General Sanni Abacha would go down in history as the most dreaded head of state Nigeria has ever had. Abacha, being a top military officer appreciated the potency of power. And he made the best use of it to silence perceived enemies. The late Nigerian maximum ruler’s desperation to transmute to a civilian president exacerbated his meanness as democracy advocates and civil rights activists were either clamped into jail or assassinated.
Many Nigerians, particularly members of the National Democratic Coalition NADECO, for fear of dear lives ran out of the country to fight the government that was already isolated around the globe due to its unconventional mannerism in power. Sycophants at the corridor of power, some of whom are still in government till today, took advantage of the unlettered ruler to instigate actions that would only have short-term benefits to themselves and their cronies at the expense of the general good of the citizenry.
Those five fingers of a leprous hand withered through a divine intervention and those who were singing hosanna then suddenly made a 360 degree turn at the onset of the present democratic experience to embrace democracy and spit on Abaca’s grave. Abacha broke many records as head of state. He stole more than any other leader dead or alive at the time of his death. He stole with impunity. He turned the Central Bank of Nigeria to his personal ATM machine. He killed with impunity and he died in ignominy.
I don’t want to believe that Abacha never recorded any success throughout his five years or so in office. But his draconian style of leadership obliterated whatever positive mark he made on the surface of the earth while he sojourned in this part of the globe. Who says he might not have lived till today if he had not played into the hands of destructive sycophants he surrounded himself with while in power? Those who would never see anything wrong in whatever he did; or anything good in whatever constructive criticism against his government
His life was cut short at the time he was supposed to be enjoying the fruits of his labour. All he worked for legitimately and/or illegally all his life were abandoned abruptly for someone else to enjoy.
Interestingly, impunity during Abacha’s days appears to be a child’s play today under a democratic administration. Political leaders under the watch of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan have become gods who have the power to determine the quantum of oxygen others outside government deserve for survival.
Political analysts say the madness in Ekiti State where the entire judiciary was shut for days to disrupt the legal process in cases involving the then governor-elect, Ayodele Fayose was the height of absurdity ever witnessed in the history of Nigeria. It is argued that If the presidency was determined to have a fit and proper person as governor of Ekiti State, it ought to have allowed Fayose to be cleansed of all legal garbage tied around his waist as governor-elect. But the desperation to snatch some states in the South west from APC at all cost had obviated the presidency from doing the needfully lawful.
Analysts are of the opinion that events that led to the election in Ekiti where some key members of the opposition were denied entry into the state coupled with the killing of a young man by the Police led by the Balyesa State born Mopol Commander during a nonviolent APC rally on the eve of the election was an eye-sore. While governor of Edo, Adams Oshiomhole, Okorochas of Imo, Fashola of Lagos and others were harassed and turned back at the Akure airport by stern-looking Nigerian troops, red carpets were laid for Musiliu Obanikoro and other top presidency officials at the same airport in full glare of the deprived APC leaders. It makes a mockery of democracy.
It was under the watch of the present presidency that 13 was greater than 19, a development that has decimated the Governors’ Forum till today leading to the Amaechi and Jang factions. Now it’s the turn of Ekiti where 7 is greater than 19 and Omirin the Speaker of Ekiti House of Assembly could be purportedly impeached by seven PDP members of the 26 member- house with the connivance of the men and officers of the Nigeria Police. Sequel to developments that led to his assumption of office, Fayose is more than ever emboldened to rule with impunity and molest members of the opposition in a state reputed for highest level of literacy in the country.
Even the new Inspector General of Police Suleiman Abba is worse culprit in the macabre dance that is going on at the corridor of power today. It redefines democracy when an IG of Police becomes so partisan to the extent that he says he does not recognize the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal because he defected to APC from the ruling party, PDP. The invasion of the National Assembly complex by Abba’s boys was a new twist to the impunity that has become the signpost of the present administration.
Abba invariably has joined his employers in the game of lies telling. How would the IG tell the whole world that he knew nothing about the mission of the police officers that tear-gassed David Mark, Senate President and the lawmakers during the invasion of the complex? Unlike his handsome and refined predecessor, Abba looks crude and mean. One wonders why he’s not eager to lead his men to provide security cover for the hapless Nigerians in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno with the kind of energy he had dissipated on elected Nigerians who are on their lawful duty.
It sounds hilarious when you hear some legal practitioners condemn the action of some members of the House of Representatives that defied police tear-gas to scale the gate of the complex to ensure they puncture the clandestine and desperate move by the presidency to remove the Speaker. Rather than castigate the police for its condemnable action in the 21st century, some people could go to the extreme of asking the lawmakers to go to Sambisa forest instead of scaling the gate of the NASS to do their lawful duty as lawmakers elected by the people of Nigeria.
One cannot but ask; who should go to the Boko Haram infested Sambisa forest to rescue our Chibok girls who have been in captive for over six months- Police or the lawmakers?
When Governor Orji of Abia State and Mimiko of Ondo defected to PDP from their former parties, why didn’t Jonathan authorize withdrawal of their security details? Many Senators, House of Reps members and house of assembly members in the various states had defected from one party to another. And heavens did not fall! What makes Tambuwal’s case different?
Whoever advised the presidency to authorize the men of Department of State Security service to invade the APC office in Lagos must be an anti-democracy agent. The government should have done better even if incriminating items were detected to be haboured in the opposition party’s stronghold.
The action smacks of a sinking leader holding onto any shrub in sight for salvation. But Jonathan cannot be said to be sinking. But his lieutenants appear to be creating that impression for him to be ruthless with perceived enemies. Rather than get busy showcasing the achievements of the president to potential voters, it’s unfortunate that his strategists are busy looking for ways to bring down or weaken the opposition psychologically….with impunity.
Governors Almakura of Nassarawa State, Adams Oshiomhole of Edo and Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State have their stars to thank for escaping the impeachment attempts on them by a group of Nigeria Police-backed minority members of their respective Houses of Assembly.The presidency cannot be entirely exonerated in any of the cases. Strangely, Speaker of the Nassarawa State House of Assembly and other PDP members of the house reportedly held nocturnal meetings in Aso Rock and in Muazu’s house in Bauchi preparatory to the botched impeachment of Almakura.
The impunity that has become the hallmark of the administration is adversely affecting the fortunes of the PDP in virtually all its state chapters where unpopular cronies of the governors are being imposed on the people against the popular will of the generality of the members. Except the party depends on some other unconventional means of winning at the 2015 polls, it is inexplicable when key members of the party are being sacrificed for the anointed cronies of governors in the states. The problem of lack of internal democracy cuts across the major parties in the country. The problem seems to be playing out louder in PDP- controlled states at present than in any other party.
Any Speaker of the House of Assembly that fails to cooperate with the over-bearing governor risks losing his position to anyone that is ready to do his bidding. The Speaker of Kebbi State House of Assembly was impeached around 10.25pm last night by his colleagues in the house. Findings indicate that he had gone out of favour with his governor as no impeachable offence could be established against him other than….that he’s incompetent….at the twilight of his tenure in office.
The irony of it is that the worse-hit states are the stronghold of PDP in the South south region of the country, a development that might be inimical to the re-election ambition of President Jonathan.
How best each party is able to manage the problem will definitely go a long way in deciding who wins next year general election. Unbridled impunity only helps whip up sentiments in favour of the vulnerable. The implication of this is that there are some undecided voters whose pattern of voting is largely influenced by such sentiments. Such class of people constitutes prospective voters who are neither impressed by the acts of ‘gangstersim’ by the PDP-led presidency nor the holier than thou attitude of the APC leaders.