ANALYSIS: Good That The Anarchy Did Not ThriveArticles/Opinion, Featured Contributors/Columnists, Latest News, Politics Thursday, August 2nd, 2018
By Tajudeen Balogun, Head, African Examiner, Nigeria Bureau
BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – After a relatively long break from the Nigerian political scene, the impunity in which a cross section of the country’s political class is reputed, unfortunately came to play early this week. It was demonstrated by reckless eight Benue State, North central Nigeria, Lawmakers of the ruling APC – who allegedly with the tacit support of some State’s party’s leaders attempted to commence an impeachment process against the Governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom.
Their reason: The Governor who has been at loggerhead with the State’s party bigwigs shifted and defected to the leading opposition – PDP. Ortom, by his action and an accurate assessment had only returned to his original political base. He joined the APC in 2014 after the PDP failed to give him its Governorship ticket for 2015 general elections. Perhaps, his case is like that of an ‘escapee’ or an ‘opportunist’. So, what do you expect from such a politician after being ‘suffocated’ by his host?
The killings by suspected herdsmen of innocent residents in that State to me, is an additional flavor to the internal wrangling that have blossomed in the party (since Ortom’s assumption as Governor), but without a definite solution. Also, the unfortunate killings are also a coincidence; but have become a strong point for the Governor to further justify his action. So, Ortom found himself in a fist and considered exit as the way out. There is no constitution stopping such an action; therefore, no sanction.
However, whether Ortom will again suffer the same fate as he did in 2014 or not, that is a different issue and the story for another time.
Gladly, the inanity displayed by the ruthless Legislators failed to thrive. Happily too, the situation has since been brought under control – the tension has subsided and relative peace has returned to Makurdi, the capital city and the State as a whole.
Still, one striking point is that as we speak, the alleged first backer of the disgruntled Lawmakers – a former Governor of the State and serving Senator, George Akume has not uttered a word. Of course, he will not ordinarily admit such weighty indictment, but does the question of whether the public will believe or discard his denial matter? No is my answer.
So, for Akume to have declined reaction to such a serious accusation against him amounts to arrogance; a repeat of lawlessness that has been in the play in the past or he has just accepted the guilt, yet, called the bluff of whoever! Such a bold face is not expected from a politician who claims to belong to the progressive political party.
Let us check a similarity here. Upon being bombarded with the allegation of having hands in it, President Muhammadu Buhari who was far away in Lome, Togo, when the incident occurred reacted and dissociated himself from the show of shame. Political interest or affiliation apart, it is logical to conclude that if Buhari had wished that the barbarism should ‘fly’ (if really keen), nothing would have stopped the security men to aid the Lawmakers to achieve their sinister plan. After all, the precedent for such has been set by some previous administrations in the country.
This takes me to the era of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the case of a former Oyo State Governor, Senator Rasheed Adewolu Ladoja; the 18 errant Legislators of the State’s House of Assembly and installation of Ladoja’s Deputy, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala as the Governor.
The unruliness which occurred in 2006 happened without any hindrance despite the court order, obtained by the Nigeria Bar Association NBA’s, Ibadan branch restraining the then State’s acting Chief Judge, Justice Afolabi Adeniran, from constituting the seven-man panel investigating allegations of gross misconduct against Ladoja.
What made the saga more disgusting was that Obasanjo tactically engaged the unstoppable emperor of Ibadan politics, late Chief Lamidi Adedibu to do the dirty job. The former Military Head of State orchestrated the anarchy simply because Ladoja resolved to rule independently – without the influence of Baba and the King of Molete palace and master of Amala and Gbegiri politics. Although, not losing the fact that Ladoja rode on the back of the duo to the exalted position, but does that really matter? In Nigeria politics for now, o matter baje! (Very significant)
Fortunately for Ladoja, the court in a ‘’declaratory’’ judgement nullified the process through which he was sacked and subsequently reinstated him as the substantive Chief Security officer of the South West State.
Apart from this, former President Obasanjo’s eight years civilian administration witnessed more illegal impeachments. The cases of former Plateau State Governor Mr. Joshua Dariye and the outgoing Ekiti State Governor Mr. Ayodele Fayose readily come to mind. The Governors were sacked by their Lawmakers under questionable circumstances after receiving his (Obasanjo’s) approval.
Among other previous failed impunity in the land was the case of five out of 32 Lawmakers of the Rivers State, South South Nigeria House of Assembly – who in 2013 stupidly attempted to impeach the Speaker, Otelemaba Dan Amachree with the plot to sack after, the immediate past State’s Governor, now the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi.
Even if the former President Goodluck Jonathan was not directly involved in the anarchism, it was very clear that his wife – Mama Peace, Mrs. Patience Jonathan who then was having a running battle with Amaechi on the control of the State, had her husband’s nod; otherwise, she and the incumbent Governor of the State (as the point man) would not have reached that perilous political level. The rest of the affront is now history.
The above cases contest the position that the two leading political parties in Nigeria – the APC and PDP, as well as their gladiators are birds of the same feathers. But I hold a contrary view, as there are differences in their political thinking, no matter how little. I will get back to this later.
On Rivers aborted impunity, I make bold to say that what saved Amaechi from being removed from the office that year was the fact that he enjoyed support of the majority members of the then Rivers State House of Assembly. One may attempt a counter and argue that Benue’s attempt was failed because the APC members were in the minority. The implication of these is that impunity thrives in instances like this with two main factors, namely – the interest of the overall head in power and the popularity of the hunted victim.
Again, politics aside, the opposition members and their supporters must accept this: that impunity is their lot. The past rulers on its platform are very much at home with the act. And this largely accounted for the setback democracy has suffered in this part of the world.
I am very much aware about the court rulings, granting freedom to the former National Security Adviser NSA, under former President Jonathan, Col. (retd) Sambo Dasuki, but not heeded by the sitting Government. ‘’When the lives of people and human right clashed, the former stays’’, so posited the International Criminal Court ICC and cited by Lawyers. The quotation is very relevant in the ex-NSA’s case, so, what is the argument about on the alleged impunity? I wish not to go further on this so as to avoid bias blame.
The PDP members and their supporters are free to carry on with their criticism against the present administration, but they must accept the bitter truth that the absurdity which was stopped in Benue on Monday is known with them and generally adjudged to be their mastered game.
If we care to know, there are more examples. It is on record that Obasanjo captured all but one (Lagos) the South West States in the 2003 general elections in a fraudulent election. And in 2007, his government conducted the worst elections in the history of the country’s democracy. The polls were marred with unrestricted violence, politically motivated killings, yet, no one was punished. It was among Obasanjo’s known mantra and which was passed on to the PDP Chieftains that ‘elections are won on the field, not in the courts’. This statement is misleading and encourages violent voting process.
The Ekiti as well as Osun Governorship 2014 elections are still on the mind. Nigerians will not forget quickly how the government of the day (then) deployed and abused the use of State security agencies to harass and oppress the opposition. It worked in Ekiti, but failed in Osun as the political foot soldiers in the State determined and vowed to give what it would take to ensure that the security did not intimidate them, as well as make their votes count. These happened in the days of the PDP at the centre.
Since its inception 2015, the present ruling party has conducted generally adjudged peaceful polls in Anambra, Kogi States and lately Ekiti. Perhaps, I should say that the sentiment about ‘usurpation of power from a candidate from a minority tribe by a candidate from the major tribe’ – which was traded in the last general polls accounted for the stalemate, violence and political killings that characterized the Rivers State House of Assembly as well as the National Assembly NASS rerun polls in 2017.
Personally, I blame the main actors on both sides – the APC and PDP for the bloodletting recorded. However, there is no doubt that one side was more culpable than the other. Some may agree to the position that the ‘desperados’ were those who fanned the ember of violence and who would not hesitate to do anything, just to ensure that the party of those who wrestle power from their kinsman do not govern the State, at least for now.
Finally, as I have established earlier, the core PDP members must accept that they are known for anarchy, therefore, should be humble enough to learn from their progressives’ counterpart. They must allow civility, decorum and the spirit of nationhood to be evident in the manner of their governance. This is an assignment for the party and it will serve a good purpose if Nigerians keep watching how the trends unfold and be ready to take PDP up on the issue if voted back into power.
Where is Mr. Peter ‘’The Rock’’?
For reason(s) best known to him, he made the opposition politics as if it has never been practiced before in the country. His brand of opposition is: do and say whatever you like – regardless of whether it makes sense or not; verifiable or otherwise. He is a ruthless politician with excessive outburst; big mouth; known for grandstanding, very rude and unpolished, and full of mischiefs. He is as well a good attention seeker. Mr. Ayodele Fayose, the outgoing Governor of Ekiti is one politician, whose many of his type is not needed for the growth of a functional and purposeful democracy. His misgivings even to the disgust of his co-party members during the preparation for the 2015 general elections will ever remain in the memory. Fayose is very arrogant and reckless.
Governor Fayose, while the electioneering campaign for the recent Ekiti Governorship poll was in top gear, boasted and branded himself Peter the Rock, the one that can never be defeated by any man. But this ended up being an empty assertion. Effectively, what killed Fayose’s dreamt victory were his arrogance and over confidence. Fayose attempted a political fraud at the close of the campaign, when claimed he was manhandled by the police at a party rally, which was very clear that he was not in attendance. Some minutes after an encounter with his party men with the Policemen, Fayose, ridiculed himself when he came out with a broken hand tied with a broken neck, already supported by neck brace. That is Fayose for you. His mission for all of these was known, but unfortunately, did not materialize. Sadly, former Senator Ayo Arise declared after the poll that he and other PDP stalwarts aided Fayose’s election in 2014 and the same cabal worked against him four years after – just because of his pomposity. Curiously too, he lost in his Irepodun/Ifelodun Council area.
However, what is more amazing is that since the loss of his party and his rather shocking visit to the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Fayose has been talking less. The other day, I watched on the TV where his free eye glasses were being distributed without him in attendance. On a good day, The Rock would have featured proudly and used the occasion to score some political points. Fayose during the campaign overshadowed his Deputy and the PDP candidate, a complete gentleman whom I so much admire, Prof. Kolapo Olusola-Eleka. But Mr. Rock is not like this cultured and refined man, thus his party clearly lost the election and the defeat put him in the cooler. Indeed, victory is sweet and failure is an orphan. The lesson for all, in Fayose’s mannerism is that there is need for decorum in politics, whether one is on the ruling side or in opposition. More importantly is that, God is the only inviolable and any man who claims to be the same (especially with pretense) has gone to the extreme and such, will bear the consequences. Fayose is culpable here; so, he needs to repent for his undoing – playing God (if he wishes) and change his way!
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