Unending impeachment travails of deputy governors

The impending impeachment plot hanging on the neck of the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, has reechoed the perennial ugly fate of those who occupy Second -in Command positions in various states of the country.

“I supported the second term bid of the governor with my finances. Including how we got the ticket of the PDP, I contributed financially, both in naira and in dollars. If I say betrayal, it is an understatement. I feel very hurt and betrayed,” Shaibu lamented.

However, whether he rightly deserved the treatment he is currently receiving from his principal or not, is, more or less, a moral burden both for him and Governor Obaseki. Did they not say in the political palace that there is no morality in politics? Again, Shaibu seemed to have learnt too late that political contestation is regrettably a race of the survival of the fittest laced with an extremely brutal attack to relationships.

And whether he finally wriggles out of this predicament or not, what may be incontestable is that his political trajectory may have unceremoniously been cut short.

But, regardless of the magnitude of the unfortunate fate that befell the Edo State deputy governor, it is, however, not a novel occurrence in the Nigerian political turf. Across every state of the federation, and in all the democratic republics, incidents of governors conniving with a greater number of state legislators to institute impeachment proceedings against their deputies abound.

Impeachment moves against deputy governors have rather assumed unimaginable disturbing classic proportions and even traditional dimensions in the Nigerian political circle. It now requires miracles for the occupants of the office of deputy governors to serve out their terms without their principal conspiring to impeach them.

From Ondo to Kogi, Oyo to Imo, Bauchi to Bayelsa, Zamfara to Enugu among other states, Nigerian political history is brimming with boundless cases of sometimes unjustifiable ruthless impeachment of deputy governors after falling out with their principals over irreconcilable differences.

In the current republic, it took divine intervention by nature of the death of Ondo governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, for the deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa to escape impeachment. Curiously, Ondo currently heads the record books as the only state to have initiated impeachment proceedings against at least three deputy governors over frivolous allegations of gross misconduct.

Before Aiyedatiwa’s miraculous escape, the deputy governor of the state, Ali Olanusi was impeached in April 2015, exactly one month after defecting from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

There was also Agboola Ajayi who served as Governor Akeredolu’s deputy and fought a months-long legal and political battle all through the year 2020 to hold on to his seat after also defecting from the political party of his principal. It took legal intervention to stop Ondo lawmakers from impeaching Ajayi.

Only last year, members of the Oyo State House of Assembly impeached the deputy governor of the state, Rauf Olaniyan, after defecting from PDP, the ruling party in the state, to APC over the same allegation of gross misconduct.

Other victims of impeachment plots effectively deployed to settle political scores include Prince Eze Madumere of Imo State in 2018, Garba Gadi of Bauchi in 2009, and Peremobowei Ebebi of Bayelsa impeached in 2010. In February 2022, Mahdi Aliyu Gusau of Zamfara State was impeached by the State Assembly after refusing to defect to the APC with then-Governor Bello Matawalle.

In Kogi, Simon Achuba was also impeached by state lawmakers in October 2019 after falling out with then Governor, Yahaya Bello, and in August 2014, Sunday Onyebuchi was impeached as deputy governor of Enugu state.

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