Which eleven Nigerians made the idea of law and order in Nigeria look really bad in the month of June and July? If Nigeria were a soccer team playing to score on the side of law and order, Which 11 personalities made the first team of the opposing side playing against Nigerians right from inside Nigeria? Governor Nyesom Wike, Senator Bukola Saraki and Madam Ngozi Okonjo Iweala are on it. Ben Murray Bruce and Rauf Aregbesola did too. Find out who else made the anti-Nigeria team for June/July as LawNigeria.com kick-starts the first edition of what promises to be a monthly event. Compiled by Sam Eleanya.
- GOVERNOR RAUF AREGBESOLA OF OSUN STATE
There is no denying his place on this team. Governor Rauf Aregbesola was the big bad wolf for the month of June who thoroughly made Nigeria’s labour laws, workers’ rights, and the fight against corruption look really bad. How bad? So bad, a mother who happened to be A High Court judge felt sufficiently outraged as to do the unprecedented: risk her entire judicial career to formally demand, in writing, the impeachment of the Governor by the Osun State House of Assembly. Aregbe was so naughty he made one of President Buhari’s emotive campaign promises –A Meal A day for School Children across Nigeria– suddenly look like a poisoned chalice. Which child honestly wants to eat a mass produced food at the expense of his or her parents’ 6 months salary which provides not just customised and hot mama-made meals but all the other issues of life that no State can deliver? When Lebanese, Chinese and other Nigerian companies refuse to pay their workers for a few months – or pay them and use them like slaves subsequently, they have a patron saint to point to as inspiration. To Governor Rauf Aregbesola, the icon of all the other shameless State Governors who owe their workers does that dubious incense rise to. In the first 2 months of the Change Administration, Governor Rauf was the outside left attacker for the team against law and order in Nigeria.
- THE DOGARA-LED HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Jay-Jay Okocha, that unforgettable No. 10 wearing midfield maestro of the Nigerian Super Eagles earned his fame and wealth dribbling and making a fool out of his opponents on behalf of over 150 million Nigerians. In June and July, 2015 the Yakubu Dogara led House of Representatives did the exact opposite: making dummies out of their country men and women. While their senior brothers in the Senate were shamelessly forging their Standing Order in front of watching children and conducting sham elections, the lower House went to the motor-park and Zambiza forest for the sort of conflict-resolution method they considered fit for the global television audience: a free for all fight. Indeed, if one-thousandth of the 150 million plus people the House represents, or even just the children in Nigeria embraces seriously the bare-knuckle approach to problem solving displayed by the House for just one day, Nigeria would cease to exist as a sovereign nation. In June, 2015, the House of Representatives for the umpteenth time utterly made Nigeria’s Constitution, laws of the Federation and the Courts of the land look ridiculously bad. They have even sought to redefine Nigeria as a federation made up of 6 geopolitical zones instead of States –as spelt out by the Constitution. Only Boko Haram, which is not even on this team, did more harm to the sensibilities of decent people in Nigeria during the same period.
- NNPC THE TOP SCORER
Which personality – corporate or individual – was the run-away top-scorer against the idea of Nigeria as a nation under God with a legal complex – or something close to that? Which personality could bring the nation to its nations and was revealed in under one month to have spent the last few years doing just that in so many permutations? Which institution of a few thousands of persons gives to the whole nation of over 150million citizens as much as it gorges on its unbudgeted fancies? Which institution flaunts its never-changing but humongous losses so colourfully but hides its income status like the Bermuda Triangle? Which institution is the synonym of corruption in Nigeria? Which personality is likely to be in this team for a long time to come just based on its past sins except something really miraculous happens? Something like making the Nigeria a fuel exporting nation come October 1st, 2015? Hope springs eternal.
- CLERK OF THE SENATE – SALISU MAIKASUWA
For the past 16 years of return to democratic rule, the Nigeria Senate has not been known for using neither its mace or gavel to really strike for Nigerians and give them a whoop of joy. Regardless, at least, the chambers have always managed to stay open for its notorious business as usual. That was until Salisu Maikasuwa, the current Clerk of the Senate became entrusted with the simple matter of bringing together about 100 Senators who were all in the city of Abuja into a hall for a very simple election with established rules.
All Clerk Maikasuwa needed to do was just to keep in mind that regardless of the inability of many Senators to behave as such, that each of them legally represents millions of real Nigerians as well as actual geopolitical entities known as federating units or States of Nigeria. A reminder that would have prompted the civil servant to realise that no single Senator could be kept out of the very first meeting of the Senate where their principal officers would be elected except a Court, doctor, death or the Senator’s provable negligence decreed as such. Which would have just reduced his whole task to simple logistic duties – joined to a little boldness or winsomeness in fending off illegitimate pressure (and some say juju) of Bukola Saraki and his PDP supporters. Quick run-off of copies of Notice of First ‘Extra-Ordinary’ Meeting of the Senate to already designated offices of each Senator; emails, mobile text message or bulk sms to their numbers and those of their aides; an emergency call center made up of, say, 5 staff of the National Assembly with each detailed to bring in 20 Senators into that first meeting ASAP. In fact, Just enough and a little above standard CYA as to make any Senator who eventually missed out look terribly bad. Sadly, Mr. Maikasuwa did not just fail or neglect to bring in those equal shareholders into the room as he ought to, Nigerians are now learning he also neglected (or allegedly connived) in ensuring that established rules of engagement of the Senate which could still have saved the day were ignored. His 15 minutes of fame squandered, the result is that the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is still unable to do any business 2 months later. Worse, the Clerk might soon be facing charges for the forgery of the Standing Orders of the Senate which enabled his negligent behaviour to bear the toxic fruit currently strangulating business in the Nigerian senate and to some extent the Presidency. Clerk Maikasuwa played the supporting striker’s role well– and a goal was scored against Nigeria.
- SENATOR BEN MURRAY BRUCE
Like Finidi George, Nigeria’s ex-international and globally acclaimed lord of the right-wing of any football pitch, Ben Murray Bruce can be electric in pace and common sense moves. But, he can be swashbuckling and twitter-happy as Osaze Odewingie, the touch-and-go heir to the throne of Finidi. Like the latter, he is also proving adept at courting trouble with his twitter-itch.
Can someone make a charitable gesture become not just controversial but inimical to the spirit and text of the idea of law and order? Yes. Ben the Murray Trump, sorry, Bruce can. Confronted with the gross emergency of about 23 of Nigeria’s 36 States owing their workers arrears of salary, the newly minted Senator representing Bayelsa decided to jump into the fray from the backyard of Osun State. Did he embark on a hunger strike till all the workers were paid? No. Did he ask Senator Ike Ekweremadu of the minority PDP to vacate his illegitimate occupation of the office of the Deputy President of the Senate to resolve the shameful leadership tussle in the chamber and open it for business so that kind Ben can present a common sense bill to tackle the salary issue sustainably? No. Did he demand that some of his colleagues –starting from Theodore Orji of Abia State- who as Governors grossly stole/mismanaged their States finances into bankruptcy forfeit their entire 4 years’ remuneration in advance for the benefit of their impecunious States? Or at least resign? No. And No. Did he dip his hands into his significant personal wealth –as a widows mite – to bail out one of the States with smallest monthly wage bill for one month? Like Osun? No, to even that. Rather, Big Ben offered to ‘misappropriate’ the one thing he did not and would never need – the incredulous sum allocated to each Senator in Nigeria for their wardrobe – as a charitable donation to the Government of Osun State which was in arrears for over 6 months. Literally a polluted drop into the Atlantic. It was an insult to the idea of right to dignity of any person. It was a desecration of the ancient right of a worker to a decent earned wage from his or her employer (which Bruce wasn’t) which is protected by several international and national statutes binding on Nigeria.
- GOVERNOR NYESOM WIKE
Very few persons have worn the No. 6 jersey and put in the confident shift that a certain stocky Chidi Nwanu once did in the heart of the Super Eagles defence – upholding the global stature and good name of Nigeria as a sovereign nation. In June and July, 2015, muscular Governor Nyesom Wike did even better but for a team against all that Chidi Nwanu sweated and bled for. Nigerians voted for and inaugurated ‘Change’ on May 29, 2015 to return Nigeria as a nation where law and order instead of impunity prevails. In the first two months after the historic inauguration, Governor Wike has with dedication, passion and undeniable strategy set up himself as the indisputable champion against the Change Nigerians asserted with their votes. Looking at him within the period, the idea of the judiciary or its processes should be totally ignored in Nigeria. Do you think somebody has a property you believe belongs to you? Break down his or her gate and take it away with cameras clicking. Has the Supreme Court made a clear and unambiguous order? Overrule its effect and create your own reality with cameras rolling. That includes, by the way, making an ex-Governor with full entitlements out of a person the Supreme Court unambiguously declared a stranger to the Office. Do you have a certain irritation of a court case challenging your costly ascendancy to Governorship of the largest economy in Nigeria’s Niger Delta? Go directly to the office of the Chief Justice Office as many times as possible to stampede him and cast just enough slur on his integrity to put the poor soul in self-imposed imprisonment for the rest of his tenure. It is Wike’s legacy so far in Nigeria – as Governor: he makes the Chief Justice of Nigeria tremble – doing all the wrong things. And he may have his sights on higher grounds yet.
- SENATOR BURUJI KASHAMU
Is it possible to effectively resist arrest from gun-wielding operatives of the dreaded Economic and Financial Crimes Commission – for more than 48 hours? Yes if you are suicidal and knows how to communicate that clearly from your toilet like Mr. Buruji Kashamu who now sits in Nigeria’s comatose apex law making body waiting to make laws that we hope he hopes others would obey. Without rehashing what was a sordid media-led show of shame orchestrated by the EFCC and conveniently milked by Kashamu, it suffices to say that the episode was a terrible advertisement of what a key part of law enforcement – arrest – should not be. It was also the lowest low that a prospective member of the Nigerian Senate was happy to identify with as his herald into the chamber. If every Nigerian with far better case than Kashamu’s resisted arrest the way Buruji did, there would be no Nigeria to grant him a seat in its legislature. If every Nigerian borrowed a leaf from Kashamu, his job as a law maker would disappear automatically. Failed nations don’t do ‘Senate’
- THE DIRECTORATE OF STATE SECURITY, DSS
It all began with the elections which left Nigerians wondering: what has bewitched the entire corps of the leadership of what was supposedly Nigeria’s prime security operatives? The gross spectre of Marylyn Ogar, DSS former Spokesperson doing a power point presentation –and doing it so poorly with cameras rolling – to prove what she could not prove for the electoral benefit of the PDP and to the intended detriment of one of PDP’s political rivals, APC, is still the stuff of nightmares. Fast-forward to June 2014 and it was bedlam in Aso Rock as the DSS having made itself the perceived Boys Scout of the PDP, found its legal designation as the protector of Nigeria’s President and his primary base, Aso Rock, understandably untenable when the PDP lost and the APC won.
The outcome was an almost daily media report of in-fighting within the security framework around the new President at a time when terrorists in the backyard would have loved to score high Richter-scale points. We heard of the unprecedented sidelining of the DSS from its traditional duties. We heard of reversal of that banishment– some say, at the cost of the job of one of the President’s new security aide. Then we heard of a retiree being dusted up to go walk the DSS a few paces backwards to rediscover itself. The DSS which ought to be in the background, effective but anonymous had become a media nuisance: a bad reality show. In the DSS misadventure, we saw again the ill effect of weak-minded or corrupt leadership of critical security institutions and why no nation can afford that.
- SENATOR BUKOLA SARAKI
Democratic Leadership 101 according to Nigeria’s incumbent Senate President seems to read thus. “Just grab the position by any means and hang onto it. Legitimacy is quite frankly nothing. Deliverables is a myth”. Literally, the kind of moral you do not want teenagers or inquisitive children to be exposed to. Once of the People Democratic Party, PDP, Saraki left the party and joined the bandwagon of the All Progressives Congress, APC ostensibly on the ground that the PDP had stifled democratic practises in favour of the former President and his closest associates. Having helped to topple the platform he abandoned, Saraki seems set on helping to ship-wreck the new craft he joined. And while at it, all the established parliamentary conventions of this nation and other democracies. Thanks to Saraki, for the first time in Nigeria’s history, the Senate elected its principal officers with the majority of elected Senators from the majority party missing. Thanks to Saraki, for the first time ever in this nation’s history, the Senate’s Standing Order had to be brazenly forged to enable the realisation of one man’s ambition. And thanks to Saraki, for the first time ever, the Senate chamber is accumulating rodents and cobwebs two months after its proclamation into existence. It is a scandal. Requiring a reset button.
- NGOZI OKONJO IWEALA
She is by a distance, one of the longest serving unelected members of the Nigerian presidency since the return of democratic governance in 1999. As an economic manager, certainly nobody in Nigeria’s entire history has been afforded more cumulative years, more resources, more goodwill and latitude and of course, greater sounding title than the immediate past Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance of Nigeria, Dr. Okonjo Iweala. Her payback? In her last month in office, the multi-trillion economy she managed crashed and came to a halt physically, bereft of fuel which raw material her nation exports. In June, Nigerians were treated to more sordid revelation of Madam Iweala’s seeming disregard for legally prescribed prudential and fiscal regulations to the point of dizziness. We learnt that about half of the revenue due to the economy she coordinated – several trillions of Naira – were never remitted by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. We learnt that revenues from a certain Liquefied National Gas, LNG has remained off the books of the same economy for God knows how long. We learnt that she was withdrawing money at the directive of the President regardless of the proper procedure for doing same. Nigerians even learnt that while the nation went broke, their beloved Minister was busy gifting large sum freebies in the name of import waivers to cronies of the administration she served. In July, Nigerians came face to face to the gross financial mismanagement across Nigeria Governors took delight declaring bankruptcy inspired no doubt by the nature of ethical leadership –on the economic front – that Ngozi either affirmed or condoned with her acts and omissions in office.
- PEOPLES’ DEMOCRATIC PARTY
Sixteen years into the sixty years that diviners of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP had decreed for the umbrella dynasty, Nigerians revolted and ejected the PDP as the directing minds of the nation’s policy platforms especially at the Presidency and National Assembly.
In PDP’s place, Nigerians voted ‘Change’. The only problem is that observing the political party ever since, the rebuke they received at the polls seems not to have been taken heart. Instead of cultivating the pleasure of the People by positioning to show that it is prepared to evolve from the disaster it has been into a respectable platform that can do better than the incumbent platform, PDP’s tack seems to be the frustration of the People and the Change they elected to save their nation and cliff-hanging destiny. “We must do what we must do, using propaganda and blackmail. When you don’t blackmail when you are in the opposition, you are wasting your time. Marry the media as quickly as possible and do the needful when it needs to be done”, was how PDP stalwart and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha explained it during an ‘orientation’ retreat for the members of the party who managed to still get elected in the worst election season of the PDP as a political party.
True to his words, members of the PDP seem to be having a blast doing just that. One big stunt suffices to secure PDP in the 18 yard box as the goalkeeper of the team frustrating Nigeria as a sovereign nation from scoring on the side of law and order. It is this: while Nigerians idea of ‘change’ included a vibrant National Assembly to complement the President’s effort towards redeeming the wasted years of yore, the PDP in cahoots with some members of the ruling APC has orchestrated a two months shut down of both the Senate and House of Representatives from doing any business at all in Nigeria’s favour. The atmosphere in the Chambers is so toxic that only an irresponsible person can introduce any business in it, at all, in the next few months. That’s PDP pathway to reclaiming the Presidency. Brilliant?
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