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Re: The Offa Bank Armed Robbery & The Not So Veiled Harassment of Nigeria’s Senate President

Francis Amadiegwu

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – I find it perplexing that the IG of Police would recklessly publicize that the Police had invited the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki for questioning. Senator Saraki, as the second-in-line to the nation’s presidency, deserves some courtesy, by virtue of the office he occupies. This audacious tantrum by the allegedly literacy-challenged Police Chief is akin to “my Mercedes is bigger than yours” response to the legislature’s attempt at oversight.

Abuse of the nation’s top legislature has metastasized to the State Assemblies where the governors relegate generally them to impotence.

This ugly debasement of the nation’s top legislature manifests in many ways. It started with the trial of the senate president before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, an agency headed by an indicted, compromised fellow, where prosecution hasn’t been sustained, or outright declined against many others in similar situations. I won’t cite any examples but if you mention the great Jagaban of Lagos, na you sabi.

Many high ranking officials of the current administration have been implicated in or at least accused of various acts of kleptocracy without the government raising a finger.

When and how did it determine that it was necessary to take such momentous stand? Have the police done substantial corroboration of the alleged thieves’ testimonies by other less unimpeachable or even less impeachable evidence? Did it take cognizance of the possible unintended consequences of intrusive or defamatory? What probable cause standard did it use? Well, as a non-lawyer, I leave these questions for the legal professionals to ponder.

However, the obviousness of the highlighted possible bad consequences demands that intentionality must be assumed.

As a 36-year student of comparative politics, Nigeria is one of the most egregious offenders in the bad habit of disrespecting the legislature in a democracy, even a counterfeit version such as ours.

Recall that federal government agencies routinely flout the legislatures, especially, the senate’s summonses to appear. Controller General of Customs, who in his barbaric insistence on wearing native clothing in a uniformed service, refused to appear in Customs uniform. When the senate insisted, he ignored their invitation altogether.

Ministers routinely treat with contempt, our revered bicameral legislature’s invitations. All these play out in the public arena. As subordinate agents of government, and purportedly servants of the public, the presidency hasn’t deemed it necessary to call these errant senior public wards to order. For these flagrant misdemeanors to persist with impunity, and so publicly, the only logical inference is that the federal government at best, condones and tolerates it, and at worst, actively promotes it.

Assault on any of the arms of our government, desecrates the entire government while distorting our democracy. Pretending otherwise doesn’t change the fact.

We should all rise and speak up against the gradual but persistent destruction of the legislature, the only arm that’s the least common denominator of a democracy. Dictatorships don’t have it. They make do with the Executive and a pretended judiciary.

We oughtn’t fight for and defend our parties while attacking opposing ones on this melting point of a forum; the parties themselves are doing it effectively, as they are chartered to so do. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be patriotic but “partyotic,” excuse my coinage.

If your Party is wrong, you must vote against that wrong. If two or more parties are mistaken, you must vote against the most mistaken.

According to Ruther B. Hayes, the 19th President of the US, “He serves his party best who serves the country best.”

Therefore, my brethren from the legislature, let’s not settle for less than we deserve, lest we get even less than you settled for.

 

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