By Kazeem Olalekan Israel (GANI)
The invasion of the National Assembly complex yesterday, August 7, by armed and masked operatives of the DSS is the height of the display of political lunacy. It is so unfortunate that some disgruntled, unscrupulous and anti-democratic elements hiding psychosis behind a political mask could go to the extent of invading the National Assembly complex with security operatives just to frustrate democratic ideals built on equality, justice, peace, cooperation, equal and full opportunities for education, full and useful employment, health and the creation of those circumstances in which man can have the chance to live by values that gives meaning to life. It cannot be gainsaid that all these can only be achieved when we have healthy and functioning democratic institutions with clear separation of power which unfortunately our dear country lacks.
We are in a country where periodic elections are mere rituals which sadly have become corrupted with the peoples’ power to freely and willingly choose their representatives hijacked by the political gladiators and moneybags. Our 19 years uninterrupted democratic experiment is inundated with defected and defecting rogues. It’s sardonic that our political landscape is impregnated with the semen of bad men after it was raped by peripatetic rogues and daylight robbers that have refused to respect the peoples’ right to dissent and also criminalise opposition while showing high level disregard for the institution of the judiciary.
The recent events in the political terrain of the country shows that the government of the day have no regard for the constitution which is the groundnum and that they would do all they could to silence opposition and ridicule the essence of our nascent democracy. The failure of the government of the day to come to the realisation of the fact that the essence of democratic government is to ensure that the powers of the state are kept in check so that personal liberty would not be infringed is driving us back to the gloomy days of the military rule. The scene that played out at the National Assembly complex where armed and masked security operatives blocked members and staffs of the National Assembly from gaining access to the complex is a crass disregard for democratic tenets and the Presidency cannot be totally exonerated.
I read with disbelief the press release of the Acting President condemning the invasion of the National Assembly while claiming ignorance of such illegal and undemocratic act of the security operatives. However, it must be noted that there have been cases of abuse of power by this government through the use of security operatives. In July 2016, the DSS operatives were reported to have rounded up principal officers of the Zamfara State House of Assembly and took them to Abuja where they were detained on the allegation that they were pressing impeachment charges against Governor Yari. In July 2016, the DSS arrested a journalist, Jones Abiri and kept him in detention without trial and it would interest you to know that Jones Abiri was kept in the detention of the DSS until public outcries forced them to arraigned him in a competent court of law after two years of unlawful detention. It would also interest you to know that in November 2017, officials of the DSS stopped the operatives of the EFCC from arresting a former DG of NIA, Ayo Oke and a former DSS boss, Ita Ekpeyong for interrogation over their involvement in matters relating to crime. It must also be noted that this same government is still keeping El-Zakzaky in detention without trial despite outcries and protests by well-meaning Nigerians calling on the Federal Government to either release him or charge him to a law court as it is already running to three years he has been kept in the detention of the DSS while Dasuki is also being kept in DSS detention for close to over two and a half years noe as against court rulings that he should be granted bail.
It would be disappointing for the Federal Government to claim naivety over these and many others which include the recent display of insanity in Benue State where the Police that should act impartiality in upholding the rule of law connived with 8 members of the State House of Assembly to lock down the State Assembly against 22 members that were alleged to be for the Governor of the State just to launch their impeachment plan against the Governor. Without mincing words and being carried away by the interesting distraction by the Acting President, the Presidency bears the responsibility for all the avoidable naked abuse of power including the invasion of the National Assembly complex yesterday. In the interest of our hard-earned nascent democracy, those in the corridors of power with some traits of democrats should call the Presidency to order to halt the dictatorial tendencies of these days in asserting the bedrock principles of equality before the law and separation of power enshrined in the rule of law. Rather than plunging the country deeper into an abyss of unnecessary crisis that is capable of disrupting democracy, the government of the day should as a matter of necessity in fulfilling her promise of fighting insecurity invest her energy in the fight against terrorism, militancy, uncontrolled bloodbath and other acts of crimimalities in making the country a safe abode for everyone.
Kazeem Olalekan Israel (GANI) is a 300Level Political Science Student of Obafemi Awolowo University.
He writes from Ile-Ife.