We almost impeached Obasanjo over third term bid – Masari

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Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, said on Thursday that the House of Representatives came close to impeaching former President Olusegun Obasanjo long before the ex- President’s botched third term bid was made public.

Addressing members of the Executive Intelligence Management Course 10 (EIMC 10) at the Institute for Security Studies in Abuja, Masari who was Speaker of the lower house during the period strongly emphasized the need for both the executive and legislative arms to establish cordial working relations toward achieving development and democratic growth.

Giving a historical analysis of how poor relations between the two arms had proven to be a sure recipe for political volatility in several countries, he noted that the removal of Alhaji Balarabe Musa by Kaduna State legislators on June 23, 1981 set an unwholesome precedent, adding that acrimonious relationships at the state and federal levels are unhelpful to the nation.

In his paper titled: “Executive-Legislature Relations and the Challenges of Democratic Consolidation and Development in Katsina State,” Masari said he had no hand in the recent removal of the Speaker of the Katsina State House of Assembly and expressed concern about the spate of hostility between both arms since 1999.

“In the present Republic, there have been spates of threats of impeachment, and absence of cordiality between the executive and the legislature; even at the federal level, we could recall the acrimonious relationship that defined Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration and the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2003.

“The highlight of this hostility and militant disposition of the House was the attempted impeachment of Obasanjo.

“Of course, the move was jettisoned following intervention of some well-meaning Nigerians.

But the experience was unique and instructive of the nature and impact of executive-legislature relations on the overall governance of the country and the development of democracy.”

Pointing out that Katsina State is now a model because it evolved a relationship of respect, trust and cooperation between the executive and the legislature for the common good of the people, he said such relationship would always remain crucial to democracy and development.

In his five-point recommendation for building and sustaining of good executive-legislature relationship in all states and at the federal level, Masari urged the two arms to fully understand the constitutional limits of their powers, understand that the legislature has a duty to ensure accountability while legislators must also “resist the temptation to appoint themselves as judge and jury over all issues.”

He said: “Much of the success achieved in establishing strong, but cordial relations between the executive and the legislature depends on the personality and disposition of the chief executive and the legislature’s leadership. It also depends on the degree to which chief executives are committed to non-interference in the internal politics of the legislature.

“Quite often, we have seen how legislative assemblies in this country arrogate to themselves imaginary powers with which they intimidate and blackmail the executive into doing their biddings; aside from being unethical, this is also illegal and an abuse of privileges.”

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