2015: The Opposition and the Planned Abortion of Our Democracy

When loosely applied, the quote taken from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is apt in the Nigerian situation we have apparently not only forgotten our recent history but we are on the way to being lost and losing our dear nation if nothing is done to stop the opposition's call to anarchy. What once was dismissed as empty threats from bad losers is beginning to get translated into concrete actions that are today eroding the very foundations of this country.

“And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
What started like a joke is fast becoming a threatening conflagration as closet anarchists who masqueraded as democrats are outing themselves. Should we be worried? Yes. We should be. Anyone who is not genuinely mortified by the unfolding nightmare being brewed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders and chieftains is then guilty by consenting.

As the Pidgin saying goes, “Na from clap person dey enter dance”, which implies that like the toad wallowing in water that is being gradually heated without leaping out until it is boiled to death, we have as a people collectively developed inertia to the worsening attitude of APC leaders, which got us to where we are presently– a country on the brink of collapse. Hopefully things will not get to boiling point before we give a national response to the threat to the nation's democracy.

First, leaders of this motely opposition group launched a campaign of calumny against the federal government on multiple fronts. Of course the freedom of expression guaranteed every Nigerian ensured they were able to do this without repercussions and this is the beauty of democracy, the freedom to dissent within the bounds of law and reason. We failed to seen that, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the self-proclaimed opposition leader only launched these war of words when he is not allowed to have his selfish ways. He has recently recruited his erstwhile nemesis, former president Olusegun Obasanjo to execute such attacks by proxy with the sole aim of destabilizing a government that has refused to enslave Nigerians for them and their selfish interest.

Sadly, the attacks from Tinubu and his group on the government have had consequences that were immediately impactful. Nigeria is painted to the international community as that hell on earth, a nation that no one should do business with the attendant consequences that efforts at growing the economy were frustrated by such selfishness. How can youths ever get employment if economy is undermined by our own citizens who badmouth the country at every turn? In the analogy of the toad and the heated water, this phase of the opposition's activity is cool water by comparison.

Next came the serial attempts, sometimes successful, by these men who repeatedly invade states where elections are taking place, ostensibly for one reason, to rig their party into any place that has elections. Each time the law enforcement agencies as much as tried to point out their error to them hell was let loose. This invasion of states having elections is usually followed with efforts to blackmail the judiciary into given them whatever other political parties fairly won. Sometimes, they succeed.

The penchant for invading states was only surpassed by the theft and poaching of mandates that the electorates had given to other political parties. They controversially got five governors of “like minds” to steal and deliver the mandates their people gave to the People Democratic Party (PDP) to them. A repeat of this was planned in the National Assembly on a massive scale but for the spectre of potential court rulings that kept some members back. Nigeria's apostles of uprightness, the APC leader saw nothing wrong in these thefts of mandates, it was okay so long as they are the beneficiaries. Which explains why the breach of the constitution and the electoral laws appeared like fun things to do when the Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal - that widely abused titled was deliberately left out - defected to the APC. The party deliberately ignored the legal and constitutional impasse that was sure to follow this action. Putting legality or otherwise aside, where is the APC's much touted moral compass in all this? Does the theft of mandates no longer count as a corrupt thing to do?

And then the threats flooded in. Late APC convert and Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi openly declared” If the PDP rig the election in 2015 we will not go to court and we will make the country ungovernable. We will form a parallel government and there will be anarchy”! A governor actually said that. Anyone doubts that Amaechi spoke under the influence was soon erased as several chieftains of the party not only backed him up but also reaffirmed the threat in different forms.

It is not a curious coincidence that the threat was first delivered at the APC Salvation Rally in Abuja, which was a cover to invade and openly confront public institutions. Among the places so invaded was the Police Force Headquarters, where the Inspector General of Police, Mr Suleiman Abba said it took discipline and restraint to avoid responding to the confrontation by the occupying mob. The warped logic behind these invasions was tied to provoking responses from the security agencies so that they can claim the likes of the Ukrainian Maidan Uprising, Arab Spring in the Middle East and other places where citizens' response to triggered the overthrow of despots and autocrats. The laughable hole in the APC's logic however was that Nigeria unlike those other countries has become a stable democracy, at least until this party started implementing its destabilization plans.

The final confirmation of the opposition's plot for Nigeria came when Tambuwal led thugs and hooligans to invade the most sacred portion of our democratic institutions. The Tambuwal led APC anarchists invaded the National Assembly! Lawbreakers scaled the gates and fence of the premises to gain entrance just to avoid subjecting themselves to the usual security checks. Senate President, David Mark revealed he subjected himself to this check. Other lawmakers did with the exception of the APC crowd. From the statement issued by the police, it emerged that intelligence report had confirmed earlier on that hoodlums were coming to invade the parliament and the police acted to forestall their planned attacks. One can only shiver at the thoughts of what would have happened if the law enforcement agents did not take preventive measures.

After failing at this despicable venture, the politicians are now reportedly subtly inviting the military to take over power. Similar to the rapid escalation of their aggression, it is a matter of time before these elements finance something of tragic proportion in their desperate bid.

It bears emphasizing that our closet anarchists should know that they should not have forgotten the coups that truncated our democracies in 1966, 1983 and 1993. Those events led to widespread rights abuse. They stunted our growth and made the country a pariah nation for the duration of the military incursions. This is a road we rather not thread a fourth time.

Since the desperation in the APC has led its leaders beyond redemption, it is pointless advising its leaders as to the foolhardiness of their plots to grab power by truncating Nigeria's democracy. The logical population to appeal to is that made up of discerning Nigerians, the ones who will bear the brunt of any misadventure.

No one should be taken in by the APC, with the benefit of its PR firm, trying to romanticize an opposition sponsored uprising. In contemporary times, revolutions have become more of the collective agreement of the populace to work for the common group. This is clearly distinct from what is now being proposed.

From Egypt to Tunisia through Libya to Syria, we are all witnesses to how the kind of uprising being promoted by APC have not bode well for the people. These countries have instead descended into unthinkable depth of anarchy such that life expectancy has been reduced to a few hours in some areas. Democracy or the fight for democracy that was used as the cover to launch instability that broke up these countries is now several decades away from some of them. When or if they ever exit the prevailing anarchy their people will then face the difficult task of rebuilding. This is why Nigerians must tell this party's leader that they have not forgotten the past because they do not want to lose this country.

Philip Agbese wrote from Abuja.

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Articles by Philip Agbese