What is happening may precipitate anarchy on our shores. Impunity in whatever form must be halted before Nigeria becomes a banana republic.
The Tuesday sack of the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Musa Daura, by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, was dramatic. It was dramatic because nobody saw it coming soon after President Muhammadu Buhari began a 10-day vacation in London. There was even no hint or whimper that such an action will take place with immediate effect. The sack was applauded by most Nigerians.
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The DSS under Daura has acted far above the law using the phrase ‘order from above’ to carry out most of their clandestine activities that border on impunity. We shall come to such abuses later in the article. The action of the DSS agents is against the tenets of rule of law. It is anti-people and against democratic norms. But the last straw that broke the camel’s back may be the dawn invasion of the National Assembly (NASS) complex on Tuesday by masked DSS operatives.
The Gestapo-style invasion embarrassed Nigerians and members of the international community. Kudos must be given to the lawmakers, especially Hon. Boma Goodhead, for boldly confronting the menacing operatives. The siege at the National Assembly should be investigated so that the motive for the ill-advised action should be made public. Also to be probed is why security operatives brazenly carry out duties solely based on the ‘order from above.’ Nigerians deserve the right to know what the security agents meant by such ambiguous phrase which they use to terrorize hapless Nigerian citizens. Security agents should not hide under the guise of the ‘order from above’ and perpetrate illegality. Let those in government explain in plain terms the meaning of this so-called ‘order from above.’
READ ALSO: ‘Order from above’
We hope that this is the last time Nigerians will witness this type of bizarre incident and harassment of lawmakers. The security agents must respect the legislature as an arm of government. Any attack on the legislature is an attack on the government. Democracy is built on the principles of the separation of powers among the three arms of government, the executive, the judiciary and the legislature.
No one arm should be treated with disrespect. Security operatives should act in the interest of Nigerians and democracy. In fact, they should defend our democracy. When the DSS invaded judges’ homes at mid night, they rationalized the action based on ‘order from above.’ But it is public knowledge that all security agents are answerable to the President.
In the absence of the President, they take orders from the Vice President. They also take orders from their superiors. A security officer can also act based on his judgment to prevent a breach of the law. A security agent can never act based on the order from above. So, where does the order from above emanate from?
The detained ex-DG of DSS should be made to explain where he got the order to invade the NASS with his men. Security operatives using the order from above as an alibi to carry out illegal operations must stop it. Nigerians can never be governed based on the order from above. Somebody has to explain why NASS was invaded and sealed. The ongoing cross-country defections by politicians across political parties, whether for selfish or nationalistic motives, should be handled with care so that our nascent democracy is not truncated.
Admitted that any politician is at liberty to change his political party, especially when there is a crisis in that party, the impeachment move that greet such a democratic action as in the case of Benue State, is never in consonance with democratic ethos.
Also, the reported freezing of accounts of Benue and Akwa Ibom states by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the heels of such high profile defections does not bode well for our democracy. What is happening may precipitate anarchy on our shores. Impunity in whatever form must be halted before Nigeria becomes a banana republic.
The actions of many state actors show that our politicians have not learnt much from 1999 till now. The learning process is still on course. We hope they learn fast and know that political leadership is a call for service to the people.
Until our politicians are motivated to serve the people rather than themselves, the quality of our politics will continue to slide. As long as the culture of ‘vote and cook soup’ is in vogue, so long shall the citizens be short-changed. As long as ‘see and buy’ underlines our voting pattern, so long our suffering must continue. Let the electorate change the narrative come the 2019 polls.
The Zimbabwe poll
The violence that trailed the presidential election in Zimbabwe has underscored the fact that something is basically wrong with the electoral system in most African countries. Although the ruling Kanu-PF candidate, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, (The Crocodile) won by polling 2.46 million votes or 50.8 percent against 2.15 million for the opposition leader and candidate of the MDC, Nelson Chamisa, the opposition has described the victory as fraudulent.
The opposition said: “We have won this election emphatically—we have the figures to prove it. Mnangagwa did not win it. The election was fraudulent, illegal and illegitimate.” This has been the refrain of almost every term change election in Africa. We saw it in Kenya not quite long ago. It is high time Africans got the electoral process right.
The accusations of rigging of polls in Africa by the losers are rife and ought not to be overlooked. It is either we practice democracy the way it should or we adopt another political system that suit our temperament. We should stop being a laughing stock in the international community on account of electoral abuses.
Every election in African is afflicted with violence, killing and ballot snatching. We should start changing the narrative by respecting the rights of the people to elect their leaders. The wishes of the electorate must not be subverted. African leaders should desist from acts capable of derailing their countries’ electoral process.
Sadly, the abuse of democratic governance in most African countries has halted the socio-economic development of the continent. The reign of dictators masquerading as democrats has been the bane of the continent’s new democracy. Since the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has declared Mnangagwa the winner of the poll, the opposition can seek redress at the tribunal. They must never resort to self-help which may lead to further crisis and bloodshed. Unfortunately, such results are hardly over-turned by the tribunal. African countries must reform their electoral systems to ensure credible, fair free and transparent poll outcomes. That is the best way to stop electoral crisis and bloodshed on the continent.