Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
Political Manipulations, State Of Emergency And Tenure Elongation
October 26, 2006
Right from 2003, when the second term of four year tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo commenced, several attempts have been made to deliberately manipulate the political process and electoral procedure, so as to illegally extend the tenure of office of President Obasanjo. What the 1999 constitution, which is the highest law of the land, and which president Obasanjo and other office holders swore on oath to uphold, maintain and protect at all times. But which the president, who ordinarily should be the chief protector of the law, has flagrantly violated with impunity and immeasurable disdain. There was a very perfidious attempt to manipulate the process and outcome of the government organized National Political Reform Conference (NPRC) to adopt a tenure elongation agenda in a very surreptitious and clandestine manipulative manner that will not be quickly and outrightly decipherable by the prying eyes of the public. However, this scheme fell flat, as it was vehemently opposed by majority of the participants. To even hoodwink the generality of the people, it was said that the conference will all be about, restructuring, reformation and repositioning of the country to enable it actualize its several potentialities, but up till today, the report of the conference is still with government, because, the hidden agenda for its establishment was roundly defeated
As if this is not enough, proceedings moved to the National Assembly, where there was a bare-faced attempt to actually tinker with some provisions of the 1999 constitution, chief of which is the tenure elongation scheme of president. To the greatest chagrin of all, this infamous political agenda was abruptly defeated in the National Assembly as an overwhelming majority of the legislators voted against the move by the president. Again, it is very important to point out that, the president never gives up; he thinks on every issue on the surface of the earth, he must always triumph, so, he puts in place some other ploys to ensure that he achieve his inordinate political ambition. It is to this end that, he has not funded INEC, INEC is not prepared for the 2007 general elections, all the machines for registration exercise are malfunctioning, the registration exercise is not only behind schedule, it is trailed by numerous complains, officials that are to be used for the elections have not been recruited, training have not commenced, and it is therefore not an exaggeration to conclude that INEC is not prepared for the 2007 elections. Since, the president appoints key officers in INEC and also approves its funding; he can easily manipulate the processes there to suit his ambition.
Apart from this, there is also another plan to say that the president did not contest for the 1998 elections under the 1999 constitution, therefore, the president under the present laws in the country has only contested for just one election, that is the 2003 election, hence, he is legible to contest for the 2007 presidential election. What has given vent to this assertion, was the recent proposal by the PDP, to make president Obasanjo the life leader of the party, and for students of history, this is how dictators and despotic regime the world over starts.
There is also plans to use the census results to fan the embers of ethnic discord to cause nationwide political upheaval that would necessitate a situation, where a state of emergency will be declared, the president will then say that, elections cannot be conducted, therefore, he will have remain in office beyond the time that is allowed by the 1999 constitution. However, what the president and his henchmen are up to now, is to create political chaos, stalemate and tension in several states of the federation, declare a state of emergency in several states as possible, thereby illegitimately hanging on to power, beyond the time that is constitutionally allowed. In the history of Nigeria’s political development, state of emergency has been declared only three times, once in the first republic and, twice under Obasanjo’s leadership. In fact, it is important to point out that, under the 1999 constitution, he has no such power to suspend a governor, a State House of Assembly and appoint a sole administrator. This is clearly outside of the laws of land; it is a creation of the whims and caprices of the president which he imposed on the country, in furtherance of his tenure extension manipulation stratagem.
In the case of Ekiti State, law and order have not broken down, and there was no threat to the peace, security and order in Ekiti State. Both the Chief Justice of the federation, and the Attorney General of the federation have said that the procedure for the removal of the governor did not follow the provision of the constitution, in fact, what the state legislators did amounted to a coup’d tat in Ekiti State. I am not saying that a governor who is corrupt should not be removed but, in doing so, the due process and the rule of law must be duly followed and applied. This is the very essence of constitutional democracy, without which democracy will not be democracy, but some other forms of authoritarian regimes. In Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, remains the bona fide and democratically elected governor of the state. If indeed, there was a state of lawlessness or near anarchy in Ekiti State, then a state of emergency ought to have been declared in the Niger Delta a long time ago, with various acts of lawlessness and threat to national security. But this was never done; perhaps this is because the governors in the area are people that the president can count on at critical moments to do his bidding.
Funny enough, in the Ekiti case, it is the same EFCC that said the House of Assembly members are corrupt, that also orchestrated them to impeach the governor on the orders of the president, and with a promise that, if this is done then they would be let off the hook, is this how to fight corruption, or is fighting corruption a smokescreen for feathering the nest of a democratic dictator called Obj? It is also important to mention here that the removal of the governors of Bayelsa and Oyo States were clearly unconstitutional. The impeachments were carried out to calm the frayed nerves of the president, and to show that he has enormous power to do and undo in the political configuration and permutation of the country. To make matters worse, it is the same scenario that is playing out in plateau and Anambra States, the president is the planner, schemer and manipulator of the dangerous political machination, so as to have his own people in place at all cost, so that, they can grant his illegal and infamous tenure elongation requests without recourse to the wishes of the people and the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.
Look at the Plateau State conundrum, the president has also used the EFCC as a repressive political weapon to create political uncertainty and tension in the state; this is a situation where six member of the Plateau State House of Assembly that comprises of 24 members want to impeach a sitting governor. And, in Anambra State, the president is sponsoring groups against them to create social tension to bring about a state of emergency. This unfortunately is what the country has been reduced to, a one-man-rule, this is not democracy, it is babacracy – literarily meaning baba has gone mad , but which is in actual fact, is a government of one-man, for him and his family and by a group of people at the corridors of power. It is in this regard that it has been said that, having abandoned democracy for political repression, our leader are delinked from our people. Operating in a vacuum they proclaim their incarnation of the popular will, hear echoes of their own voices, and reassured, pursue with policies that have nothing to do with the aspirations of our people and which cannot mobilize them. As their alienation from the people increase, they rely more and more on coercion, and become even more alienated. It is clear even from the behaviour of our leaders that most of them have no respect for themselves and do not take themselves seriously. That is why they have converted us into a mimic people. Lacking confidence and self-respect, they cannot develop any sense of efficacy. So even with the best of intentions they are forever confused and perfunctory. More worrying still our leaders suffer from self-contempt, that is why it has no sense of identity and integrity, no confidence, does not know where it is coming from or where it is going, because of personal inordinate political ambition, he placed a high premium on power. He accumulated power by all means, did everything to secure it and to prevent others from getting it. As his rulership continued, politics became Hobbesian; power was pursued by all means and kept by all means and the struggle for power became the overriding concern. Indeed, politics became the only game in town, it was a game played with deadly seriousness for the winners won everything and the losers lost everything. Development does not occur in the framework of a political style which essentially institutionalizes warfare as we presently have in the country, and that is the story of Nigeria under Obasanjo leadership since 1999.
It is however, imperative to underscore the point that, development cannot be achieved by proxy. A people develops itself or not at all. It can develop itself through a strategy of self-reliance that is through the commitment and the energy of the people. That is where democracy comes in. self-reliance is not possible unless the society is thoroughly democratic, unless the people are the end and not just the means of development. Development occurs, in so far as it amounts to the pursuit of objectives set by the people themselves in their interest and by means of their own resources.
© 1999 - 2006 Segun Toyin Dawodu. All rights reserved. All unauthorized copying or adaptation of any content of this site will be liable to legal recourse.
Segun Toyin Dawodu, P. O. BOX 710080, HERNDON, VA 20171-0080, USA.
This page was last updated on 10/27/07.