impeachment.
PROCESS OF IMPEACHING A GOVERNOR
Section 188 of the 1999 constitution provides the steps for the impeachment of a governor or deputy governor, on the grounds of misconduct.
Misconduct according to the constitution in section 188(11) is “In this section – ‘gross misconduct’ means a grave violation or breach of the provisions of this Constitution or a misconduct of such nature as amounts in the opinion in the House of Assembly to gross misconduct.”
According to this particular section, the impeachment process could take as much as 125 days to conclude the process.
Section 188(2) states, “Whenever a notice of any allegation in writing signed by not less than one-third of the members of the House of Assembly.
“(b) stating that the holder of such office is guilty of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office, detailed particulars of which shall be specified.
The speaker of the House of Assembly shall, within seven days of the receipt of the notice, cause a copy of the notice to be served on the holder of the office and on each member of the House of Assembly, and shall also cause any statement made in reply to the allegation by the holder of the office, to be served on each member of the House of Assembly.”
Afterwards, the Speaker can wait for about 14 days for the governor to reply, which the House by motion will decide if they want to proceed with the investigation. The provision makes it that this motion must be supported by 2/3 of all the members, or simply put, 67% of all the members of the assembly.
If the motion is supported by the 2/3 of the members, then the Speaker will call on the Chief Justice of the State to set up a seven-member panel that is of “unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party” to investigate the matter within 90 days.
Section 188(5) reads, “Within seven days of the passing of a motion under the foregoing provisions of this section, the Chief judge of the State shall at the request of the speaker of the House of Assembly, appoint a Panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of, to investigate the allegation as provided in this section.”
Now, this panel set up by the Chief Justice has the grace of turning in its report within 3months.
Afterwards, if the report should prove that indeed the governor or deputy has done something wrong, the House must convey within 14 days, and if the motion for impeachment is supported by 2/3 of all members, then the governor or deputy governor is indeed impeached.
Sections 7b, 8, 9 and 10 provides, “(b) within three months of its appointment, report its findings to the House of Assembly.
“(8) Where the Panel reports to the House of Assembly that the allegation has not been proved, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter.
“(9) Where the report of the Panel is that the allegation against the holder of the office has been proved, then within fourteen days of the receipt of the report, the house of Assembly shall consider the report, and if by a resolution of the House of Assembly supported by not less than two-thirds majority of all its members, the report of the Panel is adopted, then the holder of the office shall stand removed from office as from the date of the adoption of the report.
“(10) No proceedings or determination of the Panel or of the House of Assembly or any matter relating to such proceedings or determination shall be entertained or questioned in any court.
The process according to legal experts is to ensure thoroughness and to prevent abuse but the process makes it easy for the court to always upturn the decision on technical or procedural grounds.
Another reason to consider is political loyalty within the politics of Kano state; the majority of the members of Kano state House of Assembly all belonged to the Kwankwasiyya movement, including Ganduje himself, but following the division within the political structure, several of these lawmakers already publicly picked a side.
In March 2016, some lawmakers of the same assembly publicly denounced the red card symbol, in support of Ganduje.
Another factor is the weak institution of state legislative’s arm, bearing in mind the intrigues of the Kano State House of Assembly, where the speakership position remains one of the most unstable in the country, and with the knowledge again that election is fast approaching. The big question is, will the investigation not be marred by factors outside the case?