By deploying hundreds of police officers to prevent the Speaker of the House of Representatives from entering the National Assembly Complex, the President has revealed his hand to be a devious one. Having asked the Speaker to convene the House to consider extending the state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, the Jonathan government then deployed the nation’s police to stop the fourth ranking citizen of the nation from entering his place of work.
Speaker Tambuwal was going to the House as a result of the letter from the Presidency on a matter of urgent national importance. Tambuwal did not have to accede to the presidential request to reconvene the House; but because he is a statesman and not a political hack, he assented so his chamber might consider this a matter of vital national importance. Despite the removal of the police officers and security team around him, he still proceeded – at great personal risk – to answer the call of duty. He took the risk, believing his personal situation was a secondary thing when the fate of the nation comes into question.
The President and his men have their handwriting all over the invasion of the National Assembly. No Commissioner of Police will ever embark on such an action without the clearance of the Inspector General of Police and no IGP will order his men out here without approval by the Presidency. Nigerians know where the buck stops. The Jonathan Presidency must take full responsibility for the attack on the leadership of the National Assembly.
This government cannot claim to be unaware of what the Police would do. This gangster’s antic occurred almost at their doorstep. The Jonathan presidency can no longer play ignorant regarding the noxious things done for partisan ends.
Instead of seriously treating Boko Haram’s incursion against our internal security, the President’s men decided to turn the event into a partisan and embarrassing circus. Perhaps they saw this as a birthday present to Mr. President. But it is nothing but brigandage masquerading as governance. What this Presidency does not realize is how terribly it has exposed its pettiness and dictatorial penchant for elevating narrow political interests above the fate of the nation.
There is little wonder the nation is losing ground to Boko Haram. This government has allowed, and even welcomed, the downward slide. If seriously committed to breaking the spine of this insurgency, the Jonathan government would have ensured that the House met without disturbance or partisan rancor. Instead, Jonathan and his men used the gravest armed threat the nation has suffered in forty years to lay a partisan political trap for one single man, instead allowing the House to deliberate for the good of 170 million people hoping for a way out of the growing carnage. The conduct of the Presidency shows that whenever dire national interests conflict with that of individual ambitions, the former will be rejected to violently promote the latter. The priorities of the Jonathan Presidency are as wrong as wrong can get. Their actions are devoid of national purpose. They reek of pungent ambition. A weakness of character now permeates national leadership.
This Presidency leaves the nation’s grave problems unattended yet have the rashness to create new ones by trashing the nation’s democratic institutions and mocking constitutional checks and balances. The most notable achievement of the Jonathan government has been to bring democracy to its knees. This is not the hallmark of a President but the work of a potentate.
While enjoying the taste of this cheap tactical victory, it is hoped Nigerians and the international community are sampling the bigger picture. In trying to quash the opposition by all means necessary, this government unleash forces they do not even recognize let alone control.
Thus, Nigerians are in a precarious situation. In the face of the menace of Boko Haram’s terror and rampage, members of the loyal opposition have extended the hand of cooperation to this government often and without condition. We have provided suggestions on fighting the group and winning the hearts and minds of the people. Had the Jonathan government taken these suggestions, things would not be as they are today. This government scoffed at our help. Even when the Speaker answered the call of duty, as a patriot should, Jonathan and his men were more concerned with setting an ambush for him than in resolving the serious matter at hand. For them, the only serious matter, was their political standing.
While the opposition has been loyal to the nation, Jonathan and the PDP led government have not. This is the point of our greatest departure from the course.
The Jonathan Presidency is a government that has lost its head. This government has run amok and has jettisoned all sense of proportion. The nation now faces two threats. One is Boko Haram’s attack on the people. The other is the Presidency’s attack on the people’s democracy. As such, a state of emergency now exists in Abuja, in Aso Villa itself, because of this breakdown of democratic governance. Jonathan and his men are the reason for the state of emergency. It seems that the only way this emergency shall be lifted is for this government to perpetuate itself in office. The removal of this government from office shall not be done with military power, armed might or police brutality. Their ouster will come from a nobler source; the power of the people and their want for democratic good governance.
Senator Bola Tinubu is the former Lagos State Governor and Chieftain of Nigeria’s All Progressives Congress, APC
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