Abba: Stuck between Executive Tyranny and Legislative Delinquency By Funmilola Ajala
I’ve been opportune to divulge some commentaries by different authors dissecting the faux pas which played-out at the National Assembly, last week Thursday. I must acknowledge that many of the op-eds reflect some rather agonizingly interesting verities about Nigeria’s democratic space.
While I – like many other concerned compatriots – have dutifully but worrisomely followed claims, reactions, argument, debate and what have you since the police ‘siege’ on the shrine of Nigeria’s lawmaking, it has become apparent that at the heart of what engineered the show of shame is partisan myopia.
Conceivably, in addition to that, the event of Thursday 20th November, 2014, also demonstrates one incontestable fact about our political elites: unity of purpose – even when such seems misplaced. Now, we know Nigerian leaders need not struggle always before bonding at the sight of a perceived common ‘enemy’. Unity in diversity is achievable without necessarily flogging the usual characteristic ethno-religious lines. In a manner that appear to support that assertion, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila freely exhibited comradeship with Hon. Abdulmalik Cheche, alongside Hon. Kawu Sumaila and the likes without recourse to who hails from where; or whether someone answers ‘Amin’ or ‘Amen’ to prayers when that hour to climb the green gate of the National Assembly beckoned.
Nigerians couldn’t but observe in awe at the exhibition of chagrin, though considered to be a perfect opportunity by some legislators to display their pastime in gymnastics; the type that would ordinarily make the Russians and Chinese green with envy. Scaling through a 12-ft iron gate shouldn’t be classed a mean feat, more so for someone in flowing babariga. By the way, many of these parliamentarians could hardly be remembered for contributing meaningfully at any plenary in the past 3 years. They must have reserved their energies for that anointed day to show their true colours.
These days, being a lawmaker in Naija’s political spectrum isn’t apparently a child’s play anymore. Maybe we have to resort to reality that such important assignment demands less of Intelligence Quotient (IQ) at the sustenance of physical resilience and exuberance; that’s if the Abuja circus is to be employed as our criterion.
In terms of assessment in recent times, the ratings couldn’t have returned worse for Nigeria’s political coterie. The plutocrats have let themselves in for some egregious negativism, of late. From an executive department whose despondency is written virtually all over notable state bureaucracies, to the oppositions which – in turn – have chosen to divorce the letters of the nation’s law books while dancing to the tune being rendered by the gallery cast. Everyone seems infected with the virus of desperation.
Interestingly, a major bloc of the oppositions now resides within the federal legislature. But unfortunately, the argumentative oscillation of the ‘rebel’ lawmakers has been lost inbetween constitutionality and morality these days. And that is fast assuming a clear state of conundrum, even to our dear ‘honourables’ themselves.
More imperatively though, that a key state signature like the police is being forced to re-double the texture of its toga as ‘errand boys’ to power gamers is nothing but an obnoxious aberration of civility. Where rests the place of neutrality when the police – who denied Aminu Tambuwal access to the National Assembly accord David Mark unfettered passage into the same premises? What becomes of the so-called intelligence report which predicated the subterfuge ab-initio?
Why did the executive – whose demand for an extension to the near-futile state of emergency in the North-East attracted the reconvening of the already recessing ‘junior’ lawmakers – barricade the Reps from their legit point of legislative transactions? This, according to the legislators, was meant to fabricate a factitious nervousness – which the parliamentarians gullibly fell for anyway.
Thanks to Hon. Kawu and the likes for availing us reminiscence of the entertainment Mr. Hulk Hogan usually illuminates the Royale Rumble arena of WWF with, few years ago.
By the way, Abuja did not enjoy monopoly of political melodrama last week. As a matter of fact, another interesting chapter was added to the rapidly unfolding epic duel inside the Ekiti Flavian Amphitheatre, same day Abuja was practically boiling.
The latest in the installment of inanities which have continually palpated the fountain of knowledge since the enthronement of charismatic helmsman, Ayodele Fayose, was brought to the screen for Nigerians to savour with the purported impeachment of Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Dr. Adewale Omirin, by 7 pro-executive legislators of the 26-member-assembly – instead of the Constitutionally dictated 2/3 (18members) quorum.
The declaration by Fayose, accepting “to work” with the new Speaker, Dele Olugbemi, is but laughable; just as the kangaroo impeachment in itself. Whoever mooted the idea of popularizing such a farce and travesty in Ado-Ekiti should be charged with an unforgivable orchestration to pilfer Ekiti indigenes – and by extension all Nigerians – of their consciousness.
Perturbing to me, again, is the fact that Nigerian police were fingered as providing cover for the impostor in Olugbemi while Omirin is said to have exiled himself in Lagos due to his newest status as a persona-non-grata on the streets of Ado in the heat of an unpredictable political hanky-panky.
I pity the police. I mean the Nigerian police who stood helpless while Juries were being battered within Court environment in the same Ekiti.
As I calmly submit my body into a nearby sofa last Saturday evening, skimming through pages of a national daily; my eyes pounced on a report, detailing the crisis that enveloped Ibadan a day earlier. An event, going by the report, was organized by the incumbent governor Abiola Ajimobi’s All Progressives Congress (APC). The Oke-Ado venue of the political rally was soon turned into a theatre of war as political thugs ‘hijacked’ the atmosphere, leading to the untimely demise of a Police Inspector, who was shot in the head from amongst the herd of hoodlums.
From the look of things, Nigeria is at a juncture where the sanctity of an institution as central to any democracy as the police is constantly being diluted and desecrated by those in corridors of power. We need not mince words here; that is the greatest tragedy that could befriend any clime which pretends to be sane.
One must show empathy towards the security agents whose urge to protect that coveted ‘daily bread’ often translates into them throwing commonsense and dignity to the trash-can in the face of unquestionable ‘order from above’. That possibly explains the reason why the Police IG has literarily assumed the role of adjudicating who is addressed as ‘Speaker’ of the House of Reps.
And so, one of the sacrifices which fellas who find themselves in the rank-and-file of the police force have to endure is to subject themselves to baptism with bottled water by angry politicians, like witnessed last week. A colleague of mine, though, suggests the policemen would count themselves lucky enough, at least being petted by Ogas’ table water is better than being fell by death merchants’ bullets.
At the risk of sounding too pessimistic, I must summarise that if this is what democracy within our space entails – like some are currently preaching, then we might as well be in for more drama. We should anticipate our leaders going full scale Roforofoism someday, just like somewhere under the bridge at Oshodi, leaving nothing to the imagination. After all, it is “demonstration of craze”, like Fela Anikulapo Kuti opines.
Here, I rest my case.
*You can follow Ajala on Twitter: @ajalatravel07
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