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By Jude Ndukwe

How fast things change? How quickly destinies turn around? In the first week of July 2018, the police had invited the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, for questioning over the infamous Offa Robbery. Tongues wagged, creating another round of tension in the land. Many could not understand what was happening. But then, this is Nigeria; this is the country where the lust for power makes otherwise reasonable people do unreasonable things. Many thought it was a witch hunt. How could Saraki be involved in armed robbery, remotely or otherwise? Many thought it was political. But was it?

The events of today make it seem so. Just about three weeks after the police invitation to Saraki, the newsstands are awash with stories of President Muhammadu Buhari ‘begging’ the same Saraki not to leave the APC. Not only that, some APC leaders and governors who had kept silent and probably out of blind loyalty to the president and their party even when it was very obvious that they were not being fair to Saraki both as a person and as the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, mocked and enjoyed every bit of the humiliation dished out to him for nearly three years and nearly all the entire period of the Buhari’s administration, are now acting sanctimoniously and speaking like a people who have just regained their decency just because of the threat Saraki’s planned defection would have on them and their party at the 2019 elections.

These same people spoke ill of Saraki whose only ‘offence’ was that he legitimately contested for the Senate presidency, something that was within his rights to do, and won, to the extent that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in a communiqué he released sometime in October 2015, described Saraki’s emergence as Senate President as a “crass act of disloyalty”. Since then, Saraki has been visited with immense political venom whose cure could only be found in the long and tortuous road to the Supreme Court. State agents were unleashed not only on him but also nearly on all those who stood by him particularly in the National Assembly.

Those set to destroy him did not even mind also destroying the institution of the legislature alongside. They not only unleashed moral and psychological violence on him through the security agencies, they also unleashed the media against him. In some cases, fake CSO’s were hired to demonise him in hurriedly arranged protest marches usually carried out by protesters who hardly knew why they were actually out in the streets.

Members of the executive recklessly maligned the National Assembly. Ibrahim Magu is still the EFCC Chairman today despite being declared unfit and not qualified to head that all important organization having been indicted by a sister security agency, the DSS, in a number of alleged criminal breaches, and the non-confirmation of the Senate.

It was because of the irrepressible urge to destroy Saraki and break him that made the Comptroller-General of Customs constantly and flagrantly ignore Senate summons and resolutions without any consequence. Even the Inspector-General of Police has not hidden his disdain for the institution of the legislature having serially refused to appear before the Senate to explain issues about the worsening security situation in the country, all because of Saraki, the man who must be destroyed. Or was it not the same police that told Nigerians that investigation into the mace theft at the Senate in the midst of the Omo-Agege saga would take ten years?

Apart from being treated like a common school boy truant by his own party co-leaders, a good number of the executive have not fallen short of labeling the whole National Assembly members as thieves and looters. This is where my worry comes from. With APC leaders including Buhari having mouthed the anti-corruption mantra for so long and so hard, why would they still want people they labeled looters in their midst? Why not just allow them to go?

The truth is that the semblance of sanity we have in our political climate today is down to Saraki’s maturity and exhibition of political equanimity, such that is rare in our clime, in the face of extreme provocation and unnecessary persecution. If Saraki had at any point decided to wield the enormous powers at his disposal and that of the National Assembly, the nation would have been plunged into a crisis of monumental proportion whose end no one would have been able to predict. But obviously for the sake of the nation, Saraki bore the persecution and carried his cross with meekness.

Now is the time to stamp his feet and just walk away from a party that is wired to destroy its own. When Tambuwal emerged Speaker of the House of Representatives against the arrangement of his then party, the PDP, he was never subjected to any humiliation but was given a free hand to operate. He was never persecuted. But the same cannot be said of APC. They are of a different species set up to end up destroying not only its own but also our institutions in the process.

This is why Saraki and all those who have become tired of the ugly situation in the country must dissociate and divorce themselves from those who have serially betrayed the trust of Nigerians. A party and government that have denied their campaign promises even when written will deny any agreement with the Senate President and the R-APC members even if such agreement is written as reportedly being demanded by Saraki.

A government and party that ridicule our constitution and institutions even the judiciary by assaulting judicial officers and recklessly invading their privacies under the guise of executing arrests, and disobeys validly pronounced court orders and judgements, is not a government or party to trust.

Even if Saraki must remain in APC, he should make himself further a statesman by making demands that benefit not only himself or the legislature but also the people at large. Apart from requesting that he must be accorded the full rights, privileges and respect he deserves as a Senate President, he must also request the following:

  1. That the dignity of the National Assembly must be restored by ensuring that all government appointees who have failed Senate screening but are still being foisted on the nation by the executive vacate office immediately
  2. That all government appointees who had at one time or the other ignored, refused and or deliberately failed to answer summons of the Senate must return to apologise to the National Assembly and Nigerians for ridiculing one of the legacy institutions of our democracy
  3. That all those involved in the recent mace theft at the Senate and their sponsors be fished out and prosecuted immediately
  4. That all those who are being detained illegally and refused bail even after multiple court rulings granting them bail be released forthwith as long as they have met their bail conditions
  5. That those who have been held without trial for so long, including Jones Abiri, be released forthwith
  6. That political persecution of opposition voices using state apparatuses must stop forthwith
  7. That properties of some political leaders that were destroyed by some state governments because of the victims’ dissenting voices be rebuilt forthwith
  8. That all those whose rights have been abridged one way or the other because of their opinions on state or national issues, including those who were sacked from their jobs in the process, some who have also suffered both physical and psychological injuries, be reinstated and adequately compensated
  9. That all government appointees, cronies or servants, who have been indicted in one crime or the other by a report from either arm of the National Assembly, be removed and prosecuted forthwith
  10. That all those indicted in the 2015 massacre of Shiite Muslims in Zaria in 2015 and those involved in the murder of citizens during the “Operation Python Dance” in the South East be arrested and prosecuted
  11. That the menace of Fulani herdsmen terrorists all over the country be checked and those who had been reported to have publicly boasted about the killings while threatening more be arrested and prosecuted forthwith, among other demands meant to restore order and decency in governance and guarantee the fundamental human rights of all citizens, the enthronement of justice, equity and fairness, and the progress of the nation

To me, these are very sound grounds on which Saraki can negotiate with President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC leadership. If there is any man divinely positioned to correct all these anomalies particularly at this time, that man is Saraki. His persecution by the APC government has unintentionally thrown him up as the leader of a great number of suffering Nigerians who are now in the majority. He must seize this opportunity and make it count for posterity. He must eschew any selfish agenda and ride on the grace God has placed on him to snatch the country back from tyranny and despotism. If it does not work out in the next one week, he should leave the APC urgently as time is ticking. He must not allow the APC to cunningly buy time with him.

Nigerians are daily being afflicted with tears, sorrow and blood under the APC-led federal government. Saraki can defect and set the tone for a new agenda immediately no matter the party he eventually goes to. God has given him the opportunity now to stop affliction from rising a second time in our nation. Will he take it or will he let it slip by? The choice is Saraki’s!

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COLUMNISTS

Saraki and the Tragedy of Victory

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By Jude Ndukwe

Since the National Assembly elections ended in Kwara on March 9, and the current Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, lost at the polls, those who have lived in mortal fear of one of Nigeria’s finest Senate Presidents ever in history, have not relented in their infantile attacks against a man, who against all odds, wrestled official tyranny to the ground and eventually became one through whom God has preserved what is now our fragile democracy from being turned into a full blown dictatorship.

They have unleashed all manner of media attacks against the one popularly called “Oloye” by his fans, using pliable men who are obviously satisfied with being slaves, even though they are and should be living as freeborn, as long as crumbs fall for them from their slave master’s table.

To prove that Saraki was nothing but only a victim of his own rightful ambition, those who are bitterly persecuting him today under one concocted anti-corruption guise or the other, are merely doing so because they could not stand the audacity of his ambition to be Senate President against the overbearing wishes of the “Bullion Van Hawker of Bourdillon” and his coconspirators in the seat of power.

O, they wailed, they wept, they convulsed in extreme anger and could not believe that Saraki, (who used to be) a member of their party, who also had the legitimate right to be SP, beat them to the game as a master and battle-hardened politician that he is.

From then on, they marked him for destruction but he conquered them all to their dismay. Every trap set against him was neutralised with his soft speaking nature and deft political moves. He navigated their mines expertly, handling the affairs of the National Assembly with so much class that no weapon fashioned against him in the last four years thereabout prospered.

Despite being distracted with spurious court cases, phantom corruption allegations, none of which could be proven in court till tomorrow, official harassment, intimidation and desecration extending to the national assembly as an institution just to weaken and humiliate him, Saraki still kept the senate together, and will be stepping down in great glory as the “Senate President no one could remove”.

No matter what anybody says, the fact remains that Saraki will be leaving the senate as Senate President on his own terms.

The ignominy which his traducers tried their best to rub him in did not work. He was one Senate President who walked through the valleys of the shadow of death and feared no evil, for, indeed, God was and is obviously still with him.

He was professional in his approach to duty that not even for once did he allow his persecution by the executive negatively affect his sense of patriotism in the discharge of his duties.

When passage of budgets has been delayed, it was because the executive either padded the budget with mind boggling figures or that the ministries and MDAs were nowhere to be found to defend their estimates. Because they have a leader who is either bereft of ideas of how the legislature works or he still sees himself as a military dictator who must not be subjected to another institution as president, they expect the national assembly to just pass the budget “as is”. Saraki frustrated their plans to turn the national assembly to just another appendage of the executive arm, or, into a mere rubber stamp.

The Senate under him have enacted laws and passed Bills that have far reaching positive effects on our polity.

Saraki might not have won his last election, he is a victor anyway. No man passes through what Saraki was subjected to by members of the executive, survives and still see himself as a loser!

Sadly, the real losers are those who won elections in Kwara at Saraki’s expense but lost their soul and beholden to tyranny in the process.

With the incessant killings, rise in terrorism, hardship, continued displacement of communities by criminal bands, extra judicial killings by security forces, perpetually rising inflation, job losses in millions, Nigeria becoming the poverty capital of the world etc, to the extent that even the wife of the president had to, in order to exonerate her husband from the mess our nation has become under Buhari, confess that it was no longer her husband that was in charge but about three others, these hack writers see nothing in any of the nation’s misfortunes to address but their headache is a Saraki they love to hate because he beat them to their own game and that of their masters to become the Senate President.

This is where victory is tragic, for those who celebrate the ephemeral triumph of gross incompetence, ineptitude and the embarrassment our nation has become since 2015, by chasing shadows and leaving substance behind just because, to them, the country may collapse as long as they keep getting peanuts for attacking Saraki, it is most unfortunate and the misfortunes of a degraded nation is their lot!

As for Saraki, he has fought the good fight of faith. Yes, faith, because faith demands that we must stand up to tyranny even if just to prick the conscience of the tyrant and constantly remind him and his foot soldiers that all faiths abhor the vindictive imprisonment of citizens for their political and or religious beliefs as we currently have today. He can go home with pride knowing full well that when our nation was at its lowest ebb, post civil war era, he stood up to be counted among the few who used their status and political office to engage tyranny and dictatorship in a head on collision and left the senate unscathed. He is, by all standards, a fulfilled man, a winner!

jrndukwe@yahoo.co.uk; @stjudendukwe

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COLUMNISTS

Spectrum: Tragedy of too many lives

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By Anikulapo Macmillan

Sometime, death comes like a puritanical to us when we hear the news of our beloved passage. It is painful to lose family in a bizarre. And it is a bad feeling when the shock of such an untimely death comes to us as misfortune. So, an English poet, Robert Frost, wrote vividly in his poetry: ‘’ and be one traveller/ long I stood/and looked down one as far as I could/ to where it bent in the undergrowth’’
It was an event of grief when the world mourned the ill-fated airplane victims in Ethiopia. I was perplexed about the lives of those victims. And it was later in the evening a friend dropped; what I called a parcel of sadden news on my Whatapp. When I saw what he wrote; I was devastated. It was like a joke not until I saw the news spreading like a fume on twitter. That one of our columnist cum essayist had gone too soon.
Indeed the tragic news was the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed six minute after take-off from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, killing all aboard, who were 157 people and Prof. Pius Adesanmi was visited by death. It is saddened to the world that we don’t pay attention to death than to giving priorities to imperfectness because this particular Boeing 737 Max 8 has once crashed six month ago.
So, unfortunate, that we lost two Nigerians, we lost two Irokos; one as an academia and the other one as a diplomat. I met Prof Adesanmi at the AKE Art Book Festival in 2015. His intelligence was overwhelming. He spoke with too much tenacity. Since then I have been following his writing and wanting to read his collection of essays title: Naija no dey carry last.
Well, death has made March to become significant. It has made the month to become a symphony to T.S Eliot’s poem, the wasteland. That March is now the cruellest month, breeding death out of land like what happened in Christchurch, New Zealand when unknown gunman killed 50 Muslims in their mosques.
When I heard this particular news on Friday and I saw the footage, I thought, it was scripted like grand theft auto game. Hence, I didn’t believe at first; and later I began to see trending news on twitter. This shows that our world is molested by racial people. Those who believe that killing is the best way to live a good life are mistakenly wrong. They have forgotten that it is not humanity.
However, let me say, that any kind of incessant killings like this or the one that happens in Kaduna over the weekend needs to be addressed not only by the government but by the whole world.
It is pertinent; that by now, the perpetrators of the New Zealand massacre have not been arrested. Are we saying no CCTV cameras in those mosques? Are they not human beings or do they come with a mask? Thank God for the Nigerian Iman, Lateef Alabi who made us to believe that the news was indeed truth.
Therefore, it is probably a theory of ignorance, when the police by now can’t identify the culprits. Yet, the world is still not finding ways to stop all kind of carnage; that is also an albatross to security policies. Well, this is not the fight of New Zealand alone because those who were killed have families. And the trauma could cause fratricidal or matricidal.
Maybe what an Italian philosopher, Antonio Gramsci said: ‘’ to tell the truth is revolutionary’’ which means, the United Nation needs to watch out for killings like this. It is awful. That people life does not mean anything anymore.
Well, in this same part of the world, it is still disparagingly wrong, that after our general election, what we should have next is what I called: blood relative in my poetry. Kaduna has become a death trap in our society. It has become a place where we mourn of envy and religion catastrophe.
Death even came like tidal wave with a tremulous wailing from residents and onlookers when a building collapsed in, Ita Faji area of Lagos Island. School pupils are mostly victims of the collapsed building. While some die, and few that survived where at the state hospital. Hence, it is so painstaking that the Lagos government and the ministry of housing are ignorantly not performing their functions. This was horrific event as many dead bodies were recovered.
So, the federal government needs to understand that causalities like this are not expected to happen in a society like Lagos. However, those pupils now have trauma of such a malign that bestow them. And the Lagos state government responsibility is to start a policy on building because the lives of those who reside in those buildings are part of the electorate.
In this vein, such a death replenished the atmosphere in the eastern Zimbabwe, killing at least 24 people. When I saw this news, I began to wonder why these tragedies come in March. Is it that the affected nations do not control their societal values? Meanwhile, the case of cyclone, In Zimbabwe and Mozambique, is that the two countries have not properly fund their weather science appropriately.
Perhaps, death that comes in March is a tragedy to humanity. It is also a worry to country like ours that we don’t know how to control our citizens and their heritage. Because I know, if our airlines are good enough, Prof. Adesanmi would have flown ours or if our country is good enough, Iman. Lateef Alabi would have stayed back than to face the gossamer of death in New Zealand.
We need to bring the country we want together and to make conversation because it is paramount to have a good system than to have death toil every month when citizens die like prey. Apparently, I think it is time we needed to provide security for our individualism— not to witness scourge.
A nation that refuses to understand the people’s welfare is already in precipice and it is a disgrace for Nigeria to fail even though her politicians are into the epiphany of misconception and all sort of imperial modulation. Still like theme of Jack London’s short story, ‘’to build a fire’’. We need not to build a fire but we need to build a monument for our country.

Continue Reading

COLUMNISTS

Spectrum: Tragedy of too many lives

Published

on

 

Anikulapo Macmillan

Sometime, death comes like a puritanical to us when we hear the news of our beloved passage. It is painful to lose family in a bizarre. And it is a bad feeling when the shock of such an untimely death comes to us as misfortune.  So, an English poet, Robert Frost, wrote vividly in his poetry: ‘’ and be one traveller/ long I stood/and looked down one as far as I could/ to where it bent in the undergrowth’’

It was an event of grief when the world mourned the ill-fated airplane victims in Ethiopia. I was perplexed about the lives of those victims. And it was later in the evening a friend dropped; what I called a parcel of sadden news on my Whatapp. When I saw what he wrote; I was devastated. It was like a joke not until I saw the news spreading like a fume on twitter. That one of our columnist cum essayist had gone too soon.

Indeed the tragic news was the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed six minute after take-off from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, killing all aboard, who were 157 people and Prof. Pius Adesanmi was visited by death. It is saddened to the world that we don’t pay attention to death than to giving priorities to imperfectness because this particular Boeing 737 Max 8 has once crashed six month ago.

So, unfortunate, that we lost two Nigerians, we lost two Irokos; one as an academia and the other one as a diplomat. I met Prof Adesanmi at the AKE Art Book Festival in 2015. His intelligence was overwhelming. He spoke with too much tenacity. Since then I have been following his writing and wanting to read his collection of essays title: Naija no dey carry last.

Well, death has made March to become significant. It has made the month to become a symphony to T.S Eliot’s poem, the wasteland. That March is now the cruellest month, breeding death out of land like what happened in Christchurch, New Zealand when unknown gunman killed 50 Muslims in their mosques.

When I heard this particular news on Friday and I saw the footage, I thought, it was scripted like grand theft auto game. Hence, I didn’t believe at first; and later I began to see trending news on twitter. This shows that our world is molested by racial people. Those who believe that killing is the best way to live a good life are mistakenly wrong. They have forgotten that it is not humanity.

However, let me say, that any kind of incessant killings like this or the one that happens in Kaduna over the weekend needs to be addressed not only by the government but by the whole world.

It is pertinent; that by now, the perpetrators of the New Zealand massacre have not been arrested. Are we saying no CCTV cameras in those mosques?  Are they not human beings or do they come with a mask?  Thank God for the Nigerian Iman, Lateef Alabi who made us to believe that the news was indeed truth.

Therefore, it is probably a theory of ignorance, when the police by now can’t identify the culprits. Yet, the world is still not finding ways to stop all kind of carnage; that is also an albatross to security policies. Well, this is not the fight of New Zealand alone because those who were killed have families. And the trauma could cause fratricidal or matricidal.

Maybe what an Italian philosopher, Antonio Gramsci said: ‘’ to tell the truth is revolutionary’’ which means, the United Nation needs to watch out for killings like this. It is awful. That people life does not mean anything anymore.

Well, in this same part of the world, it is still disparagingly wrong, that after our general election, what we should have next is what I called: blood relative in my poetry. Kaduna has become a death trap in our society. It has become a place where we mourn of envy and religion catastrophe.

Death even came like tidal wave with a tremulous wailing from residents and onlookers when a building collapsed in, Ita Faji area of Lagos Island. School pupils are mostly victims of the collapsed building. While some die, and few that survived where at the state hospital. Hence, it is so painstaking that the Lagos government and the ministry of housing are ignorantly not performing their functions. This was horrific event as many dead bodies were recovered.

So, the federal government needs to understand that causalities like this are not expected to happen in a society like Lagos. However, those pupils now have trauma of such a malign that bestow them. And the Lagos state government responsibility is to start a policy on building because the lives of those who reside in those buildings are part of the electorate.

In this vein, such a death replenished the atmosphere in the eastern Zimbabwe, killing at least 24 people. When I saw this news, I began to wonder why these tragedies come in March. Is it that the affected nations do not control their societal values? Meanwhile, the case of cyclone, In Zimbabwe and Mozambique, is that the two countries have not properly fund their weather science appropriately.

Perhaps, death that comes in March is a tragedy to humanity. It is also a worry to country like ours that we don’t know how to control our citizens and their heritage. Because I know, if our airlines are good enough, Prof. Adesanmi would have flown ours or if our country is good enough, Iman. Lateef Alabi would have stayed back than to face the gossamer of death in New Zealand.

We need to bring the country we want together and to make conversation because it is paramount to have a good system than to have death toil every month when citizens die like prey. Apparently, I think it is time we needed to provide security for our individualism— not to witness scourge.

A nation that refuses to understand the people’s welfare is already in precipice and it is a disgrace for Nigeria to fail even though her politicians are into the epiphany of misconception and all sort of imperial modulation. Still like theme of Jack London’s short story, ‘’to build a fire’’. We need not to build a fire but we need to build a monument for our country.

 

@Babatunde_Mac

+2348076926109 or +2348090917041

 

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