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NIGERIA: Enugu’s Political Terrorism and Chicken Impeachment

 I gave him the option to resign. It has actually come to a point where we need to know who actually is the boss because we can no longer work together. Let the House of Assembly do their job and see if, indeed, he is fit to remain as Deputy Governor. – Governor Sullivan Chime on his Deputy’s impeachment
The widely reported brazen acceptance by Governor Sullivan Chime of the responsibility of the ongoing theater of the absurd,aka Chicken Impeachment, in Enugu comes as another demonstration of impunity in modern times.
The motion adopted by the State Assembly partly reads: “The Deputy Governor is guilty of various acts of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office…. The particulars of gross misconduct are as follows:
“By a resolution of the Enugu State House of Assembly at its plenary on Tuesday, February 12, 2013, the Enugu State House of Assembly prohibited the maintenance and operation of commercial livestock and poultry farms within residential neighbourhoods in Enugu metropolis in promotion of public health standards; which resolution was further accepted by the Government for implementation.

“Notwithstanding the said resolution, the Deputy Governor continued to maintain and operate a commercial poultry farm within the premises of his official residential quarters. The Deputy Governor persisted in defiance of lawful directives issued to him by the Governor, which defiance has adversely affected and will continue to affect the smooth running of the Government; and he will continue to do so if not removed from office.”
The Assembly listed such manifest breaches of the constitution to include his alleged refusal to carry out the directive of the Governor to represent him at the flag-off ceremony of the construction of the second Niger Bridge in Onitsha by President Goodluck Jonathan on March 11, and at the South-East Governors Forum held in Enugu on Sunday, July 8.

However, they forgot to include the major sin, which is that the Deputy Governor has declared his intention to run for the Enugu East Senatorial seat that Chime has allegedly reserved for his Chief of Staff, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo.
Although Sunday Onyebuchi has not told his own side of the story, it is obvious Chime does not know the limit of his powers.  While he has the capacity to induce and coerce, he lacks the constitutional right to direct his Deputy to resign. Whereas the choice of deputy is that of a governorship/president candidate and the party, both are always elected on a joint mandate. Impeachment of one cannot be at the pleasure of the other, but of the freewill of the people acting on cogent grounds through their elected representatives in the Assembly. Right now, the Assembly members are acting on the orders of Governor Chime.
Available media reports (video and print) on the 2nd Niger Bridge event, showed that the deputy governor was actually there from the beginning to the end. He sat beside Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Again, why impeach the deputy governor more than six months after forcefully evacuating his 3,000 birds to God-knows-where, whereas the governor himself runs large farms in the same Enugu State Government House? Even the usually quite deputy governor had upon the destruction of his poultry farm in January 2013 challenged the Governor’s Office to “deny that there is no bigger poultry, piggery and cattle ranch in the Governor’s (Chime’s) Lodge.”
In fact, there is even an aggressive brownish monkey stationed at the entrance of the Governor’s Lodge, which keeps harassing unsuspecting ladies (although it is restrained with a long chain). Also, whereas the deputy governor’s defunct poultry was located in the designated Farm Unit of the Government House, the Governor’s ostriches and cows prowl the length and breadth of the Government House, defecating all over the place. The ostriches still chase visitors about as I write.
Indeed, the alacrity with which a notoriously docile Enugu State House of Assembly, that only passed its first Private Member Bill since 1999 (Enugu State Investment Promotion Commission Bill) this in June 2014, swung into the impeachment action is very dismaying. The same Assembly looked the other way while the estranged First Lady of Enugu, Mrs. Clara Chime, was allegedly detained and dehumanised in the Enugu State Government House for over six months. It also lied to the world that Chime was on accumulated leave whereas, it turned out (as was widely published) that he was battling for dear life overseas for about four months.

Yes, Chime can easily have his deputy impeached (no thanks to our brand of democracy). But I doubt that he understands the great loss in reputation and political capital this unpopular move is already causing him. It is a global knowledge that he is in a running battle with members of the National Assembly for unilaterally decreeing that second term lawmakers would be retired in 2015. The current scandal has also reopened the scandalous carting away of his Deputy’s 3,000 birds last January; and his camp is already throwing verbal punches at t the Anglican Archbishop of the Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma.
But I know that although the rule of raw power as taught by the Athenians insists that “The strong do as they can and the weak suffer what they must”, it is both crazy and foolhardy to apply 415 BC rule to 21st century democracy. It is pure political terrorism and Chime should know that it ultimately backfires, for no man, however great or powerful could be greater than his people. Governor Chime should apply the brakes now or burn his fingers- like some others before him.

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