20 April 2018

Nigeria: Omo-Agege's Aborted Coup and Shame of a Nation

Photo: The Guardian
National assembly.

My prophesy of 2nd March, 2018 on this column, is obviously coming to pass. If I knew that the vision was this close, I would have approached the 'political bishops', who visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa a fortnight ago, and sought for ordination as a 'political prophet'.

But I may not qualify for ordination, because I foresaw a drama not madness as displayed at the National Assembly by the suspended Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.

I shall, at all times, reject and possibly resist an attempt to infuse the idea that thuggery is part of politics, rather, I would admit that thugs often find their ways to political offices because many responsible Nigerians are docile.

It is mind boggling that while Omo-Agege and his co-travellers plotted to launch an attack on the National Assembly, none of them thought about the general implication of the proposed action on the country. Whatever would become of Nigeria's image before the international community, as well as its psychological implications on Nigerians, was outrightly not of concern to them.

Morality is indeed missing in our polity. Common criminals are in power, while upright Nigerians bear the pain. It is beyond imagination that an individual will decide to embarrass the entire country just because of his political survival. Indeed, there is a huge difference between a politician and a statesman.

As bitter as I was about the level of madness displayed by the Senator, I felt a sigh of relief, when the Nigerian Police Force, in a statement, confirmed that the mace is in the custody of FCT police command.

My mind had wondered around what could happen between Wednesday morning, when the mace was forcefully taken away from the National Assembly and Thursday morning. Would Nigerians wake-up to a news that the country has two senate presidents? Of course, it was not impossible.

Sometime in 2013, five members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, with the supervision of heavily armed security men, claimed to have impeached the Speaker, Hon Otelema Amachree. The lawmakers also purportedly suspended 16 of the Assembly members believed to be loyal to the then governor, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State.

In another sad development, the Nigeria Police Force, in 2014, withdrew security details attached to the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Tambuwal, who is now the Sokoto State governor.

Unlike the situation in Rivers State, the Nigerian Police justified withdrawal of Tambuwal's security detail. The then Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Emmanuel Ojukwu, said Speaker Tambuwal was stripped of state protection because he decamped from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP).

"In view of the recent defection by the Right Honourable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, CFR, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), and having regard to the clear provision of section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has redeployed its personnel attached to his office."

Kindly note that in the statement, Tambuwal was referred to as Speaker, and the Force PRO did not identify another individual as the Speaker. Tambuwal was not impeached neither did he resign his position, yet the police authority wrongly stripped the number four citizen off his security detail.

Considering the above examples, it will be mundane to believe that what transpired in the National Assembly yesterday could not have degenerated to a more serious crisis.

Just imagine a situation whereby Omo-Agege and other Pro-Buhari lawmakers gather in a hotel with the mace, and pronounce the Bukola Saraki-led leadership of the Senate impeached and suspended from the senate.

Should the current administration decide to play the same dirty politics witnessed during the Goodluck Jonathan administration? The police can supervise the action and of course withdraw security details attached to Saraki and others.

What if there was no spare mace ready, or the deputy senate president was not experienced enough to proceed with the plenary?

Omo-Agege's stunt was politics taken too far, politicians should, at least, understand that democracy isn't meant for them, it is meant for Nigerians and as such, the general interest of the citizenry should be considered in their acts.

Irrespective of my ill knowledge of security apparatus, I can clearly spot the difference between security breach and security compromise. However, I will not bother to analyse the security architecture of the National Assembly and how the Omo-Agege boys successfully made away with the mace, security experts will take charge of that.

Rather, I will emphasise that our government should not aid, abet or condone criminality under any guise. Should the five men, who perpetrated the act not be fished out and dealt with in accordance with relevant laws, I am afraid that a very bad precedence will be recorded, of which its consequence will be grave.

Already, many Nigerians are baffled and rattled that the almighty National Assembly was overrun by a few thugs and a significant item carted away.

While the Senate rules can determine what measures of punishment should be meted on the Senator, it will amount to a betrayal of national confidence, if his boys are not arrested and prosecuted.

A criminal is a criminal, irrespective of the politics behind it!

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