Tambuwal, Amaechi And The Story Of A Desperate President By Ahmed Kaita

By Ahmed Kaita

The recent “the man at the top” incident involving the grounding of the jet carrying Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi and the Speaker, House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal left no one in doubt as to the trajectory of politics and politicking in Nigeria; particularly in preparation to the next round of elections.

It is saddening that despite numerous attempts, Nigeria is yet to achieve minimum level of global standard of democracy. While many countries in Africa that hitherto looked up to Nigeria as guide have since developed democratic skills and tolerance, Nigeria is left wobbling dangerously close to a crevice that leads to nowhere but political doom. Perhaps, this may explain the trashing of the President of the “giant” Nigeria by a lesser known President Boni Yayi of a less visible Benin Republic in the last round of elections to elect leaders for the African Union (AU).

It is obvious the presidency is jittery about the bandied idea of Governor Amaechi supporting any of the Northern contenders to the office of the president come 2015. While it was an irritating nightmare for President Jonathan to have a governor from his South-South region threatening to confuse and upset the most important agenda in the mind of President Jonathan; that of candidature come 2015, it is real horror to the presidency to have a hint of a combined threat from Governor Amaechi, known for his political acumen and dexterity and an equally suave and articulate Speaker of the House of Representatives; arguably the most promising politician among the new generation with the clout to cause an upset to current permutation oozing out of the villa hence, the desperation to harass, embarrass or even intimidate the duo. It does not matter to the presidency if by doing so one have to desecrate the offices of a Governor and the Speaker, House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that symbolises democratic freedom and as well abuse policies and basic constitutional provisions that enhance smooth democratic culture.

It is apparent, the President or his handlers are living in self-denial. Of course they should know, if tricks and procedural abuse can achieve results Amaechi and Tambuwal would not be governor and Speaker respectively. Both might have been lost in some obscure offices being punished for exhibiting signs of democratic independence. The whole Nigeria stood watching, live on TV the unfolding drama of an intense tug of war between the mighty presidency on the one hand and the “bowler hat” wearing, suave and confident Tambuwal; both scheming to outdo one another trying to install Speaker for the House of Representatives.

In the end, the overwhelming acceptance of Tambuwal that cut across party and ethno-religious sentimentality carried the day. The House, in an unprecedented move elected Tambuwal the Speaker. It was clear, the House intended to have a well equipped leader with a mind of his own that can give the House the required confidence to deal with an executive arm loaded with excessive tendencies to abuse procedure and short circuit the system — one of which was the intense desire to deny the House the right of choice to its leadership as enshrined in the Constitution.

It is, therefore not entirely out of character if the government is not weaned from its dictatorial tendencies. Matter of fact, Nigerians should be ready to face more of these excesses from this government, particularly now that nobody is in doubt about its inability to deliver a fraction of the expectations of the public as well as its fixation to a 2nd term (or is it 3rd term?) The reality of this could be perceived from the recent arrest and detention of two reporters from the LEADERSHIP Newspaper stable for reporting a clandestine attempt to subdue some leading members of the political opposition merger effort by attacking their business interests. This was meant to conquer the “merger fear” that is giving the presidency sleepless nights.

Further confirmation to the willingness of the regime to abuse and subdue the public could be seen from the recent $40million internet surveillance contract alleged to have been awarded to an Israeli company to spy on the internet communications of citizens as well as to intercept and read private e-mails. The Nazi government of Adolph Hitler was not careless to go this far.

Against all decorum, the presidency acted against its fake claim to democracy and its tenets. This becomes apparent when one considers the intense campaign to smear General Muhammadu Buhari as undemocratic through the usual pretence of judging a military regime with a democratic scale. Perhaps, General Buhari may now have a breathing space with President Jonathan doing worse acrobatics with a Constitution than what he (Buhari) supposedly did with military decrees. May be Doyin Okupe, Reuben Abati and Labaran Maku should start explaining the difference between the travails of Guardian’s Tunde Thompson and Nduka Iraboh of the “decree 4” fame on one hand, and the LEADERSHIP crew being harassed for the expose explained above.

Of course, Tambuwal and Amaechi may be conveniently grounded (though not stranded) in Akure for spurious and childish reasons by the all powerful Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), but certainly it cannot ground the aspirations of the Nigerian public to support anybody with the potential to kick this confused and rudderless regime out of power.

Ahmed Kaita is a CPC member of the Federal House of Representatives of Nigeria.

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