Senator Arthur Nzeribe has broken his long silence, challenging Ijaw leader and elder statesman Chief Edwin Clark to tell Nigerians all he knows about the sponsors of the Boko Haram sect, instead of casting aspersions on some northern leaders.
He berated President Goodluck Jonathan for failing to implement the National Judicial Council’s (NJC’s) recommendation to reinstate Justice Ayo Salami as the President of the Court of Appeal.
Nzeribe said such “flagrant abuse of the law” by the President is being emulated by governors.
Citing Imo State as an example, he said the governor has been ignoring court orders.
Nzeribe described as “an effort in futility” the threat by the House of Representatives to impeach the President.
He said the high-level of corruption in the system makes it impossible for any serious-minded legislature to implement the threat.
Speaking with reporters at his home in Abuja on Sunday night, Nzeribe said he was concerned about the political developments in his home state, Imo.
He said the state is not only groaning under a rudderless leadership “as evidenced in the activities of Governor Rochas Okorocha”, but may sink deeper, with the “cowardice” being exhibited by those who should ordinarily speak against the “democratic apathy”.
Expressing fears that the state may degenerate into the Hobbesian jungle, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart urged lawmakers in Imo to work towards providing purposeful leadership.
Nzeribe said: “I have been very careful since Okorocha assumed office about saying anything about his administration. But things are getting worse by the day. It is a very dangerous situation we are having in Imo State and nobody is ready to bell the cat.
“Must it take the order of the Attorney-General of the Federation for the 27 local government chairmen to be reinstated? Must the response from Imo State to the court order be that ‘since the Federal Government refused to reinstate Salami as ordered by the NJC, Imo State is at liberty not to obey court order? Why, for example, take such a position on the Salami saga?”
On the Boko Haram insurgency, Nzeribe said: “I do not agree with the way the President is handling the matter. The President once said the Boko Haram people have penetrated the government; why has he not made any arrest? We should know who they are beyond the President telling us that they are in his government.”
On Clark’s statement that former Military Presidents Ibrahim Babangida and Muhammadu Buhari should openly condemn the sect, he said: “Clark has a platform to speak his mind. He has been the spokesman of the government for quite sometime now. Why is he throwing the balloon in the air for it to burst? He should tell us what he knows.
“Clark did not go the whole hog. If he has fingered one or two persons, then we should know where he is going.”
Speaking on the threat to impeach the President over the poor implementation of the 2012 budget, Nzeribe said he doubts if the lawmakers understand what it takes to impeach the President.
He said: “I doubt if they understand what they are doing. Nobody respects the average lawmaker anymore in Nigeria. With the kind of corruption in the system, I do not think the impeachment threat is real.
“I do not think the House has the right to summon the President, but there is nothing wrong with the President going to them and saying. ‘I have come to brief you’. You cannot continue to threaten to impeach the President all the time.”
Acknowledging that the PDP has not provided quality leadership at the federal, state and local government levels, the senator said the party is still grappling with the best way of managing the opposition.
Nzeribe has confidence in the Bamanga Tukur-led National Executive to set the party on the right track.