TUESDAY Column by VICTORIA NGOZI IKEANO
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In my last piece I postulated that President Muhammadu Buhari is grappling with so much challenges on multiple fronts that he apparently does not have time to relax and engage in banters with officials, aides and other prominent Nigerians at close of work notwithstanding the saying that cautions that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Now a founding and prominent APC chieftain has disclosed that it was most probably the enormity of the problems that Mr. President saw upon scrutinizing what was handed over to him on assumption of office that sent him to hospital where he spent some three months, far away from his beloved citizens. Remember that the president himself had said that he met an empty treasury and that he felt like running away when the reality of what he met on ground dawned on him.
Among the new type of problems that Mr. President is contending or coming to terms with is a National Assembly that is bent on showing off its authority and exerting its independence in a combative way which was not obviously the case in the Jonathan and Obasanjo eras. And so it happened that a little drama bordering on some comedy of sorts played out recently. Mr. President invited executive members of the National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) for dinner at the Villa, apparently to talk over some matters in a jovial atmosphere and smoothen their relationship somehow, particularly with respect to the 2018 Budget due to be presented to a joint session of the National Assembly today (Tuesday) by President Buhari. But on getting to Aso Rock the Mai guards there insisted that while the senate present and Speaker House of Representatives could drive in, the other executive members have to come down for security check to walk in. The senate president resisted it and the mai guards apparently stood their ground; whereupon Bukola Saraki directed that they should all forget the dinner and go back home. To cut the story short, the dinner had to be rescheduled and Mr. President had to apologise to Saraki and his colleagues. I can imagine the conversation between both parties at the powerful Aso Rock gate.
Mai Guards (Security men): Oga Saraki, Oga Dogara you can go in. Others please come down for security check
Senate President: What! These are distinguished senators and honourable members of the federal republic of Nigeria.
Mai-guards: Oga that is the order we were given. We are security men and we obey the last order.
Senate President: Mr. President himself invited us specially, we did not invite ourselves The presidency is an arm of government and we are also an arm of government. They are the Executive and we are the Legislature; we stand shoulder to shoulder with the executive, so give us our due respect as demanded in the constitution.
Mai Guards: Oga, order is order; we are not ordinary mai guards or security men oo. We are executive mai guards, security men to the office and house of the president of the federal republic of Nigeria. We are also part of the presidency you know.
Senate President: Enough is enough. Distinguished senators, honourable members, alez alez. Back to our homes. They can chop their dinner. We are no longer interested, until they fully respect us.
And the National Assembly has been involved in a drama of their own involving one of them, Senator Isah Misau whom the police identify by another name. You may remember that the ‘distinguished’ senator has continuously been making some damaging allegations against Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris and recanting somehow. First he said that the IGP was receiving billions of naira from security services being provided to corporate organizations and wealthy individuals. Confronted on national television Misau said that he did not mean that Idris himself personally receives those billions of naira.
Next, on the floor of the green chamber, the senator alleged that the IGP impregnated two female police officers and surreptitiously married one of them. “Under police act and regulation, you cannot marry a serving woman police unless that woman retires. He quickly did a secret wedding in Kaduna because the lady is four months pregnant”, maintained Maina. But is the ‘distinguished’ senator the lady’s personal gynecologist to be able to know that the police woman is exactly four months pregnant? Misau is a former police officer so maybe he now has a private spy police. Anyway the lady’s family has debunked Maina’s claims. They said that her wedding was a public affair in the Emir’s palace.
Again recently, Misau alleged that Idris the IGP gave two jeeps to wife of the president, Aisha Muhammadu. And one’s first thought was, ‘what in this era of anti-corruption?’ Pronto, the first lady denied any such gift, saying she still uses her private vehicle. The Police hierarchy denied it too explaining that the vehicles were given to the first lady’s security personnel for their official duties. Days later ‘distinguished senator Misau recanted saying he was only quoting from documents filed in court by IGP Idris in a suit the police chief filed against him. What a comedy error!