By Ngozi Nwoke
Member, House of Representatives, Kingsley Ogundu Chinda representing Obio/Akpor Constituency in this interview spoke about President Buhari’s failure to secure the country among other issues.
The leadership of the House of Representatives has said that you will be disciplined for calling for the impeachment of the President, what’s your response to that?
Well, firstly let me say that I owe nobody any apology for calling for the impeachment of the president. That is the decision of members of Obio/Akpor federal constituency and that is the position of the PDP caucus in the House of Representatives. Now, the leader of the House said that I’m speaking for myself and not for the PDP caucus. He said he is in touch with leaders of the PDP caucus in the House. I am the PDP leader of the House, the deputy leader is Chuchu Onyema, the minority leader is Bade and the deputy minority leader is Morayo. So, I don’t know who he is in touch with. The PDP has also come out to say that that is the position of the party. And our duty as spokesperson of PDP in the House of Reps is to represent the position of the PDP. So I ask, why would the majority leader, who is very experienced in parliamentary issues be dancing naked in the public. Let me also ask, what is the position of section 147 of the constitution. It’s written with emphasis of the word “member,” and states that any member of the House of Reps can constitute an impeachment process. I am a member of the House of Representative. Now, the Senate president seeks to discipline a member for commencing and impeachment process. It is ridiculous to our democracy. People will laugh at us. It shows the level of impunity in Nigeria. We cannot cajole a democratic constitution. This is the situation APC government has put this country in. To threaten a parliamentarian for speaking against bad governance? Then what happens to the ordinary Nigerian on the streets? There is nothing unconstitutional about my call for the president’s impeachment as far as I am a member of the House of Representatives. For records purposes, I do not in anyway disrespect President Buhari. He is a statesman, he has served this country as a retired general, he has fought on behalf of this country. We pray for him, we love him, and we respect him immensely, but he is not fit for that purpose and that is our position.
Have you commenced impeachment proceedings against President Buhari and do you intend to commence?
We have not commenced. We are only calling on Nigerians to call on their members to commence an impeachment proceeding. That is what we are doing. Of course there must be a notice of impeachment and get the endorsement of other PDP caucus members, but we have not got to that level. All we are doing is to sensitise Nigerians and our colleagues, before we proceed to issue the impeachment notice.
Are you working with your colleagues currently to get to that point?
I like to know if Nigerians are satisfied with the situation of the country. The major purpose of every responsible government is the security of lives and property. Look at what is happening in Nigeria today. We can no longer sleep with our eyes closed.
Why do you think the president is not competent for the position of president?
Majorly security, and that is what we have stated. We didn’t mince words about that. We stated it clearly that the president has failed to comply with the solution of section 142 B of the constitution which states that the major responsibility of every government is the security of lives and property of the people. And we are saying that the Federal Government has failed woefully in these aspects. If he has failed in his major assignment, what do we do? We have called on president Buhari to sack all the Service chiefs and bring on board new Service chiefs for innovative ideas that will improve the devastating situation of the country. He is the Commander in-chief, he has the power to. The question is who do we blame? I cannot be a representative, speaking for the people and I keep quiet over things that are persistently going wrong. Not even for the threat of being sacked from the parliament. I prefer to leave the parliament for speaking against bad governance, than to remain there and see the country crumbling and do nothing about it. It is really disappointing that the parliament will go this low. I’m not even talking about the consequence of the threat. I sympathize with the country, I sympathize with the parliament. It’s unfortunate.
There is no doubt that we are in a difficult time now with the security situation in the country which should be of immense concern. However, we did have security challenges as well during the time of President Goodluck Jonathan before the APC came into power.
Would you have called for the impeachment of President Jonathan if you were in the parliament at that time?
If you recall, yes we did have security challenges during President Jonathan’s administration, but comparatively, it wasn’t as bad as it is today. Aside that, the reason Nigerians voted out PDP was also because of security issues. And we got firm promise from President Buhari during his campaign that he would take care of the security challenges working six months. How long have we waited? Over five years! For a promise that was made and expected to be fulfilled within six months. Let me also take you down memory lane; when there was the case of fuel subsidy during President Jonathan’s tenure, we condemned it totally, we said no to the parliament under a PDP speaker which caused a reversal of the fuel subsidy. There are things you don’t toy with and security is one. The lives and property of Nigerians should not be used as an experiment. We want an improvement. If President Buhari stands up today and takes radical measures and decisions on security, and we see positive changes, then no one will talk about impeachment. Nigerians are dying.
In what way or medium did you get the position of the people of Obio/Akpor federal constituency that you represent to impeach the president?
I can evidently show you several petitions from my constituency calling for the impeachment of President Buhari. And of course you know that I’m in constant contact with leaders of the PDP. You don’t expect that I go from house to house seeking their position. PDP has leaders across political divide in the country. Most of them call us to express their opinions on the call for President Buhari’s impeachment. We also hold leadership meetings. I can tell you categorically that most Nigerians are not satisfied with the current situation of the country.
Are you in very good terms with your party as well? Especially in the House of Reps considering that you were vying for the position of minority leader but it appears that you were schemed out of that position at the last stage.
Before me and the party, the PDP national working committee, made a statement on this issue supporting our position on the call for President Buhari’s impeachment. So what other evidence should I prove to show that my party members and leaders are in full support of the impeachment process? The national publicity secretary made a statement yesterday where he restated the fact that the decision we took is the decision of the party.
Alhassan Ado Doguwa also blamed you specifically for the president’s failure to honour the invitation of the House of representatives, how would you respond to that?
This is ridiculous. This obviously shows that the government is not responsible. How would a call for the impeachment of President Buhari stop him from honouring the invitation of the House of Representatives? Now the question is, who do we believe between Ado Doguwa and the Attorney general of the federation? Ado Doguwa claims because there is a threat from the PDP to impeach the president, that’s the reason the president failed to honour the invitation. The Attorney general of the federation says that the house lacks the power to invite the president; that’s the reason why the president failed to appear before the House. So, who do we believe?
At what stage are you with the impeachment proceeding?
It is not a sole authority to process an impeachment. The other colleagues must unanimously agree in the position. Currently, we are at the stage of dialogue with other party members. We are also talking to Nigerians. And we are asking Nigerians to speak to their representatives too. The president has no power to insist on remaining in office when the people who elected him have said they’re not satisfied with having him as a president. Once we are done with this stage, of course we will proceed to present the impeachment notice. If it works out successfully, it’s fine. If it doesn’t, it’s still fine. It’s democracy. The people will choose whom they want as president. There was an attempt to impeach President Olusegun Obasanjo during his administration which didn’t succeed. The people have the constitutional rights to choose their president and vote against a bad performing president. I always tell my constituents to criticise me when I go wrong. Those criticisms will help me sit up and deliver my mandate as their representative. A good government must be attentive and open to criticisms. The government is sleeping because Nigerians are sleeping. If we do nothing about bad governance, we will all pay for it someday regardless of your party, tribe and religion.
Do you have members of the APC who supports the impeachment proceedings?
It is not possible to have one hundred percent of the APC and PDP members to endorse an impeachment proceeding because people must have their own opinions. It is only when we start gathering the signatures that can tell if the APC and PDP completely support the impeachment process.