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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Our Stand: President Jonathan Playing With Fire


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Early this year, the newly selected national chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, described his party members as master poachers. What he meant then is crystallizing: instigate (read bribe) troublemakers to pester the opposition, induce opposition members to cross over to the ruling party, and suborn state lawmakers to remove opposition governors and install PDP governors. The steamroller is on.
It seems most strange that a government that has failed on all fronts and buffeted by terrorists is opening up more war fronts. Has it come to this? Has the destruction of Nigeria become state policy? This madness must stop.
The world should see the hand of tyranny in the impeachment of Adamawa State governor Murtala Nyako and the forced resignation of his deputy Bala James Ngilari yesterday. Only on Monday, the Nasarawa State House of Assembly began impeachment proceedings against Governor Tanko Al-Makura. Edo State governor Adams Oshiomhole has been in the line of fire because some APC House members have been bought over and the minority PDP members are said to be dangling the impeachment threat. Rivers State governor Chibuike Amaechi knows that some of the state’s lawmakers are ganging up against him. Rochas Okorocha of Imo State is also facing a benign threat of impeachment. These five governors have one thing in common: they are APC members. There are fears that Kano, another APC state, may also have its governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, dragged to the execution range soon.
Anyone who doubts the motive behind the destabilisation plot should consider that the governors have six months to face the electorate again or about a year to leave office after completing two terms. Which impeachment offences remained hidden for seven years but were discovered only towards the end of their tenure?
And why is it that vestiges of trouble only begin to emerge in non-PDP states after their governors defect? Is it a coincidence that terrorists discover a state only when its governor leaves the PDP and joins the opposition party? And why is it that whenever a scandal is about to be unearthed – like the missing $20billion and the chartered jet saga – terrorist activities intensify to divert the people’s attention? It is about time these questions are answered.
But those who seek to destroy Nigeria through non-tolerance of the opposition should read the handwriting on the wall of history. There is no doubt that a good number of the evil people that have held the nation hostage operate freely under the umbrella of the ruling party. It is the same kind of people that wrecked the First, Second and Third republics. And, after the first round of elections in the Fourth Republic, they all found shelter under one umbrella, because they couldn’t play or stand opposition politics.
The Jonathan government is jittery because a mega party that could defeat the PDP in next year’s elections has been formed. Apparently unable to stop the wind of change and acting in desperation, the government has found a leeway by destroying everything and everyone associated with the APC.
Left to the PDP government, there should be no elections in 2015. After eliminating all the APC governors and replacing them with PDP stooges, for instance, the coast would be clear for a repeat of the Ekiti “magic” in other states.
Yet, there is nothing strange about what has happened in Adamawa, what is happening in Nasarawa and what could happen in Edo, Rivers, Imo and Kwara states. Party stalwarts are directed to dip their hands into nest-bags of money stolen from public funds; they gather members of a state assembly and haul scores of millions of naira on those willing to swear to an oath of trust. After Ghana-must-go bags have changed hands, it is time to gather impeachment offences.
Can the lawmakers in Adamawa look the public straight in the eye and swear that the impeachment of Nyako was done in the best interest of the state; that it was an altruistic exercise?
As the steamroller turns to Nasarawa, the lawmakers may find it convenient to argue that in a democracy the majority must have its way. But we know that their action is hardly in defence of democracy. Is there a relationship between the bond that the Nasarawa State governor has raised and the impeachment threat? At a time of serious national crisis brought on by the incompetence of the Jonathan-led government, politicians must stop playing with fire. They must stop playing with the future of the country. The madness must stop.
From the missing Chibok girls to the general insecurity in the country and from the unaccounted for $20billion to the troves of unattended reports on stolen funds, there’s more than enough serious work to be done. It beggars belief that at a time when the government should double-down on retrieving the country from the jaws of terrorists and thieves, it is very busy plotting to silence the opposition.
And we must say that we are worried by the deafening silence of elder statesmen, who only on July 8 met Jonathan on the state of the nation. Their continuous silence not only emboldens this government it gives the impression that the unfolding tragedy carries their stamp of approval.
It was Adamawa yesterday, Nasarawa today, where next? If we are serious about keeping this country together – as we believe we should – then it’s time to pay more than lip service to the ties that bind us.
We must stop the bull in the china shop now, or risk losing the shop, the wares and the bull as well. We advise the Presidency and the PDP against starting another fire. Nobody knows how it will end.
Leadership

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