A former President of the Senate, Pius Anyim, has revealed that members of the National Assembly wanted to impeach President Olusegun Obasanjo because of their grievances over his perceived role in the removal of several presiding officers of the 4th Senate.
But Anyim claimed the lawmakers were blackmailed into giving up on the planned impeachment of the President.
What the ex-Senate President said confirms a recent comment made by a former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, that pleas were made to the National Assembly not to impeach Obasanjo.
Anyim, who also served as the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) under President Goodluck Jonathan, spoke in Abuja on Monday at the second public lecture organised by National Assembly Legislative Digest, with the theme, ’20 Years of the National Assembly in the Fourth Republic: The Tasks Ahead of the Ninth National Assembly.’
He said, “I had to struggle to the very end, to hold on to the seat of the Senate President and administer the office to the best of my ability. At about the same period, there was also a change of Speaker in the House of Representatives, though in circumstances not similar and not as controversial as those of the Senate.
“The 5th Senate also witnessed a change of a presiding officer. I recently read a report in the media crediting Gen. Yakubu Gowon as stating how the body of former Heads of State persuaded the then leadership of the National Assembly not to impeach President Obasanjo.
“During our meeting with the former Heads of State, we shared one concern with them, that is that a situation where the impeachment of a presiding officer is regarded as democracy in action and, on the other hand, impeachment of a chief executive (president) is regarded as democracy under threat, was not acceptable.
“I wish to restate our view that impeachment of any elected officer in any arm of government, especially when it is contrived, is unhealthy for our democratic progress. Accordingly, I urge both arms of government to strive to avoid impeachment for whatever reason.”