Festus Keyamo, the man who abandoned his ministerial job in pursuit of Bola Tinubu’s presidential ambition, has just stirred the hornet’s nest. His petition to the Department of State Service (DSS) wherein he called for the arrest of Peter Obi and Datti Yusuf Baba-Ahmed is a puerile piece of childishness.
Keyamo was led into this fitful display by what he imagined and put out as incendiary comments that could cause rebellion by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party and his vice in the February 25, 2023, election. For the minister, the duo of Obi and Datti should be arrested and prosecuted for incitement and treasonable felony.
Keyamo’s call is not only vexatious, it is also irresponsible. It is obvious here that the minister wants to grandstand. He wants to draw attention to himself. But much more than that, he aims at diverting attention from the issue of the moment, which is that the declaration of Tinubu by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as President-elect is questionable. But Keyamo has struck a very wrong chord. If he aimed at diverting attention from INEC’s wrongful declaration, he has, unwittingly, reinforced all the arguments against the emergence of Tinubu as President-elect.
The problem with Keyamo and others like him is overzealousness. He wants to be heard at all cost. That is why he hardly thinks through issues before going public with them. If Keyamo had reflected a little on the sense or lack of it of dragging the DSS into matters arising from the flawed elections of February 25, something would have told him to avoid throwing faggots into a blazing fire. A little more reflection would have told him as well that the country’s security agencies such as the DSS ought to be accorded the respect they deserve. They do not exist at the pleasure of those who think that every public institution should be toyed with. In fact, Keyamo has, by his call, just toyed with the DSS.
His indiscretion is compounded by his single-minded pursuit of someone else’s ambition. He is not ready to deal with contraries and this has led him into this grave error. Unable to come to terms with the groundswell of protests being mounted against the ill-conceived and ill-advised declaration of Tinubu as President-elect, Keyamo wants to bully everybody into submission. That was what gave him the temerity to call for the arrest of Peter Obi. This is foolhardiness. Keyamo is being foolishly bold. But I imagine that he considers himself a factor to reckon with. This is a pity. When you do not know and you do not know that you do not know, you qualify to be called a fool. It is also the case that an overdose of childishness results in foolishness. Keyamo is being held hostage by this debilitation.
This brings us to the issue Keyamo is toying with.
Obi, it must be stated, is widely believed to be the winner of the February 25 election, regardless of the voodoo that INEC foisted on Nigerians. Obi and all patriotic Nigerians are scandalized by what took place. They are asking questions. They are holding INEC to account. As the man at the centre of the drama , Obi has been speaking out. He has told the world that he won the election. He has said that he will prove his claim in court. He is not afraid to say this because he believes that he has the facts and figures to buttress his argument.
To demonstrate that he means business, Obi has approached the courts over the matter. He has many grounds on which he anchored his case. He is also seeking a number of reliefs in court. In doing this, Obi has, at every turn, said that he will use lawful and peaceful means to reclaim his mandate. This is what he has set out to do. But as someone who knows his onions, Obi, from time to time, throws light on the issue at stake. He has not fought shy. He has expressed his confidence in our courts. That was why he approached them in the first place. He is insisting that the right thing should be done.
Unfortunately, this peaceful and tame disposition of Obi amounts to incitement to the Festus Keyamos of a decadent Nigeria. He would rather see a quiet Obi who would treat the injustice meted out to him as if it never happened. He would have preferred a moronic Obi who would sit askance and watch the country slide into the jungle. Rather than accuse Obi of incitement, Keyamo is actually the one guilty of his own charge. His reckless call is tantamount to an incitement of the security agencies against Obi. This is dissidence, to say the least.
Keyamo, from all indications, does not want us to talk about the blunder that was the February 25 presidential election. On that day, Nigeria’s electoral commission, led by Mahmood Yakubu, took Nigerians for fools. Yakubu gave us a compromised election. The election was won and lost in his bedroom before it took place. What was delivered to Nigerians was a fait accompli.
In the face of the manifest fraud that attended the exercise, Nigerians are asking questions. They want the electoral commission to prove the authenticity of the result it announced. They want INEC to prove that the numbers it foisted on us are correct. These are legitimate inquiries, which should not unsettle anybody with clean hands.
But what we have here is different. The electoral commission is being dodgy. It is reluctant to submit itself to scrutiny. This is in spite of the fact that it has roundly been accused of manipulation and rigging in favour of the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu. Those who have gone to court are asking the court to set aside the result that INEC hastily announced. This is what is upsetting Keyamo.
It must be said, therefore, that those who do not want the fraud of February 25 questioned or scrutinized are the real enemies of the country. They are the people who want Nigeria to remain perpetually on the brink. While the rest of us are striving to achieve a better Nigeria, those who messed up our national elections do not care a hoot about how to get the country out of the woods. They are the people who constitute potential danger to the efforts at building a better country. They are the real threat to the survival of Nigeria, not the Peter Obis or Datti Baba-Ahmeds who are only asking that the right thing be done.
What, for instance, is wrong in demanding that someone who did not meet the constitutional requirements for winning the presidency should not be sworn into office? Nothing. But the Festus Keyamos of a decaying Nigeria do not want to hear that. They want to harass the rest of us into submission. What a nerve!