The Kano State House of Assembly does not have the constitutional power to investigate the governor of the state, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje over his alleged involvement in a bribery scandal contained in series of video released by the publisher of Daily Nigerian, Mr. Jafaar Jafaar, human rights lawyer, Dr. Kayode Ajulo said.
Ajulo expressed this view in an interview with NEWISSUES while reacting to the ruling of a Kano High Court restraining the Assembly from going ahead with the probe.
Ganduje, according to video, was alleged to be collecting a large sum of dollars as kickbacks from a contractor who filmed the episodes released by the online medium.
“The Kano State House of Assembly needs to seek legal advice to know the procedure to be used against the Governor. I am not saying whether what Governor Ganduje is alleged to have done is right or wrong, but I am talking from the side of the law.
“When it comes to checks and balances, the constitution has given a window of opportunity under the impeachment procedure. The procedure embarked upon by the Kano State of Assembly is unknown to the law especially in the person of Ganduje.
“If you need the Governor to state his side of the story, Kano State House of Assembly are not the police. They’re not set up by the Police Act or any other law enforcement agency that the law recognizes to be a real investigative authority,” Ajulo said.
He explained that while the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Late Gani Fawehinmi that governor of a state can be investigated, such investigation could be only be carried out by those with investigative authority which the Assembly does not possess.
Instead, he said the House can start an impeachment procedure against the Governor if it does not want to use the police; the end result of which may eventually not be used to remove the state chief executive.
Ajulo said in doing that, the House will need to ask the Chief Judge of the state to constitute a probe panel.
“If actually they want to probe him, they have to start by bringing the impeachment notice, if the two-third majority now agrees to it, they will now call on the Chief Judge to set up a probe panel. Woe betides the Governor now to be invited by the panel and he refuses to appear, or let me see if any judge or any court will stop the probe panel.
“But that has not been done. They constitute themselves as investigative authority; they were the one raising it and all that. It’s not done. The position of the chief executive of a state is sovereign, you don’t it that way.”
Ajulo said the voyage embarked upon by the legislators is not in line within its parliamentary jurisdictions. He explained that in disciplining a governor, the parliament and judiciary must undertake the procedure together, hence, the law would not allow the procedure embraced by the Kano Assembly.
“Anything whatsoever you think the governor or the president has done, the only way you can probe him, except that he elected to do it on his own, is through impeachment procedure by the two-third signing the impeachment notice; by moving the motion calling on the chief judge of the state to set up a probe panel.
“Assuming that’s what they did, assuming that probe panel is set up by the chief judge, you can see that the judiciary is involved with the House of Assembly; then the panel can now call for evidence, that is when it will be better for Jafaar to come before the panel to give his evidence then, the panel will now submit its report to the House,” he stressed.
The legal luminary reemphasized that not all impeachment leads to the removal of the chief executive. He cited the case of President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky in the United States where although Clinton was ‘impeached’ for his affairs with former White House intern, he was not removed from office.
He charged Nigerians to be wary of the use of the impeachment term, which only translates to probe and not necessarily mean a chief executive is removed from their seat.
“Impeachment does not mean you remove a president or governor, because I notice Nigerians like to use the words that, this man has been impeached. Impeachment means that your activities, your deeds, the omission or commission has been called to question.
“When you’re called to question, it is either if at the end of the day the probe panel finds you wanting or not; and even if the panel finds you wanting, three things may happen, they may tell you to go back to your seat and sin no more; or to say because what you have done is wrong, we remove you or they just warn you.”
He restated that despite the indictment of Clinton, the congress still believed he should continue on his job as president which explained his reasons for staying to complete his term as American president.
Culled from Newissues