By Emmanuel Aziken
After the mace snatching scandal involving one of his closest supporters, it was supposed that President Muhammadu Buhari would have sufficiently seen how political mercenaries pushing his cause could destroy his legacy.
However, it seems he has not.
If the mace-snatching incident was considered as an aberration to be buried in the consciousness of Nigerians, the Tuesday siege on the homes of Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu would indicate a pattern that should worry every genuine stakeholder in the country’s democratic enterprise.
Ahead of the March 2015 presidential election, Buhari as candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, had intoned that the fall of the Berlin Wall and the tidal changes it ushered were the catalysts that prompted his conversion to a lover of democracy.
Indeed, he followed up the assurances with his declaration at the Chatham House lecture of February, 2015, that if elected president that the world would not have to worry about Nigeria and its democracy.
However, the events of last Tuesday and tangential incidents, are now making the world to worry about Nigeria and its democracy.
It is not as if the siege of last Tuesday was the first time that the executive branch of government would be accused of playing rough games with the legislative branch since the advent of the Fourth Republic.
The examples of lawlessness are profuse: serial attempts by proxies of President Olusegun Obasanjo to change the leadership of the National Assembly, the persecution of Senator Iyabo Obasanjo by the Umaru Yar’Adua administration, the insolence that accompanied the sleaze of some women under the Goodluck Jonathan administration showed that all presidents of the Fourth Republic had their respective faults in dealing with the National Assembly.
However, none went as far as the brutish attacks on the sovereignty of the National Assembly as have been witnessed under the present dispensation.
The concomitant siege on the homes of the two presiding officers of the Senate, if anything, put in doubt the reverence which presidency officials respect the institution of the legislature.
The administration was quick to put Senators Saraki and Ekweremadu to trial for alleged forgery, a charge that was subsequently withdrawn when superior counsel within the administration reasoned that the charge could not be sustained.
The administration has repeatedly hired Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs albeit at great cost to the treasury, to prosecute cases involving its political adversaries such as Saraki, Ekweremadu and Senator Dino Melaye? How much the government has expended on paying the senior lawyers if brought to light would surely marvel.
However, the same administration has been mute on the reported cases of forgery by two of its very prominent officials.
The gist in town as at yesterday was that the president was kept in the dark during the operation directed at Saraki and Ekweremadu homes. If true, the president should sincerely see it as a conspiracy within his inner-circle to permanently destroy the most touted legacy of his life; to wit, the integrity that endeared him to many Nigerians.
Those acting in Buhari’s name to destroy the traditions of democracy would in the event of any eventuality forge ahead in their wheeling and dealing with the new masters. However, it is Buhari’s name that would be left behind in the records as the man who violated our democracy.
It is especially touching given the reverence Buhari had won over many Western democrats as a genuine convert to democracy.
As the country passes through these perilous times, Nigerians owe it an obligation to pray and prompt every political actor to be restrained in order not to throw away the democracy that was bought by the sweat of genuine compatriots.
Last Tuesday’s siege to the homes of the presiding officers of the Senate inevitably showed how brawn instead of brain has stifled Nigeria’s development. That was seen in the faux pas in the letter of invitation sent out by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to Ekweremadu.
The letter dated July 24, 2018 asked him to report at the EFCC office by 8.00 a.m. of July 24 and was apparently delivered to him well past 8.00 a.m. of that day!