Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Power of Immunity

Update on Alamieyeseigha

It seems all is not well for Alamieyeseigha, even in his own state. There are strong indications that the bail-jumping governor may have been served with impeachment papers by the state house of assembly, and he may have since gone into gone into hiding.

If this is a fact that impeachment proceedings have started, then I tender my most sincere apologies to the members of the Bayelsa State of Assembly for the remarks made about them earlier (see below).

There are also reports of civil unrests in some areas of Bayelsa, with placard-carrying demonstrating youths calling for the impeachment and extradition of the governor to UK. Apparently a good proportion of Bayelsa state residents are not in agreement with their governor as some reports have suggested earlier.

There are insinuations in some quarters that the British authority may have in some ways aided the escape of the embattled governor. See Elendu Reports for more on this story.

A succinct synopsis of some of the postings from the Nigerian Blogoshere is available at Chippla’s Weblog .

The Power of Immunity

Now it should be clear to all including the people of Bayelsa state that their Governor, DSP Diepreye Alamieyeseigha (aka Alams), is a dirty rotten scoundrel, a common criminal of the worst kind, and he deserves to bear the full weight of the law. Just as Joshua Dariye, the Plateau state Governor that jumped bail in the UK last year.

My earlier post on this most shameful saga was essentially a knee-jerk reaction, and I’m sure many Nigerians felt the same going the the various postings on the blogoshere so far.

Personally, I feel hugely slighted by this man’s action. In fact I’m still smouldering from the fury that comsumed me earlier today on reading about his now infamous escape from the UK.

How he did it, only him knows. The possibility that Alamieyeseigha couldn’t have escaped without some assistance from the “London Bobbies” is even more depressing and aggravating. Well that is a different matter entirely.

“So what happens now?” “Is Alams just going to return to his official quarters in Yenagoa and continue with business as usual”? After using all the known expletives on this Governor-turned-thief, these are some of the questions popping up in my mind all day.

This is a litmus test for President Obasanjo and the national assembly. Forget about the Bayelsa state’s assembly; they are a bunch of impotent misfits and sycophants. They are toothless. In fact they should all face prosecution for bastardizing the principles of law and bringing to ridicule their most sacred office.

It appears that the time for partisan politics is over, and it is time for serious soul searching. Alamieyeseigha has brought shame to the all Nigerians particularly those in elected capacities. If Alamieyeseigha was an oridinary person he would be summarily extradited back to the UK for the felonies he has commited by jumping bail, and possibly forgery. But he enjoys a priviledge that only 74 Nigerians have- the immunity clause.

Nigerian elected officials cannot continue to commit felonies with impunity. It is time to expunge the immunity clause from the Nigerian constitution. Under this clause (1999 constitution, section 308), serving president, vice president, state governors and their deputies are shielded from prosecution in the event they commit any criminal offence while in office. They can be prosecuted only when they vacate their office.

As naïve as this may be, my proposal is that the Nigerian Senate and the Federal House of Representatives should immediately commence a joint session to deliberate on the matter of "executive immunity" for the sake of accountability and national image. What Alamieyeseigha (and Dariye) did were grave abuse of power of the worst variety and it calls for a waiver of immunity. Afterall, this so called "immunity" was not intended for instances like these, or was it?

There I go again, lost in my unfounded idealism! Afterall this is Nigeria where some people can literally make the “sun disappear, and turn day into night”. As hopeful and upbeat as I try to be, instances such as Alamieyeseigha’s and Dariye’s end up knocking the winds out of me. In my breathlessness, I wonder if the winds of change that I’d felt somewhere earlier was afterall an illusion- a make believe that has somehow blown somewhere else, but Nigeria.

I'll quietly wait for time to be kind, and prove me and other Nigerians wrong.