Editors’ note: The writer, Buchi Obichie, laments over the recent siege of the National Assembly by operatives of the DSS. She worries that as the 2019 elections approach, crazier stunt would be pulled by 'powerful forces' determined to have their way!
“Buchi, this country is just a pot of beans!” That’s one of my younger brother’s favorite phrases, which he uses whenever he is agitated about a national issue – whether economic, social or political…usually political.
I always burst out laughing whenever he utters those words. I mean, how can a country be likened to a pot of beans? Is Nigeria really such a hot mess?
Anyway, as the siege unfolded at the National Assembly on Tuesday, August 7, I couldn’t help but see the wisdom in my brother’s words; and I shook my head and muttered under my breath, “This country is really a pot of beans!”
Till now, I still cannot find adequate words to describe the incident.
I vividly remember the astonishment in the office as the news began filtering in. Operatives of the DSS had blocked the entrance to the legislative complex, denying access to lawmakers, staff, journalists and all others. According to various reports, an ‘order had come from above’, for the operatives to carry out the (illegal) action.
As expected, it turned into an episode for propaganda, as PDP senators alleged that it was a ploy by the APC to impeach Senate President Bukola Saraki. Then they further alleged that the ruling party planned to install the soon-to-defect Godswill Akpabio in his place!
The senators eventually gained access into the complex where they proceeded to sing 'aluta songs' and send strongly-worded messages to the Presidency and the APC; led in chorus by the ever colorful Dino Melaye and the never-short-of-common-sense Ben Bruce.
Before the day was over, a female lawmaker, Boma Goodhead would emerge as a poster child for courage and bravery, as images of the fiery lawmaker challenging DSS operatives emerged.
As the whole brouhaha unfolded however, I just kept thinking, this is nothing short of a disgrace…an epic disgrace, a stain on the fabric of the nation, a rape of democracy, an affront on the rule of law, an attack on the people, a sad day for the country.
And I kept wondering: Who in the world was stupid enough to order such a siege? What were they thinking? What did they hope to achieve by such action? What were they trying to prove?
How do you lay siege on the lawmaking arm of government? How do you prevent elected officials from sitting on issues of national importance just because you have a nefarious plan to carry out? In the year 2018? After we have gone through military rule?
Now, this has happened at the state level on various occasions; but we did not really expect to see a similar occurrence unfold at the federal Assembly. Somehow, we hoped that despite the deep animosity between the two major parties and the legislature and Presidency, diplomacy and common sense would help to prevent such ‘Kangaroo actions’.
We were wrong!
Apparently, the ‘cabal in the shadows’ had a different plan…one they had decided would go into effect by any means possible…even illegitimately.
I don’t know what the plan was - whether to really impeach Saraki and install Akpabio as Senate president. All I know is that Nigeria is teetering on a very dangerous plane. We are dangling from a breaking branch of normalcy, and are inching close to an era of impunity on a scale not really seen before…at least, not in this democratic dispensation. And it is a shame that such colossal absurdities are playing out in ‘an era of change’!
However, I would not be so naïve as to ask how we got here. I mean, recent events gave an inclination that we were approaching a very dangerous slope; but yet, we proceeded. Or rather, they proceeded. They – the enemies of democracy, the powerful cabal, they who ask with all confidence, ‘who is the presidency?’, they who have no respect for due process and the rule of law because they believe they are above the law!
Now, while I have no particular sympathy for any particular politician, I am totally concerned about my country. And I dare to say that if sensibility is not injected into the political space, fast, 2019 would be ugly!
We hope it does not get to that point!
And that is why I was glad when Acting President Yemi Osinbajo stepped in quickly and ordered Lawal Daura to step down from his position as DG of the DSS. It showed that he was just as disconcerted by the siege as the rest of us.
However, did Daura really act alone, or were they others who behind him? I think there were. And my fear and worry is that they are not done…not yet. They are still lurking in the shadows, waiting for another moment to strike!
We are in for some really interesting times ahead…this country is really a pot of beans!
This opinion piece was written by Buchi Obichie.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of NAIJ.com.
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