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*Tambuwal's defection and the desecration of national Institutions.by Gboyega Akosile*

Source: pointblanknews.com
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I have tried in vain to refrain from commenting on the current political

activities in the country for some personal reasons. Majorly among those

reasons is the lack of understanding of the subject matter usually

exhibited by some elements of the society, no matter how hard one tries to

drive home one's message.
So much has been said about the subject of insecurity of lives and property

since the inception of President Goodluck Jonathan's administration. Some

have described the President as clueless, while others have strongly

defended his inaction, tepid and lacklustre attitude in addressing

insurgency in parts of the north.
Some others have attempted to rationalize the president's approach towards

the fight against the dreaded Boko Haram militia groups, his comments on

corruption and the administration's divisive method among numerous issues.

I have had to listen to different arguments for and against the present

administration particularly at the level of North-South dichotomy and the

Muslim-Christian rationality!
Interestingly not much has been espoused on how such debates would

translate to good governance, infrastructural development and real

transformation for Nigeria and Nigerians!
I must say that we live in very interesting times because majority of

Nigerians seem to have lost what should be the drift of developmental

discourse. We talk mostly about individuals and political affiliations

rather than the real issues that affect us as a people.

Government is very smart. After all, it's been alleged that the country's

leadership is populated by charlatans who are only after their welfare and

that of their immediate families.  Most of these people I can affirm here

are insecure about what the future holds for them. My little relationship

with politicians and political actors has shown that they are more insecure

than the average Nigerian whose daily income depends largely on the work of

his hands. Truly speaking, this accounts for why many of them who are

opportune to be in power, cling on to it as a matter of life and death! A

state of insecurity usually leads to that of desperation. There is

desperation in Nigeria! Desperation is what usually leads a man to take

irrational action even when he has a better option before him or how can we

define the recent action of the police following the defection of the Aminu

Waziri Tambuwal, Speaker Federal House of Representatives?

TAMBUWAL'S DEFECTION
Millions of discerning Nigerians had long known that the Speaker of the

Federal House of Representatives, Rt Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal was merely

in PDP on papers. His soul belonged elsewhere. One did not need a

soothsayer to tell him that the Speaker no longer enjoyed his stay in PDP

shortly after he vied for the position of Speaker against the wish of the

PDP top hierarchy. A short reminder on how Tambuwal emerged as the Speaker

would help. Tambuwal defeated the preferred candidate of the PDP having

ridden on the back of the then ACN and CPC members along with his own

friends and associates in PDP. This had set the tone for what remained a

strained relationship between Tambuwal and the PDP on one hand and

Presidency on the other hand.
Against all odds, he had emerged as the speaker in accordance with the

governing rules of the House. No doubt, he has remained the most stable

speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria's chequered political

history.
I really don't know whether majority of Nigerian political watchers would

have been taken aback by Tambuwal's October 28th defection to the

opposition All Progressives Congress but I know that he did not surprise me

and a host of my friends. His defection was long expected.

We should note that politics is local. You can be successful as a

politician only when you are connected to your local or immediate

constituency. So it would be most politically unreasonable if not to the

point of absurdity for Tambuwal, who is a gubernatorial hopeful and whose

State governor along with over eighty percent of the populace in Sokoto had

joined APC to remain in PDP!  Truly speaking, I had known that it was just

a matter of time for Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal to cross over to the APC.

In what appeared a landmark move, the speaker announced his defection to

the opposition political party. To some of us, our democracy is truly being

tested, while some others view it differently. I personally align with the

popular believe that nothing is permanent in politics. After all, we have

seen people you could describe as sworn political enemies yesterday who

have become close associates today. There is a long list of that in

Nigeria. The latest is Governor Rauf Aregbesola and his predecessor,

Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former Governors Segun Oni and Dr. Kayode Fayemi of

Ekiti State.
WITHDRAWAL OF POLICE AIDES
The news of the withdrawal of Speaker Tambuwal's security aides by the

acting Inspector General of Police came as a rude shock. Never would I have

imagined that happening in today's Nigeria. It struck me as though we had

returned to the 18th century Nigeria! This is the 21st century I reckon.

No, it can't be. The IGP couldn't have done that. I needed a

confirmation.
After a few telephone calls, I got my story confirmed.

Not long after I had confirmed the story, the police issued a press

statement to tell Nigerians why it acted in such manner. It was at that

point that I broke down. Unsure of what to do next, I picked up the

constitution, read the relevant sections and sought further clarifications

from lawyer friends.
Section 68 (g) of the 1999 Constitution says: 'A member of the Senate or of

the House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the House of which he

is a member if being a person whose election to the House was sponsored by

a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before

the expiration of the period for which that House was elected; provided

that his membership of the latter political party is not as a result of a

division in the political party of which he was previously a member or of a

merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was

previously sponsored.â€
One thing came out in clear terms from everyone I interacted with on this

subject is that the police cannot interpret the constitution. No, it is

illegal, unconstitutional and ultra vires! The IGP is wrong in issuing a

directive for the withdrawal of Tambuwal's security aides. The police have

a right to withdraw the speaker's aide after the appropriate judicial

pronouncements!
I went back in times to check whether there had been such action by the

Police and interestingly, there was a very recent defection by Governor

Mimiko of Ondo State, who defected from Labour Party to the ruling PDP!

Governor Mimiko did not go alone; he went with his entire cabinet and the

legislature including the speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Mrs

Jumoke Akindele.
The simple question is why did Mr. Suleiman Abba-led police not withdraw

Jumoke Akindele's security aides citing the same section 68 (g) of the

constitution? Why this selective persecution and glaring double standards

by the IGP?
As expected, the media has been awash with lawyers, politicians and social

commentators passing votes of no confidence on Mr. Abba-led police. But I

refuse to join the bandwagon in outright condemnation of the police. I

would rather tilt a little and lean on our immediate history and precedence.

SETTING A WRONG PRECEDENT
Between year 2005 to 2007 the former president Olusegun Obasanjo deployed

all the state apparatus including the Police, EFCC, ICPC and SSS in various

degrees but constitutional manners to quash the presidential ambition of

his deputy, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Some Nigerians condemned in strongest

terms at the time what appeared to most people who did not like Atiku

Abubakar as a good move. I remember telling friends that it was not about

Atiku Abubakar but the office he occupied as the Vice President of the

Federal Republic of Nigeria. A dogged fighter, Atiku was in and out of the

court till he got justice! Although the former Vice President got judicial

protection, the way it played out at the time was a mockery of government

institutions. A bad precedent was also set for the Nigerian political

space. The president can attempt to subvert constitutional provisions

through the instrumentality of the state to settle political scores.

The present face-off between the speaker of the House of Representatives

and his former political party on one hand and the presidency on the other

hand appeared to have followed the same pattern that the former president

employed in dealing with his co-presidential traveller! The only difference

here is that the Executive is separated from the legislature.

TAMBUWAL GOES TO COURT
Thankfully, the law has taken its course. The court has said that Abba

erred in law by withdrawing the security detail of the Speaker when he has

not been removed from office. One can only hope that some lesson would have

been learned by the Police as well as other agencies of government that

politicians may attempt to use to subvert the constitution of the Federal

Republic of Nigeria.
Let aggrieved parties in political and constitutional disputes walk the

path of honour and save Nigeria from ignoble approach to settlements. This

is taking a negative toll on the psyche of everyone especially the

generations coming behind us.
Nigeria has suffered too much leadership crisis. The latest action of the

police is a not only an embarrassment to the nation and the citizens but a

further confirmation of a Nigeria where anything goes.

There is no doubt that the Police boss action is fallout of the ruling

party's insecurity about what may happen next at the Lower Chamber of the

legislature. However pitiable their situation may appear, desecrating the

country's government institutions should be discouraged. Mr. Suleimon Abba,

kindly restore Mr. Speaker's security detail without further ado, so

ordered by the Federal High court!
Note:
This piece had been written before the court ruling.

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