The Institutionalization of Impunity By Jonathan’s Presidency
It is an incontrovertible fact that impunity thrives in a lawless and corrupt society that totters on the brink of collapse. Impunity epitomises the institutionalization of corruption and predilection to use of self help and cutting of corners in the false belief that the end justifies the means.
The prevalence of the culture of impunity is one of the ugly spectre of years of military rule in the country but it appears that the degree of impunity one experiences in the country today after nearly 16 years of the return to democratic civil rule in the country is becoming worse than what we experienced in the hey days of military rule.
Undoubtedly impunity has become one of the hallmarks and corner stone of the presidency of President Good-luck Jonathan. In President Jonathan‘s administration we have seen the practice of impunity being elevated to unprecedented height never seen in the annals of the chequered constitutional history of Nigeria.
The promotion and elevation of corruption and impunity by the Jonathan’s presidency first manifested in its poignancy at the beginning of the regime in July, 2011, when the then President of the Court of Appeal, Honourable Justice Ayo Isa Salami, was suspended from office on the directive of President Jonathan on the pretext that he had denigrated the office of the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu.
However the actual reason for the suspension of Honourable Justice Ayo Salami that we were not told was the grand plot by the Presidency to stop Honourable Justice Salami from Presiding over the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal that was hearing the Petition filed by the defunct Congress of Progressives Change (CPC) against the declaration of President Jonathan as the winner of the 2011 Presidential Election.
Honourable Justice Salami was perceived as a courageous, fearless and independent minded judicial officer that interpreted the law as it was and so he had to be shown the way out.
The practice of impunity reached unparalled height when the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (as he then was) was removed from office by President Jonathan in flagrant disregard of the provisions of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2004, after a bitter row ensued between the former CBN Governor and Presidency over the whistle blowing by the latter that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation failed to remit more than $48 Billion into the Federation Account.
In recent weeks, the brazenness of the culture of impunity institutionalised by the Jonathan’s Presidency has reached alarming height. Foremost, the Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abass, on the orders of the Presidency withdrew of officers attached to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, on the ground that the latter had decamped from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress.
The locking down of the Houses of Representatives by a contingent of Police Officers on the 20th November, 2014, to prevent Honourable Tambuwal and members of the opposition from having access to the Chambers of the House of Representatives is inconceivable and leaves a sour taste to the extent that Presidency will perpetuate such impunity for purely selfish political and partisan goals.
The whole essence of the lock down of the House of Representatives was a sinister plot to remove Honourable Tambuwal from office as the Speaker of the House of Representatives in retaliation for his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party.
Undeniably the lock down of the House of Representatives amounts to an unremitting assault and encroachment of the principle of the separation of power which is one of the pillars of the present constitutional democracy being practiced in the Country.
The action of the Police in invading the precincts of the House of Representatives that by law is regarded as a constitutional and democratic sacred ground and national monument on the puerile and lame excuse that it was to prevent thugs from gaining access to is a brutal and grim reminder of how far this administration can go in its frenzy and desperation to perpetuate its own brand of jaundiced democracy grounded on impunity, corruption and excessive use of government security forces to intimidate and harass opponents of the regime to submission.
It is disheartening and inconceivable that the Police which is statutorily conferred with the responsibility of maintenance of law and order would impugned the provisions of Section 14 of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act, 2004 with such impunity by preventing the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and member of the opposition from entering the House of Representatives to carry out their legislative business.
By now it ought to occur to promoters of the culture of impunity that drives this administration that the resort to impunity in resolving conflict gives the impression to the outside world that we are uncivilised, over heats the polity and sends wrong signals of intractable political instability in the Country that contributes to the cause and festering of the crisis which in turn promotes extreme groups such as the murderous Boko Haram and its it ilk in the Country.
As the 2015 General Election looms and with the increasing alienation of and disconnect between the People of Nigerian and the Jonathan administration over the appalling and unimpressive performance of the Federal Government that has left the national economy on the brink of collapse leaving in its wake unprecedented poverty among the people and chronic unemployment, we should expect more gross acts of impunity as the regime grapples with its quest and ambition to win next year’s election at all cost.
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