President Goodluck Jonathan Is The Greatest Threat To Democracy In Nigeria


Thursday, November 20th, 2014 will go down in Nigeria's history as the Day of Infamy at the National Assembly when lawmakers were locked out of the parliament by the lawless, PDP-led government of President Goodluck Jonathan, to prevent them from performing their duties to their country. Nigerians looked on with consternation and disbelief as Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, the Number Four citizen in the country, and other Members of the House of Representatives were tear-gassed by members of the Nigeria Police Force whose primary duty is to protect citizens and enforce the law. This kind of lawlessness and abuse of executive power has never happened in Nigeria before. It is the lowest point in the history of democracy in our country.

2. The lawmakers answered the call to duty and suspended a recess in order to consider President Jonathan's request to extend the State of Emergency in the beleaguered states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. This was, ordinarily, a patriotic and exemplary gesture. It therefore came as a complete surprise to Nigerians when the gates of the National Assembly were shut against them by members of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agents who tried to prevent them from entry. The resort to molestation and tear-gassing of the Speaker and other Representatives is most barbaric and shocking. According to the Police, they had a security report that the National Assembly was going to be invaded by hoodlums on that fateful day. This is a laughable and untenable excuse for conduct unbecoming of a law enforcement agency. Is the Speaker a stranger in the National Assembly or did the Representatives who accompanied him look like hoodlums? The Police had better come up with a better explanation for this shameful and unprofessional behaviour.

3. What happened to Speaker Tambuwal and his colleagues falls neatly into a pattern of acts of intolerance and lawlessness for which President Goodluck Jonathan is now notoriously known. President Jonathan simply brooks no opposition and not just from opposition parties. From the unlawful removal of Prince Vincent Ogbulafor as National Chairman of PDP to the removal of Governor Amaechi as Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum and, more recently, the unlawful removal of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as Governor of Central Bank, President Jonathan had amply demonstrated his penchant for undermining institutions and lack of capacity to tolerate dissenting opinion. He has become a clear and present danger to our democracy.

4. The prevention of the Parliament from performing its duty is an egregious violation of our constitution. It flies in the face of the principle of separation of powers. It is dictatorial and it undermines the very essence of our democracy. Without the Parliament, Nigeria becomes an autocracy. The use of the Nigeria Police Force to perpetrate such unconstitutionality is a gross abuse of executive power and sets a precedent too dangerous for our democracy to accommodate or condone. If lawmakers could be meted with this kind of brazen and humiliating treatment, the rest of Nigerians cannot be safe in the hands of President Jonathan. This is impunity carried too far. It must be met by severe sanction to avoid future occurrence.

5. We call on members of the National Assembly to stand as one in the face of this unwarranted assault on our representative system and not allow partisanship to becloud their judgment. If this gross violation is allowed to stand, the National Assembly would have been permanently undermined and its powers permanently eroded. It would be a matter of time before President Jonathan or some other power hungry interloper sacks it for good. If this violation is allowed to stand, this scenario would not be too far off. We call on the National Assembly to immediately commence proceedings leading to this sanction. If he can stop the National Assembly from performing its duty, he is too dangerous for our democracy and our country.

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