Two security agencies prevented 22 other members of the Assembly from gaining access to the House of Assembly because of order from above.
Nigerians think they understand what has been said when they are told by governmental authorities that they (uniformed people) are obeying orders from above. It could be the civil servant, or the police, or the military or the customs or any of the paramilitary forces. The Order from above evokes a response like that of the Russian peasants before the 1917 Revolution who found that God is too high and the Czar too far to listen let alone solve their numerous problems.
When the order is from above all arguments cease, all appeals stop, every process ends. But when the Department of State Security (DSS) invaded, seized, and barricaded the National Assembly on Tuesday on order from above, it was, as usual, taken to be legitimate since it came from above.
Last week, the DSS and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) barricaded the Benue State House of Assembly to protect a clique of eight House members who had sequestered themselves in the legislative house to give a notice of impeachment to the State Governor, Samuel Ortom. The two security agencies prevented 22 other members of the Assembly from gaining access to the House of Assembly because of order from above.
When the Presidency reacted negatively to the attempted impeachment of the Benue Governor and denied being complicit in the plot, Nigerians did not quite believe it because they had been told that the DSS and Police activities in Makurdi originated through an order from above. The dismissal of the Director-General of the DSS, Mr. Lawal Musa Daura, Tuesday evening changed all that because it became clear that the order from above had not actually originated from above.
Now, it would appear that the DSS boss has not only been dismissed, he also seems to be in more trouble, having been put under arrest. It becomes even more remarkable when it is remembered that he is considered an untouchable sacred cow, a member of the inner sanctum of the President Muhammadu Buhari kitchen cabinet, one of the few who could ‘do and undo.’ The dismissal of Mr. Daura is said to have been cleared with President Buhari who was having a short vacation in London. |The President apparently has had it from his kinsman from his Daura hometown whom he brought back from retirement in 2015, one of the reasons he was considered a sacred cow. He is to be replaced by Matthew Seiyefa whose home state is Rivers.
A great deal of speculation was afoot in the week that if President Buhari were in the country, Mr. Daura may still be keeping his job. Last Tuesday was not the most provocative action of the agency since he assumed duties as D-G.
The |Deputy Governor of Kano State, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, was also about to be removed from office during the week, but the wise man threw in the towel and preempted his impeachment by the Kano State House of Assembly which began a systematic process to remove him. Among the issues in the articles of impeachment was the amount of travel expenses incurred by the state since 2015 which the House put at N209,677,030. His case showed why many politicians are willing to do practically anything to get into those positions. If he earned N210 million in travels alone in three years, it is fascinating to imagine what he actually earned in other emoluments.
Last week, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki made a soulful presentation to his colleagues in the Peoples Democratic Party at the party’s 81st National Executive Committee Meeting in Abuja where he said he and his friends who defected from the All Progressives Congress were offering themselves as sacrifice in defence of democracy. The defectors from APC to PDP have decided to make sacrifices for the good of Nigerians.
“This sacrifice we are all making is just the first part because we are doing this for Nigerians and that exercise will not be complete until we make a better country for our people.” The only problem was that somehow it sounded a little hollow, more like General Ibrahim Babangida’s offer in 1993 to “step aside” as his “personal sacrifice” for the country.
Since the election season began with the political realignments, the single most fascinating observation is the common belief that the government can do practically anything. But it is obvious that no government can do everything, which is why a constitution sets out the limits of powers and responsibilities of officers and institutions within it. In the last few weeks, the issues of impeachment and expulsions, and defections have dominated the discussions in the country. These issues demand specific processes which are clearly stated.
The eight-man impeachment clique in Benue State stepped into treason. But the unwillingness of the Attorney-General to bring charges against them made the issue look like it was engineered by the Buhari administration. But since such egregious offences have been committed in the past, especially under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration without charges being brought against the perpetrators, it seemed normal to let sleeping dogs lie. In spite of all the explications of the lawyers about the demands of the Constitution to execute impeachment as political acts, somehow, it continues to be seen as the easiest method to get rid of a political opponent, whereas it is actually a most difficult process, and deliberately so because of the grave implications of such an action. To muster the requisite two-third majority cannot be easy in any legislature.
In the United States where the current president enjoys the support of between 38 and 45 per cent of the population, and could easily be impeached after the mid-term elections, which is likely to give the Democrats the control of the House of Representatives, most Americans have seen that President Donald Trump will not be easy to remove through impeachment. It does not matter what the Robert Mueller probe eventually found.
First of all, a Democratic House may impeach, but the trial must be done in the Senate where there is no hope of two-thirds majority which is a requisite for the conviction and removal of the president. Sec- ondly, farseeing Democrats are discouraging their colleagues from talking about impeachment so as not to create a situation where the Vice President, Mike Pence, succeeds Mr. Trump, because Pence might constitute a much more formidable political opponent in 2020. Some Democrats are therefore willing to lie low and ignore Trump’s provocations and excesses which would make Mr. Trump a much easier target in the 2020 election.