Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd) yesterday warned against the impeachment of elected officials particularly the President, saying doing so would not augur well for the nation’s fledgling democracy.
Speaking while playing host to members of the Northern Leaders and Stakeholders Assembly, NLSA, who paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja, he said it is too early for Nigeria to start impeaching democratically-elected presidents.
The former Head of State’s warning is coming at a time that some members of the National Assembly are canvassing the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari over the purchase of $496 million Tucano aircraft from the United States.
Noting that disagreements remain vital components of a democracy, the elder statesman said such disagreements should be handled differently without necessarily taking the impeachment option.
Gowon spoke against the backdrop of the submission of a report on motion for the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari over the purchase of $496 million Tucano Aircrafts without legislators’ approval.
He said: “It may be too early in the day to start impeaching Presidents in Nigeria. Otherwise, there is no President that will not get impeached because of these interest groups.
“We need to come together as a people – Arewa Consultative Forum, Northern Elders Forum and this forum. The three must come together or else, we will end up dividing our interests thereby polarising the North.
“So it is a question of unity of the people in the North which is very important. The interest of the North is the interest of the nation.”
He called on the different groups in the North to come together to project a common front, adding that too many groups could send wrong signals to other parts of the country.
Chairman of the Forum and former Presidential adviser, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai in his remarks said the group was committed to sustainable peace and harmonious co-existence of all ethnic nationalities in the country.
He added that his group painstakingly study the reports of its various sub committees, with the view to taking the necessary actions that would engender peace and unity among the various political stakeholders in the region.
According to Yakassai, the main objective of the group was to bring together Northerners of good standing for the purpose of arresting drifts in the region.
He also spoke on the urgent need for the various stakeholders to strive to rebuild confidence among the people of the North, irrespective of differences in ethnic and religious backgrounds.
Also speaking, former Minister of Defence, Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed, assured that the group would do all that is required to ensure unity of purpose among the diverse groups in the region.
Others at the meeting were a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Abba Gana; a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Umar Ghali Na’Aba; two former senators -Joseph Waku and Paul Wampana
Others are a former Deputy President of the Senate, Ibrahim Mantu; two former Women Affairs Minister, Maryam Ciroma and Zainab Maina.