Former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has described the process leading to the impeachment of Zamfara State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Mahdi Aliyu Gusua as illegal.
Dr. Saraki in a statement said the process of removing the deputy governor didn’t follow the process as clearly spelled out in the constitution of Nigeria noting that leaders across political divides must see the impeachment as an assault on constitutionalism.
Gusua has had a running battle with the Governor of the state, Mallam Bello Matawalle for his refusal to leave the Peoples Democratic Party to join All Progressives Congress with the governor. It will be recalled that Matawalle who became Governor on the platform of PDP, members of his cabinet and members of the state House of Assembly decamped enmasse to the ruling APC over a year ago.
In a twist of fate and without appearance of the Deputy Governor before the Panel that sat over the impeachment process, the State House of Assembly impeached the young Deputy Governor. The now former Deputy Governor is a son of Lt General Mohammed Aliyu Gusua, former National Security Adviser and Minister of Defence.
In his condemnation of the impeachment, Senator Saraki reiterated that leaders should not undermine the constitution.
“After 21-years of our democracy, when all leaders and stakeholders should be pursuing and encouraging all means to follow the Constitution, the abrupt impeachment of the Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Mahdi Ali, without following due process — just because he refused to join the ruling party is truly disheartening.
“We cannot attempt to subvert the freedom of association of any individual — whether a sitting public office holder or a regular citizen. This freedom allows any individual to freely join or exit a political party when he deems fit. The ruling party should not and cannot attempt to brow-beat a public office holder to join their party or to bend to their political leanings, simply because they have the majority in the legislature.
“We must preserve the integrity of our democratic institutions, otherwise, we risk setting dangerous constitutional and political precedents that can spiral.
“All leaders, in both the ruling APC, and my party, the PDP, must come out to condemn this impeachment as an embarrassment to our democracy. We must all stand with Barr. Mahdi Ali, for his courage and tenacity in the face of overwhelming adversity.
“This young leader has shown that he is a person with true conviction. He stands as a beacon of hope for many young Nigerians!,” Saraki said.