By Sunday Oyinloye
“Those who invaded the National Assembly complex and stole the mace actually attempted to cow the legislators into abandoning the chambers so that they can take over. It was an attempted coup”. Those were the words of Hon. Aliyu Bahago Ahman-Pategi, a high ranking member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives on the invasion of the National Assembly by some yet to be identified persons who forcefully disrupted the plenary session of the Senate and made away with the mace which is the symbol of authority.
Ahman-Pategi is not the only one who believes that the perpetrators were not mere thugs, many Nigerians are also convinced that it was a well-coordinated assault.
What is even more irritating was the way those who wrecked the havoc on my beloved country escaped. They were alleged to have escaped through the usually fortified back gate of the National Assembly. For those who know the geography of the National Assembly, it remains a mystery how the intruders could escape without being caught. It does not need much calculations to know that those who carried out the act have the backing of some powerful Nigerians.
If the mace were to be cash, one would have argued that probably the intruders took the risk as robbers to see if they would succeed and if it were to be just one intruder, one could also assume that he has some mental challenges, but for as many as five or more (As reported in the dailies) people to have carried out the shameful act without considering the consequences of their action makes it very clear to even a primary school pupil that it must have been sponsored by some powerful individuals. Not even the man at the center of the controversy, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege could have planned such assault on democracy alone without the backing of some people.
Coincidentally , the invasion came on the day I released my article captioned “Before Nigerians hang their Lawmakers”, very unusual of me, it took more than a month to complete the short article. In that article, I called for caution and stated clearly that there was a campaign of hatred against the National Assembly and warned the Executive arm of government and Nigerians in general to tread with caution in the interest of the nation’s democracy.
I pointed out clearly that the war on the National Assembly has a target, that is the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki who has been having a running battle with a government where he is number three in hierarchy. I warned in that article that the National Assembly as an institution should not be destroyed because of the perceived political ambition of Saraki.
Unknown to me ,while I was doing my piece, some enemies of democracy were also planning to bring shame on the country and they actually succeeded in their wicked act. What happened was more than a ridicule to Nigeria, it portrays us as a country that cannot secure itself. Little wonder government blamed the security challenges we are facing partly to Libya as if Nigeria is Libya’s neighbor. Interestingly, countries .that share boundaries with Libya are not crying as Nigeria is doing.
I am proud to be a Nigerian but I find it uncomfortable that those who are supposed to be promoting the interest of Nigeria are the ones destroying it. Truth must be told, we can’t continue like this and expect foreigners to come and invest in our country. The first thing any investor will consider is his personal safety before he thinks about profit. If you cannot secure the National Assembly, how do you secure the lives of those coming to invest in your country?
If the Senate President or the leadership of the Senate is the target, why not wait till 2019 to decide their fates with votes? Can the Executive survive without the National Assembly? The answer is no, therefore, I am using this medium to once again appeal to those who are bringing dishonor to Nigeria to have a rethink. The killings in Nigeria must stop, impunity must stop and de-marketing of Nigeria must come to an end. We really don’t deserve this mess as a people, therefore, the leadership of this country start behaving responsibly.
The Deputy National Chairman of Eastern Consultative Assembly, ECA, Mrs. Marie Okwo, may have given a near picture of the what is happening in Nigeria. She was quoted to have said : “This is the beginning of chaos in the in the country. There is anarchy in the land. There is no leadership in this country; there is so much confusion and calamity.’’
I feel pained and extremely sad that while our leaders travel abroad to canvass for foreign investors, events at home and bad things happening one after the other are de-marketing my beloved country. I feel very uncomfortable that I have to write almost every month on the need for the leadership of my country to do things right.
I want to ask , If you “kill” the National Assembly because you want to get rid of the leadership of the Senate, what will you get in return? the answer is obvious, anarchy .
President Muhammadu Buhari should begin to take charge of Nigeria as the father of all. As it is today, it seems to me that no one is in charge ,that is why a few irresponsible individuals could invade the National Assembly and escape with the mace in broad day light. It does not make us look serious as a nation. The well-coordinated forceful removal of the mace at the Senate has made me to ask myself repeatedly, is this Nigeria? No, this is not Nigeria, this is not my country.