185 Days to Go: A Government Divided

Implementation of the agenda to scuttle the 2015 elections and elongate the tenure of incumbent officeholders has started in earnest. I saw it coming, months ago. But, even now, many have not read the handwriting on the wall. It’s 185 days to May 29.

For starters, any extension of emergency rule in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states will mean that elections will not hold there. Non-approval of the extension by the legislature is likely to lead to the appointment of sole administrators and the dismantling of democratic structures in the states.

Promises of bribe money have not been able to convince many senators from the north to support the extension. And because the blackmail to impose sole administrators has not worked either, attacking members of the House of Representatives with tear gas became the next option.

A member of the House has been quoted as saying that the plot executed on Thursday was to prevent Speaker Aminu Tambuwal from presiding over the reconvened House. His deputy Emeka Ihedioha would then supervise the speaker’s impeachment (for crossing over to the APC) and perhaps approval of the state of emergency request.

The plot has backfired and we now have a divided government. Our honourable members turned cats and monkeys on Thursday as they scaled a high fence in order to make it to the chambers. In solidarity with the House of Reps, the Senate suspended plenary. Now, the House is reportedly preparing to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Jonathan.

Time has run out already. At present, Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states are not under emergency rule. The last 18 months of supposed state of emergency did not help anyway: Boko Haram intensified its onslaught and now over one million of our compatriots have been forced from their homes to live in makeshift camps. Close to 20, 000 others have been killed or kidnapped.

I’m aware that INEC is not even ready for the elections. When it announced that it would no longer create the contentious 30, 000 polling units, I knew it had understood where the nation was heading for. What would make an election that excluded votes from the three states credible? Would the internally displaced people also vote? And who would they vote for anyway in a presidential election?

Six more months of emergency rule in the north-east will not end terrorist activities in the region. Nor will they witness the return of over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok 223 days ago. But what kind of country is this? So those girls and scores of others abducted later have been forgotten and we are preparing for elections? We wait to see the day the PDP or the APC presidential candidate will mount the rostrum in Bama or Mubi to make promises.

Our reps should quickly drop their impeachment threat. They and the senators do not need to be bribed – I know they need money now for electioneering – before they can approve extension of emergency rule. In fact, the entire country is in a state of emergency—emergency rule should be extended to every state that has witnessed bomb explosion in the last five years. And since the FCT has also lost its innocence, the National Assembly members should be on forced vacation – without pay.

Finance minister Okonjo-Iweala has spoken of “austerity measures” in the face of dwindling oil revenue. Cost-cutting should start from the jumbo pay enjoyed by our public “servants” that contribute almost nothing to the development of the nation and its economy. What has happened to the report of the National Conference that consumed more than N12billion this year?

My prayer is that the federal government would unite to fight the evils they have reared their ugly heads in this dispensation. We cannot afford any faceoff between the legislature and the executive in this wartime and election year. Let our leaders, for once, do what is right.



Witness to Terror

Two years have passed since armed bandits invaded my home in Abuja and shot my wife in the head, sliced my head with a machete, traumatised my children and stole every item of property or cash they could see. I fainted after losing much blood.

I thank God we survived at the hospital, but I know other Nigerians that never lived to tell their story. Nine pellets were removed from my wife’s skull and I now carry a long scar on the head.

Among the items the hoodlums made away with was a new Honda 2010 model (Anaconda). Nobody has informed me of any breakthrough, though the police, Customs, EFCC, VIO, FRSC and the GSM companies have been fleecing us with biometric data capture, new driver’s licence, new vehicle licence and new plate number. All the agencies were informed that, at the time of the robbery, the blue Honda had the registration number MNA 394 AA (NIGER STATE). The car’s chassis number (visible below the windscreen) was JHMCP2675AC407612 and its engine number, K24Z23807891.

I have been spending money on the police instead. A trip to Kano that I sponsored led to the arrest of someone using my BlackBerry phone. The suspect named other accomplices until we could trace the phone to one of the suspected armed robbers: his name is Muazu Maishayi. His family home in Kano has been identified but no effort has been made to get him arrested in Abuja or through his wife and children in Kano. Another suspect’s name is Ayuba; his accomplice was using the line 08170129453 until he threw away the SIM months later. Our applications to Glo for identification of the line’s owner at the time (from Nov. 24, 2012, to February 2013) were ignored.

I have been told that car thieves change vehicles’ numbers somewhere in Kaduna and Kano. If robbers could easily resell registered cars, why then are we being robbed in the name of new licences and biometric data capture? And why do we give guns to policemen who would not respond to distress calls? I hope new IG Suleiman Abba has the answers.


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