Rivers State: Anarchy Base of the Nation, By Enenim Ubon
Rivers State: Treasure Base of the Nation; a state supposed to be practicing democracy has gradually shown by the actions/inaction of its elected,appointed officials and (some) citizens that democracy has a different meaning in the state. In Rivers State anything goes, whether supported by the constitution or not inasmuch as it makes some persons feel superior to others. ‘Everyone’ is an authority in law, no one waits for interpretations of laws from the court(when necessary) anymore: simply use state/federal might to implement whatever personal interpretation of the law. Courts are bombed and nothing happens.
Rivers State is now the anarchy base of the nation, setting the pace (albeit negatively) in so many areas, a clear indication that democracy in the state(and nation) is very far from ‘its destination’.
Rivers State is the state where five persons attempted to impeach the speaker of the state house of assembly(Edo State has since learned from them). The first state where a Governors ADC abandoned the job of protecting his boss to fight on the floor of the state house of assembly. The first state where the state house of assembly holds sittings within the government house(maybe with the governor in attendance, to supervise). The first state to have its budget presented,considered,passed and signed into law within three hours. The ‘pace setter’ state where there’s been an attempt by the Governor(against the constitution) to appoint a judge of the state customary court as the chief judge(against the recommendation of the NJC). Recently the HOA committee on Judiciary held a public hearing,submitted its report,had the report considered by the rest of the house and voted as an amendment of the state high court law of 2001 in less than three hours. No one knows what will happen next, with various sponsored protests holding each day. Presently, only one arm of the government is functioning, the other two exist only on ‘paper’. This is the Rivers state brand of democracy,gradually it may be exported to other states; one wonders if after 15 years of democracy,this is how we intend to move our nation forward. Rivers State has become a lawless society where emotions/sentiments take precedence over the constitution. The Governor being a major beneficiary of the law/judicial system ought to know better and ensure that the rule of law is respected but sadly the reverse is the case – he has become an expert in amending laws that don’t favour him and assenting to same at night. The rule of might overriding the rule of law.
I hope things change soon for the sake of the ‘ordinary’ citizens who are affected by this state of commotion. Till then,we look forward to a new scene each day and the continuous ridiculing of democracy, while a few persons go around feeling above the law ensuring that anarchy continues to reign in a state that ‘once was’ the Treasure Base of the Nation – after-all they are beneficiaries of the present situation.
The writer is on twitter @enenimubon
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