On Wednesday, opposition senators walked out of the plenary session of the Nigerian Senate in defiance of the Senate President’s underhanded attempts to muscle the senators into silence, and ensure that discussions on the senate floor on the security situation in Nigeria was not scheduled.
Oddly, Mr. Lawan, President of the 9th Senate of the Republic has often seen himself mostly as a “strong party man,” and as such has acted mostly as a servile extension of the Presidency.
Thus incubated in the strange political petri dish of the governing APC to ensure regime protection rather than good governance, the President of this Senate has never raised the gavel on behalf of the people of Nigeria, nor seen his role as a defender of the Nigerian republic. Last Wednesday, he attempted again to steer the debate away from the failures of the president, particularly this president’s inability to provide the required kind of leadership that could guarantee the security of Nigerians.
Lawan rather deployed obfuscation. Butthe opposition senators had enough of him, and so off they went in a drove. Speaking on behalf of the senators after the walk-out, the Senate’s minority caucus leader, Mr. Phillip Aduda gave notice that senators would commence impeachment proceedings against President Buhari if the administration failed to reel-in the evolving, dire security situation in Nigeria in six weeks.
Millions of Nigerians said, yes, it is about time! Of course, it is about time. More cynical ones, particularly regime-lap dogs, hinted at some unsavory intention behind the minority caucus’ threat to activate impeachment rules and proceedings. Of the pro-government reactions, the most egregious was by the President’s phalanx of Chichidodos: Femi Adesina, the President’s Chief Press Secretary; Garba Shehu the President’s Senior Public Affairs Advisor, and the Minister for Information (cynical Nigerians now even call him the “Minister for Disinformation”), Mr. Lai Mohammed. Not surprising. But of the most egregious of these, Mr. Femi Adesina took the cake.
The office of the Chief Press Secretary to the President was never designed to be Buffoon-in-chief to the President. It is to be the clearing house for Presidential thought and reason.
There is a certain elegance of mind and presence expected of the occupant of that office. The jury is still out on Mr. Adesina, but he is now easily the most infuriating voice of this administration spewing out very idiotic and indefensible statement on behalf of this government.
Take for instance his responses on Wednesday on Channels TV on the moves by the senators and the threat to impeach Mr. Buhari if within six weeks he fails to get in front of the rising insecurity in Nigeria.
He called the threat by the senator merely, “bravado.” He showed very little concern, or even remorse for the situation in Nigeria, or for the possibility of misleading the Nigerian public on the operations of the Buhari presidency.
He in fact went so far as to call those joining the public protests organized by the Nigerian Labour Congress against the frustrating closure of the universities and the associated national economic and security situation, “anarchists.” It is doubtful to me that Mr. Adesina knows anything about whatever he is talking about.
He knows pretty little, it seems to me for instance, about Anarchism as a political movement, particularly its utopian values; but even within the context of its pejorative use, the president’s Chief Press Secretary’s description of those, including a “very senior lawyer” whom he kept nameless, who exercise their democratic rights to protest misgovernance in the land, as possibly lawless and unpatriotic is as inelegant as it is degrading.
In Mr. Adesina’s rather essentialist world, those who disagree and criticize the President, and demand good, solid governance are “haters,” and are “wailers.” They could as well choke on their bile for wanting more than Mr. Buhari is capable of giving.
This crass, very subversive division of Nigerians into the binary “we” versus “them” category is probably at the roots of the crisis of this administration.
This is in the very sense that the president has around him mendicants and yes-men who shield him from the truth and from the hard reality on the ground in Nigeria.
It is evident that when Mr. Buhari talks to Nigerians on burning national issues, on those very rare occasions when he condescends to talk, he seems not always clued-in. He talks at cross-purposes like a man who is permanently domiciled in La-la land.
This is clearly because he is not in charge. Folks around him, like Adesina, more interested in the perks of his office and the security and comfort of his personal life inside the barricades of the Aso Rock Villa, do not care to tell the president the hard truth, which is that Nigeria is actually burning, and that the ground beneath this president’s very feet is shifting very dangerously.
The president’s men keep the president on the feeding bottle of whatever ambrosia helps him sleep at night and stay on Cloud 9 permanently. Those who have tried to wake this president up from his illusions have been declared “wailers” and “anarchists.” It reflects the tendency for intolerance of the views of a very wide swathe of Nigerians who do not fit into the president’s program. This is a very large number of Nigerians to ignore.
But the very subsisting question which Mr. Adesina failed woefully to address in the Channels interview was one which sought pointedly to know, ten months to the expiration of this administration’s legitimate life, which three of Mr. Buhari’s cardinal promises on security, corruption, and the economy, would Mr. Adesina conclusively say the president had achieved or fulfilled.
He of course, not only flubbed the question, he trailed off into irrelevancies and inanities. It was difficult to watch that interview. I personally felt sick to my stomach, and I’m sure many Nigerians who watched the bloviations of Mr. Femi Adesina felt the same unease in the pits of their stomach.
It is the kind of feeling that comes from fear and frustration. Fear that even Mr. Adesina, busy playing court jester, has no real idea about what games and intrigues are playing out right beneath his eyes.
There is something about a dog and his master. A guard dog often thinks he is in charge. But to distract the dog, the plotter of intrigue throws a bone into the courtyard, and lets the dog gnaw blissfully at it.Possibly, Mr. Adesina has been gnawing blissfully at bones while the plot thickens to cede Nigeria to terrorists.
In the same vein, President Buhari either pretends not to know, or he really is in la-la land, even as terrorists have begun to systematically take command of the nation from him.
In the last month alone, Abuja has witnessed very brazen attacks by gunmen believed to be ISWAP fighters who have begun to threaten Nigeria’s seat of power. They have attacked the Kuje prisons.
They ambushed, and killed men of the Brigade of Guards. This is Nigeria’s elite force, the last defenders of the Capital of the federation and the President of the federation. The attack on the soldiers of the Guard is much more than a direct symbolic statement. It is an act of dare. These terrorists are making a claim to invincibility and are doing a test run. They have even publicly boasted that they will kidnap the President of Nigeria and the governor of Kaduna State.
The trouble is that president Buhari did not even know, a full day after the threat, that there was a bounty on his head until he was told by governor El-Rufai. To add color to the whole idiocy, Mr. Buhari had flown to Monrovia to talk about Security, of which Nigeria had none. The build up towards Abuja continues indeed. Before our very eyes, these non-state actors attacked the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna, and killed cadets and soldiers; they attacked the Airport in Kaduna and held it hostage for hours; they attacked a Nigerian train going to Abuja and have held the passengers hostage since march.
They have shot up and killed worshippers at a Catholic church in Owo. They have kidnapped and in many instances murdered Christian clerics.
When they first attacked the Federal prisons in Owerri and freed its inmates and attacked police stations killing policemen, the Buhari government very characteristically covered it up by blaming IPOB and “Unknown Gun men.”
The chickens of a failed National security policy have come home to roost. This president has been unable to account or justify $16 billion spent already on National Security under his watch. Nigeria is still unable to produce its own instruments of National Defence.
They have to depend on foreign nations, some of whom hold them hostage. But in spite of this, Nigeria has a satellite capability; it has capability to deploy air surveillance, using Helicopters and drones; It has capacity to train special forces, deploy them and flush out these armed terrorists. The FG knows where the train hostages are kept. It is a most inexplicable thing that nothing has been done to free them.
No one has yet to explain how gunmen using hundreds of motorcycles could ride to the Kuje Prisons, for instance, without drawing security attention, and then simply disappear into thin air after the attack in a heavily guarded Federal Capital.
Something just doesn’t add up. That is why many Nigerians are suspecting deep-level complicity and cover-up. There is active subversion of Nigeria’s national security, and this president must be impeached for failing to fulfill his oath of office. Six weeks is in fact too long.