Sunday, April 29, 2007

Dariye – Supreme Court’s Pronouncement Proves the Judiciary’s Independence

The Supreme Court’s upholding of the Federal Court of Appeal’s ruling of the reinstatement of Dariye as governor of Plateau State based on his unconstitutional impeachment hints at the much-desired independence of the judiciary from the legislative and executive arms of government.

In as much as Dariye has been indicted for the perpetration of ignominious acts, namely embezzlement, money laundering and international bail jumping, the fact that his impeachment was effected by only 8 members of a 24-member house legislature nullifies the process and therefore renders the impeachment void. No matter how strong the evidence is against him, Dariye could only have been constitutionally impeached by a two-third majority of the house, that is, by a vote of at least 16 members of the 24-member house. This however was difficult to achieve, given the choke hold Dariye had on the members of the house by their complicity in the wholesale acts of graft pervading the Plateau State government and compounded by the defection of 14 members from their party (PDP), therefore automatically losing their seats.

As alluded to in previous posts on the blog, the right thing to do would have been for INEC to declare the seats of the cross-carpeting legislators vacant and conduct run-off elections to fill them. With the full complement of the house in place, the constitutionality of Dariye’s impeachment would not have arisen.

That Dariye seeks to return for the remaining one month of the term speaks to the depravity of the man and how dearly his sort holds the immunity protection of section 308 of the 1999 constitution as a shield against prosecution. From hiding, hunkered down, Dariye now bleats some cheap rhetoric whose banality is as Rabelaisian as it nauseating against the backdrop of the depth of profanity to which Dariye has plunged the office of Governor and the concept of democracy. Perhaps Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was right in his farcical contrivance of the etymology of the word “Democracy” from the Nigerian Pidgin English phrases – “Dem all Crazy” and “Demonstration of Craze.”

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