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Published On: Sun, Nov 23rd, 2014

Riding the tiger by the tail

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By Babayola M. Toungo

The macho in our security men only come to the fore when they are confronting ‘bloody civilians’ and only when they are on an errand for Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP.  Those who are unfortunate to pass through the various checkpoints and roadblocks that are ubiquitous in the north can attest to the humiliation and harassment they go through in the course of undertaking their daily chores.  While terrorists are running amok in the northeast killing and maiming without let or hindrance, our security men are content in molesting law abiding simple folks instead of confronting the killers marauding the northeast.  They are more noted for running away when faced by the terrorists than for their display of gallantry.  A government that many believed are complicit in the mayhem tearing apart the country inch by bloody inch condones the behaviour of the security men.  Our military men appear to be untouchable when “dealing” with us civilians – they behave as if they are not governed by any code of conduct or any rule of engagement.

This display of impunity has now being taken to the hallowed precinct of the National Assembly, the citadel of democracy, where the government deployed massive force in order to deny the Speaker of the House of Representatives entering his office and reconvening the House to debate the president’s request for an unending state of emergency imposed on three states of the northeast for the past eighteen months.  In an effort to stop an unyielding Speaker and his supporters (those who stood for democracy) from entering the National Assembly, the security operatives tear gassed the members of the House.  These are the representatives of the people, for God’s sake!  And this is supposed to be a democracy with all the so-called doctrine of separation of powers – where the National Assembly is not supposed to be an appendage of the executive arm of government.

With such behaviour, Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP are pushing Nigeria on to the path of anarchy just to make sure that good governance does not derail their inordinate ambition.  Or may be they are rushing to see who will fulfil the prediction by the Americans that the country will breakup into pieces by the 2015.  If that is not the case, how do you explain the continuous loss of Nigerian territory to terrorists while our security men watch from a safe distance?  The same security operatives who lack the liver to confront Boko Haram killers are the ones tear-gassing hapless legislators.  Is Goodluck Jonathan becoming so desperate that he is ready to plunge the country into chaos if he is denied the chance to continue as the president of Nigeria?  Is he ready to be the last president of Nigeria, as we know it today?  Are the advocates of a “Greater South” getting the upper hand over moderates?  And what are other Nigerians, particularly those from “Shariyaland” doing about it?  Are they going to fold their arms and wait for Armageddon to reach their doorsteps before they recognise it?

Most people, the legislators at the receiving end of the government’s high-handedness inclusive, stood aloof while these same security men were tormenting Nigerians.  Now that the imperiousness of the government has reached their doorsteps, will they act or remain indifferent like goats waiting to be slaughtered?  This time it is just bullets, we pray there won’t be ‘accidental discharge’ later.

The members of the national assembly have been cuddling Jonathan for long to the detriment of the nation and its citizens.  They weren’t overly concerned when insurgents overran their constituencies and killed, maimed and sent away others into lives of uncertainty; they were willing to accede to all of his demands as long as they are not personally affected; they were willing to forgo the safety and peace of those they claim to represent as long as that makes Jonathan happy; they were always eager to overlook all the impeachable offences committed by Jonathan as long as he keeps greasing their slimy hands; they are agreeable to play ostrich to all the misdemeanours and constitutional breaches done by the president as long as they are assured of an “automatic” ticket by the PDP.  Today, the tiger has bared its fangs on them.

Though one may find it difficult to sympathise with the members of the House of Representatives for what happened to them today, one might not be seen to be condoning brigandage and unconstitutionality.  Much as the members might have gotten their just desserts, we are aghast at how our country is being pushed over a cliff by a clique that has no interest of the country at heart.  Nigerians have to wake up to the reality that a group of militants are at the helm of our affairs – a group that has a horizon limited by their provinciality.

Our security agencies lack the manpower and equipment to confront terrorists wrecking havoc on our brethren in the northeast, but have the manpower and bravery to tackle lawmakers in Abuja.  They also have enough manpower and firepower to spare 200 soldiers, led by a full Colonel, to provide security cover to Ali Madu Sherriff, an alleged Boko Haram Sponsor.  While all these imperiousness is going on, our lawmakers, who have been saddled with the responsibility of checking the excesses of the executive and a president that has gone out of control, were rushing to be identified with him.

The people of Nigeria are fed up with the divisive tactics of Jonathan and his group of provincial politicians whose only objective is to lord it over others while claiming to be the victims.  While majority of Nigerians are bidding their time for February 2015, our lawmakers are struggling to get in bed with our tormentor-in-chief.  It is a good sign to us that the two are now quarrelling in the open.  It may be a sign of good things to come.  Next may be the governors.

Tambuwal and all those opposed t0o Jonathan’s style of government may be well advised to seek out our local hunters for their personal safety and security.

Babayola M. Toungo via babayolatoungo@gmail.com

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