By Barrister Okoro Gabriel
The recent development at the both National Assembly and Ekiti House of Assembly, without mincing a word, is deplorable, barbaric and shameful. And it is for all men of good will and good conscience, irrespective of our political, religious and ethnic affiliations, to rise in unison against this dastardly act. We cannot afford to allow the lawlessness to fester.
To be sure, the men of Nigerian Police Force, acting under whatever instructions, laid a siege on the symbol of the nation’s democracy when it tried to prevent some certain members of the House of Representative, including the Speaker, RT. Honourable Waziri Tambuwal, from gaining access into the National Assembly’s complex. The result of this brigandage was that the barred members, against the public demand of their offices, scaled the gate in order to prevent what is now known as a failed attempt to impeach the Speaker, whose only “sin” is that he recently switched over to the All Progressive Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
What the hawks were unable to achieve at the House of Representatives they got on a platter of gold in Ekiti state in a very unprecedented manner. Against the constitutional provision of Section 92 (2) (c) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), seven out of twenty six-member House purportedly “impeached” its Speaker while over 300 police men reportedly provided security to the seven members as the sham procedure lasted. Expectedly, the state governor, Ayodele Peter Fayose, has already recognised the “new speaker”, while the 19 members have approached the court to challenge the illegality, even as human right activists and civil group organisation kick.
Clearly, the hawks are on the sprawl. They wanted to have the Ekiti absurdity renacted at the House of Representatives but for the internal vigilance of some of the lawmakers. It is pretty obvious that the new Inspector General, Suleiman Abba, is teaming up with some dark forces to subvert the country’s hard fought democracy. The police boss has become law unto himself usurping the legislative and judiciary powers. Abba now freely interprests the provisions of the laws to suit him and his paymasters. He is largely responsible for the doldrums currently playing out in the country. He has employed all manner of alabi to rationalise this shameful action. Abba has, like never in our history, brought the police to disrepute. And it will take the collective will of the people and the sincerity of our leaders to clean this Augean stable.
It is essential to state that while I do not hold any brief for the members of the National Assembly, I strong share the view of those who sanctioned their action on the ground that they merely acted spontanaeously and in the ineterest of our democracy. I clearly do not see anything wrong in the action of the Reps for scaling the gate to protect the integrity of the legislature and preventing the hawks from causing greater harms and injuries to our fragile democracy. No doubt, under a normal and an ideal circumstance, the actions of the members would be viewed as being inconsistence with the etiquette of their offices. But truth is; the intrigues that led to this unfortunate behaviour were themselves abnormal. It follows then that the only way to tackle it was to act in an equal measure, mutatis mutandis!
Make no mistake, this quagmire is 2015’s election inspired. The key actors in the ongoing melodrama all have their eyes on one political post or the other, and it really matters less for them how these ambitions are realised. To them, the end justifies the means. I’m not, however, unmindful of the fact that there are quite a handful of them who are pursuing their ambitions within the ambit of law and decency. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar stands tall in this regard. The Turaki of Adamawa, who plies his trade in the All Progressive Congress (APC), has been traversing the width and breadth of the country selling his programmes to Nigerians and party members. His political chessboard is his action plan and not bullying his political rivals. This is the way to go.
In the final analysis, therefore, Nigerians of all creeds must unite against these political buccaneers who are hell bent at subverting our core values. The 2015 election is a threshold for us as a people. There is, therefore, the need for us to exercise our franchise wisely and beneficially too. The present crop of leadership (with the exception of few) has failed us beyond description, and it is for us to determine whether to retain them come 2015. Like they say, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. It follows that we must watch against these wolves in sheep skins. In addition, political gladiators and agents of the government must learn how to employ the instrumentality of law in ventilating their angers rather resort to self-help.
Gabriel Okoro is a lawyer based in Ebonyi State. He tweets via @okoro212