Speakers Tambuwal and Omirin: How President Jonathan Undermines Nigerian Democracy, By Adeolu Ademoyo
The invasion of the Nigerian House of Representatives by the Nigerian Police under the new Inspector General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba has brought back the sad memories of both the Ekiti and Osun elections this year when voting exercises were turned into a major war against voters’ psyche by the Nigerian security agencies.
Before the Ekiti June 21, 2014 governorship election, the PDP, the president’s party was not in government in any of the western states in Nigeria. The elections in Ekiti and Osun therefore provided opportunities for President Jonathan and the PDP to explore a foothold in the west towards he 2015 general elections.
Many PDP politicians including the President and his Vice President Mr. Namadi Sambo actually called the elections “war”. Mr. Sambo said on record that Ekiti and Osun elections were ‘war fronts”. So the ruling party used the Nigerian security to carry out its “war” on Ekiti and Osun states voters. In these security sieges, the Nigerian security was obviously playing the 2015 elections script of President Goodluck Jonathan. Therefore President Jonathan of the PDP has questions to answer.
The June21, 2014 Ekiti elections brought Mr. Ayo Fayose to power. The incumbent governor –Dr. Kayode Fayemi was unseated in an election that surprised everyone. Why? During the Ekiti election, the following happened. The Nigerian security-police/military/intelligence/ laid complete siege on the people of Ekiti.
For example, twelve thousand policemen and women, two hundred “counter-terrorism” officers, and countless number of soldiers were deployed to Ekiti to guard two thousand one hundred and ninety five polling booths, which made the number of police to outnumber the number of polling booths during the election! This organized security siege prompted the then Inspector General of Police to admit amidst criticism of this siege by Nigerians to admit and rationalize a violation and intimidation of Ekiti voters that: “I tell you, it (the huge and unnecessary number of police and security agents during an election) is one of the highest numbers we can ever expect to deploy in more than any other state that we have been because we must look at history…”
But as we look at history, we must look at the projection and plan of the ruling party. The projection seems to be that through fair and foul means, President Jonathan and the PDP think they must have a western state as part of the platform for the president’s re-election in 2015. This desperation, which crudely attacks the rule of law on the part of President Jonathan, explains why President Jonathan’s tactics and game plan for his re-election is fueling serious violence in the country.
Hence, it was no surprise that in the Ekiti house of assembly of twenty six members- (Nineteen APC members and Seven PDP members) which required a quorum of ten members to sit, the seven PDP members sat, they imported three thugs (who are not members of assembly) to form a quorum of ten, “deliberated” and “impeached” the Speaker-Dr. Omirin of APC!
While differences in political views among Nigerians is understandable and should be expected in a democracy, there are two issues about law which stand out in the Ekiti PDP criminality, crudity and desecration of law regardless of political views. They come as questions. First, is it legally valid for seven PDP members in a house of twenty-six members (nineteen APC members) to form a quorum and “impeach” the speaker –Dr. Omirin?
Second who are the three thugs imported by PDP (President Jonathan’s party) into Ekiti state assembly in order to form a “quorum”? Can the PDP both at Ekiti and national levels provide the photographs of these three thugs? Should someone who is not a member of the house be allowed to “sit” and “vote” to make laws in the Ekiti assembly as PDP allowed it under the guidance of the Nigerian police? Was this kind of “voting” by non-members of the Ekiti assembly under the supervision of the Nigerian police what happened in the Ekiti June 21 election that brought in Ayo Fayose as Governor when twelve thousand policemen and women were deployed to Ekiti?
Now that Ekiti state has openly descended into the immoral abyss of crudity and wreckage on civilized norms, what does the President, the leader of the party, PDP that perpetuated these crudity and criminality think? What will the International community think of us as a country, a people and as a race?
Strangely the police have behaved differently in the case of the Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives-Mr. Tambuwal. While the Nigerian police watched the descent to crudity and criminality in Ekiti state house of assembly and actually supervised these criminality and crudity – the “voting” by three non-members of the Ekiti house of assembly, the police in Mr. Tambuwal’s case prevented him from performing his role as Speaker on November 20, 2014.
But the Nigerian president appoints the Inspector General of Police and he reports to the president under our constitution if we still have any. Mr. Suleiman Abba, the Inspector General of police was appointed by President Jonathan. Therefore, Mr. Abba reports to President Jonathan. This means that President Goodluck Jonathan is constitutionally aware of how the Nigerian police supervised the (i) purported “impeachment” of Dr. Omirin-the Ekiti state house of assembly speaker by seven PDP members and three imported thugs and (ii) the tear gassing of Mr. Tambuwal and how the police prevented him form performing his duty on November 20, 2014.
While the police under Mr. Abba supervised the criminality and crudity in Ekiti state because this crudity was perpetuated by President Jonathan’s party-the PDP for the interest of PDP, the same police prevented Mr. Tambuwal from performing his duty as the speaker of the House of Representative of the country because the speaker is not a member of PDP-he recently defected to the opposition party –APC.
After an election, in modern democracy, a president ordinarily ceases to be the president of a section of the country; the president ceases to be a president of his party. He is a president of the country. But, very strangely, this is not so for President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP, who continues to see himself as a PDP politician long after the election! . Contrary to basic democratic expectations and norms in civilized societies, throughout his rule after election, President Jonathan consistently sees himself as (i) a president of a section of the country and (ii) a politician member of a political party.
President Jonathan is blindly and crudely taking this bad ethics and poor democratic norm into the 2015 elections. This blind, and crude ethics on the part of the PDP and President Jonathan which ties the electoral fortunes or misfortunes of the president to the fate of the country is the basis of the increased potential for violence in the 2015 elections.
Who will save the country? Who will call the President to order? Nigeria is bigger than all of us-and that includes president Jonathan and his party.
To avoid this final descent to criminality, illegality, crudity and the violence, which looms ahead, President Jonathan and his handlers must separate his 2015 electoral fortunes or misfortunes from the fate of the country.
Adeolu Ademoyo is of Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. He is also a member of the editorial board of Premium Times.