• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Akpabio and the death of humanity in Nigeria

Akpabio’s 10th Senate breaks tradition, operates without legislative agenda

Nigeria’s political temperature this period is hot. No thanks to some bizarre occurrences that have unsettled the peace of many citizens. From the wrong foot put forward in Isiokpo, Rivers State, by the Senate President himself, to the unsolicited sermon delivered by the immediate past president of Nigeria, to the budget-padding allegation leading to the suspension of the man that alleged, to the acrimonious ambition of the Edo Deputy Governor, and the “hermaphrodite” nature of the immediate past governor of Rivers State that is threatening the seat of his successor. Please, do have a pleasant voyage into the womb of the stories:

Sofri, sofri dear Senate

The case of Nigeria’s 10th National Assembly has become almost like that of Satan that whatever allegation that is levelled against it is likely to be believed.

When a man does things that are unbelievably wrong, he accuses Satan of being behind it and people believe him.

The suspension on the floor of the Senate Tuesday of Abdul Ningi over his allegation of budget-padding may not be true, but a greater number of Nigerians believed him.

For them, his suspension was a mere face-saving attempt by the leadership of the upper legislative chamber to hush him down.

In the eyes of many Nigerians, the current Senate- right from the manner through which its leadership emerged, the perception of being a mere rubber stamp in the hand of the Executive arm, its penchant for living in excessive comfort while those it is representing are languishing in abject poverty, and to its near insensitivity to the times we are in- has carried out as an integrity-deficient lawmaking institution.

So, Ningi’s suspension, for many, has only gone to worsen the Senate’s rating. In fact, what is the concern of many Nigerians is the belief that there are lots of other acts of malfeasance going on in that chamber that are not in the public domain, but highly detrimental to the economy.

Since its inception in June last year, the 10th Senate has spent more of its time defending itself from serious allegations of having an itchy finger than it has done explaining its good works and how it has, through legislation, helped to settle the legion of challenges the country is facing.

It would seem that the raison d’etre of the 10th Senate is just to protect their stomach.

This is highly unfortunate and unacceptable, and the occupants of the Red Chamber must know this. So, sofri, sofri our distinguished senators!

Akpabio and the death of humanity in Nigeria

For 14 years (2010 till date), bandits and all manner of terrorists have turned Nigeria into a killing field. Apart from abductions, in which many of the victims are yet to be accounted for up till now, there have been massacres, even inside churches, mosques and other worship centres.

We have heard about over 100 people killed in one fell swoop in places like Benue, Plateau, and other places. We have heard about families completely wiped out by rampaging invaders. The government’s response to each of these absurdities has always been a momentary hiss and empty threats.

Read also: Ningi saga: Akpabio constituency allocated N90bn by agric ministry

So, those in government have so much seen deaths, corpses, and mass burials that they have developed thick skin and deadened their senses to such things. Godswill Akpabio, president of the Nigerian Senate, has been in government since 1999, and has seen, read about heart-wrenching killings and mass burials, to the point that the part of his being that empathises may have lost its sensitivity.

Witnessing the mass burial of over 90 people – victims of a horrific massacre – Senator Akpabio then proceeded to a church service. There, only three well-decorated caskets were present. This jarring contrast – from a field of death to an opulent display – seemed to have no effect on him. Perhaps he saw the gleaming caskets as mere decorations, or even furniture. Maybe he mistook the sombre gathering for a celebratory event. This disconnect between his behaviour and the gravity of the situation is deeply concerning.

Since 1999, he has been used to attending A-rated events. So, he may have forgotten that the event on that fateful day at Isiokpo, Rivers State was a different kind of event. It was supposed to be a solemn assembly where everybody’s eyeball should be red like a hot charcoal, showing evidence of long weeping, lamentation and gnashing of teeth. Ideally, no tooth was supposed to be shown as to create any impression of mirth or smile, let alone laughter.

But, for a leader of a nation’s National Assembly, to whom the gale of killings and abductions in the country had no meaning, to decide to vulgarise the sanctity and sacredness of the Church and solemness of a funeral service, by turning the environment into a circus and totally forgetting the essence of the gathering, was simply unfortunate. Was he pulling a stunt to make the grieving crowd forget their sorrow for a moment? If that was the thrust, it was absurd and badly delivered!

This thing called politics: Philip Shaibu on my mind

There is nothing wrong with anyone nursing an ambition, but there are fatal ambitions. Many people have destroyed themselves as a result of ambitions that went awry. Politicians aspire to be anything and to control the commonwealth of the people, even though they trumpet service as the driving force.

Ambrose Bierce (‪1842-1914‬), an American writer, said: “Politics is a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles; the conduct of public affairs for private advantage.”

Every politician has a trailer-load of promises for the people during the electioneering campaign. They promise to outperform those currently in power. But experience in Nigeria has shown that all politicians are largely the same.

Perhaps, William Penn (Adair) Rogers, 40th President of the United States, had the Nigerian brand of politicians in mind when he said: “The more you read and observe about this politics thing, the more you’ve got to admit that each party is worse than the other. The one that’s out always looks the best.”

Philip Shaibu, current deputy governor of Edo State, is highly embattled. His journey has to do with his ambition to succeed his principal, Godwin Obaseki.

Shaibu has been in active politics since 2007 when he won an election into the state House of Assembly. He also won the Etsako Federal Constituency House of Representatives seat, and was in 2016 nominated to contest election alongside Obaseki as the deputy. He is in the second term of that joint ticket, and the idea dropped in his mind that he too, can govern Edo, not just being “a spare tyre.”

His ambition, however, is said to run counter to the unwritten charter of equity that Obaseki signed with the people of Edo Central when they desperately needed the votes of the senatorial district. Now, when Shaibu’s ambition became a public notice, he was said to have been reminded of the promise they made, on the plank of which they won elections back-to-back in 2016 and 2020.

Ahead of the off-season gubernatorial election in the state on September 21, 2024, the relationship between him and his boss seems to have broken down over his ambition.

In the last few months before the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) primary in the state, the deputy governor had expressed the optimism that he was going to fly the flag of the party. But when the push became shove, as people say, he broke ranks and unilaterally organised a primary, where he was crowned the winner.

His insistence that he was the authentic candidate of the party for the September election has not received the nod of the party apparatchik in Abuja. He has since gone to court, praying the judges to use their legal binoculars to torchlight the party and its anointed candidate, Asue Ighodalo.

Not wanting to tolerate him any longer in Edo Government House, an impeachment proceeding was initiated against him a few days ago, by the state House of Assembly, in a manner that suggests the saying that, “you can’t stay inside the house and continue to foul the air.” In politics, “there is neither permanent friend nor permanent enemy, but permanent interest.” That is the way of politicians!

Buhari’s sermon on ‘Mount Daura’

One of the greatest challenges Nigeria is facing today is the preponderance of emergency preachers and imams, who have turned shops, factories, and residential buildings into prayer and worship centres. Those who have no ministries of their own decided to be itinerant. Everywhere one turns in Nigeria, one hears, “Thus says the Lord,” when the Almighty One has indeed said nothing.

The immediate past President, Muhammadu Buhari, may have joined the ubiquitous itinerant preachers, which qualified him to give a sermon on the Mount of Daura, Katsina State, last Sunday.

Truth be told, in matters of speaking the mind of God, not many Nigerians would be willing to hear it from the very mouth of Buhari. The reasons are obvious and numerous.

What was his sermon, anyway? That President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has done fantastically well; that Nigeria was a complex and tough country to govern; that there is actually not much anybody can do to help the country; and that… wait for it… Nigerians must endure the economic hardship!

Buhari, who ran the country aground in eight years, under whose tenure Nigerians were slaughtered mercilessly in a low-grade war he tolerated, still has the conscience to talk.

If Nigeria were a country where leaders have the political will to do anything, the Daura man would have long been behind bars as a result of the high level of economic haemorrhage he supervised.

On several occasions, those who succeeded him have openly said they inherited a totally messed-up economy, yet they lack the balls to invite him to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against him.

He had warned Tinubu, even before the inauguration, that nobody should invite him for any investigation. This is why the Federal Government is only running rings around lesser mortals who served with Buhari.

What is being uttered in hushed tones even in the corridors of power in Abuja is that “Buhari is our nemesis,” but they lack the courage to send the DSS after him.

Today, Buhari is having his long laugh in his village because he told Nigerians that they would remember him when they began to taste real suffering.

And many people were warning Tinubu during the campaigns to stop prophesying doom when he was saying, ‘I will continue where President Muhammadu Buhari will stop.” Can you imagine these preachers?

Wike as the only political ‘hermaphrodite’ in Nigeria

Politicians are of different grades. There are those who, by their astuteness, determine the “life and death” of their political associations. Nyesom Wike, current minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), is in this group.

Despite the huge liability Wike has become to the PDP, the party does not have the power to delist his name from the membership register.

Since he fell out with the leadership of the party over the acceptance of Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate for the 2023 general election, Wike has used all the arsenals at his disposal to fight the umbrella association.

Not only did he divide the party by pulling away some governors who should have contributed immensely to the party’s success, he also openly worked for the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).

Although he today works in an APC government, the national leadership of the PDP still sees him as a loyal member of the party.

Wike is the only politician in Nigeria today who openly flaunts himself as “all weather.” He parleys at the highest level of the ruling party and also the main opposition party.

He can safely be described as a political ‘hermaphrodite,’ whereas hermaphrodite is “an organism having both male and female genitals or other sexual characteristics, either abnormally or as a natural condition.”

Wike claims to be in the PDP at the national level, but all his loyalists in his home state, Rivers, have decamped and emptied themselves into the APC. He is perfectly in charge of the APC in the state, having dismantled the structures of both Chibuike Amaechi and Magnus Abe, erstwhile leaders of the APC.

Wike is still officially in the PDP, but he is seen to be running the APC in his home state using allies led by Tony Okocha after the Amaechi-controlled state executive council (exco) was dissolved when Bola Ahmed Tinubu took over as Nigeria’s President.

How healthy is this type of politics for the overall development of Nigeria? Your guess is as good as mine.