By Emmanuel Aziken
It was a week that the country’s democracy got to the cliff. And it was pulled back forcing the narrative of lawlessness that had cast an evil spectre over the polity to beat a retreat. Perhaps for a season, but hopefully never to return.
Imagine that the senators and members of the House of Representatives who came to the National Assembly complex were not at the gates of the National Assembly early last Tuesday to stop the 35 or so senators who desired to illegally remove the presiding officers. Perhaps the narrative would have changed.
The move to remove Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate President and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu from office had obviously been well articulated.
Unbeknown to many, lobbyists had been recruited and had that morning gone on air through various media trying to give a warped interpretation of the constitution concerning the constitutional provisions on the removal of the presiding officers. As one of them said that Tuesday morning, a new interpretation of Section 50(2)(c) meant that not 73 senators, but just two-thirds of those available in a sitting was what was required to remove the Senate President.
It was as such apt that to achieve their purpose, that the majority of senators who would have supported Saraki should be locked out and the All Progressives Congress, APC senators would have in their prejudiced wisdom removed the Senate President.
The setting for the attempted coup was provided by the hooded operatives of the Department of State Security, DSS who took over the gates of the National Assembly apparently to allow only agreeable APC senators to enter. Or just as they did two weeks earlier, to prevent Saraki, Ekweremadu and their loyalists from gaining entrance while their heads were shaved in their absence by the APC senators.
It was perhaps a descent to anarchy that got a fitting response from Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and caused the dismissal of Lawal Daura from his position as director-general of the DSS.
Given Daura’s position as a permanent member of the famed cabal, it is understood that his dismissal would in time change the narrative of impunity and disregard that consumed the change agenda that ushered Muhammadu Buhari to power four years ago.
Imagine that the coup succeeded and how it could have cascaded. It is now reasonably believed that the new Senate President would have been Senator Godswill Akpabio who had last Saturday, August 4, resigned his position as Senate Minority Leader.
After his election as Senate President, Akpabio would have then gone home on Wednesday to make his public declaration for the APC.
Coming home as Senate President, Akpabio would have had a bounce that could have inevitably led to a political meltdown in Akwa Ibom State. Had the plot succeeded, perhaps a reasonable proportion of the members of the State House of Assembly would have gone with Akpabio being politicians who like to go with the bandwagon. The next agenda would have been the impeachment of Governor Udom Emmanuel.
It could well have been crunch time as Akpabio, the onetime PDP stalwart would have eviscerated his legacy in the state.
As it is, the jury is still out there on how Akpabio, until lately the PDP’s number two man came under the radar of the APC. Assertions of lack of respect by his successor, Udom Emmanuel, have been thrown away given the way the incumbent had genuflected before Akpabio. What has been most prominent among the reasons given for the uncommon defection is the alleged threat of prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Many have on account of this taunted Akpabio as a man without balls. But such assertions do not tell the whole answer. One very insightful comment on the Akpabio defection was made by former PDP spokesman, Chief Olisa Metuh who while not defending his former party man, observed that it is a very lonely road when the authorities come against you.
It was as such telling given the enthusiasm with which his wife, Ekaette Akpabio gushed last Wednesday as her husband renounced his uncommonness for the common path! After all, she knows best where her man hurts!