SIXTY-three senators as of Thursday have signed up to the plan to impeach President Goodluck Jonathan in the upper legislative chamber, The PUNCH learnt in Abuja.
One of the arrowheads of the move to remove Jonathan in the Senate showed our correspondent the list containing the signatures of the senators.
The source said eight Peoples Democratic Party senators were among the signatories to the planned impeachment notice.
There are 109 members in the Senate.
An All Progressives Congress senator from the North-West zone, who asked not to be named,told our correspondent that the lawmakers’ major grouse was the President’s handling of the economy and political affairs of the country.
The senator cited poor implementation of the national budget since 2011, alleged high level of corruption and “gross disregard” of the legislature at both the federal and state levels as topping the list of lawmakers’ anger against Jonathan.
Asked whether he realised that the process of impeachment could be tedious and cumbersome, the senator said, “ We know and we are prepared to show the President that we have responsibility to the people and the nation in general.
“We are prepared to lay the impeachment notice anytime from next week. Meetings are already being held.”
Senator Ibrahim Musa (APC Niger North) confirmed that there were moves by some members of the Senate to initiate impeachment proceedings against the President but failed to give details.
“I think there is something like that but I don’t have the details, it is still coming as a rumour,” Musa said.
But The PUNCH learnt that the impeachment move against the President had really gained momentum with the APC senators mobilising themselves to carry out the exercise anytime from next week.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that some PDP senators, who were initially at the forefront of the struggle, had retreated following the intervention of the senate leadership and the promise of automatic tickets by the party.
It was learnt that the PDP senators had been pleading with their APC colleagues to hold on till next week pending the outcome of the moves by the senate leadership to ensure the realisation of the automatic tickets agreement they had with the PDP and Jonathan.
An APC senator told our correspondent on condition of anonymity that the impeachment letter contains the signature of both the APC and PDP senators.
He explained that the letter could not be laid on the floor of the senate because some PDP senators appealed to them to delay the action.
He said, “The truth of the matter is that the impeachment notice would have been laid if not for our colleagues in the PDP who pleaded with us to delay the process pending when the senate leadership would come up with the result of its efforts at securing automatic tickets for them.
“In any case the process had started but if we submit the letter now, the signatures of the PDP senators will be there and the party might want to use that as an excuse to deny them their automatic tickets.”
The PDP senators contacted by our correspondent on the issue declined to make comment.
However, one of them who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the process of impeachment had not been suspended.