• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Impeached: History of ousted deputy governors in Nigeria since 1999

Philip-Shuaibu-1280×720-1

Phillip Shaibu, deputy governor of Edo State, has become the 17th to be removed from office since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999.  This development has sparked calls for stronger legal protections for deputy governors, aiming to safeguard the sanctity of their positions and strengthen democracy as a whole.

Shaibu, embroiled in a public feud with Governor Godwin Obaseki over his gubernatorial aspirations, was impeached by the Edo State House of Assembly on accusations of perjury and disclosing state secrets. His replacement is 38-year-old Omobayo Godwin. Analysts believe the saga is far from over, given Shaibu’s lawsuit challenging the impeachment and the upcoming September 21st governorship election in Edo.

Shaibu is not an anomaly. Sixteen other deputy governors across Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones have been impeached since 1999. Observers point to disagreements with governors and alleged insubordination as recurring themes leading to these removals. This underlines the need for a clearer definition of deputy governor roles within the constitution and potential adjustments to impeachment procedures.

The list of impeached deputy governors includes:

Femi Pedro (Lagos),

Iyiola Omisore (Osun),

Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele (Lagos),

Chris Ekpenyong (Akwa Ibom),

Abiodun Aluko (Ekiti), Biodun Olujinmi (Ekiti),

The late Garba Gadi (Bauchi)

Peremobowei Elebi (Bayelsa).

Sani Abubakar Danladi (Taraba)

Jude Agbaso (Imo)

Sunday Onyebuchi (Enugu)

Ali Olanusi (Ondo)

Eze Madumere (Imo)

Simon Achuba (Kogi)

Rauf Olaniyan (Oyo)

Mahdi Aliyu Gusau (Zamfara).

Among these, only a handful – including the late Garba Gadi (Bauchi), Peremobowei Elebi (Bayelsa), Sani Abubakar Danladi (Taraba), Sunday Onyebuchi (Enugu), Ali Olanusi (Ondo), Jude Agbaso (Imo), Eze Madumere (Imo), Simon Achuba (Kogi), and Mahdi Aliyu Gusau (Zamfara) – successfully overturned their impeachments through court orders. Unfortunately, none were reinstated due to various circumstances.

For instance, while Femi Pedro (Lagos) received a pardon from the state Assembly, Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele (Lagos) maintained she resigned, despite the Assembly’s insistence on impeachment. Biodun Olujinmi (Ekiti) contested her impeachment alongside Governor Ayo Fayose, even briefly serving as acting governor. However, the federal government intervened, declaring a state of emergency and appointing a sole administrator.

Many other deputy governors narrowly avoided impeachment following disputes with their principals. The current Ondo State Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, faced a near-impeachment during his late principal Rotimi Akeredolu’s health crisis, which triggered a significant political crisis within the state.