The abysmal retreat of rationality and logicality in national discourse -By Mike Ozekhome (SAN)

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The abysmal retreat of rationality and logicality in national discourse -By  Mike Ozekhome (SAN)

 

I speak and write from the vantage perspective of a Nationalist, a detribalised Nigerian, who has no links or affiliations to any of the existing political parties, the ruling PDP, or opposition APC. I am not a card carrying member of any political party. I challenge any politician who has seen, or met with me, at any political party meeting, convention, summit, caucus, or rally, in the last 10 years, to prove the contrary. As a front line Human Rights Activist, prodemocracy crusader, Lawyer and patriot, I view and discuss issues from a Nationalistic perspective, using the platform of Nigeria as my fulcrum and prism. I prefer to make my modest contributions in the realm of Human Rights, Rule of Law, Democracy, good governance and Law and Order.

This, I have done over the years. Contributions need not only be through active politics. It is therefore important to emphasise that for now, I am not into partisan politics. If God will decide for me otherwise in the future, I will wait upon Him. I have equally made my modest contributions to Nigeria at the National Political Reform Conference (2005), Vision 2020 (2009) and the recently concluded National Conference (2014), where my mantra had always been Nigeria, Nigeria, Nigeria. This preamble is necessary in this era of Political partisanship and brinkmanship, where everything you say, or write, is interpreted from a political perspective. The Nigerian Politictrician! What can he not do negatively? Nothing!

NIGERIA IS WITNESSING A DANGEROUS BIFURCATION 

The incidents in the recent past have clearly underscored and affirmed this dangerous bifurcation of Nigeria into political camps, in terms of thinking, critiques, rationalisation and analysis of events and discourse, of serious national issues. Let me give some samples of this sorely missing link of rationality in recent political discourse.

WITHDRAWAL OF TAMBUWAL’S SECURITY DETAILS

When Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the Speaker of the green Chambers of the National Assembly, the House of Representatives, defected from the PDP to the APC, his security details were promptly withdrawn by IGP Suleiman Abba, who argued that under Section 68(1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution, Tambuwal had ceased to be Speaker of the House of Representatives, consequent upon his defection.

I was probably the first Nigerian, of her about 170 Million citizens worldwide, who took on the IGP, lampooned him and advised him to immediately restore Tambuwal’s security details. My argument was and still, is, that the question of whether Tambuwal’s defection is constitutionally or legally justified, is a matter for judicial interpretation by our Courts of law. I argued that IGP Abba cannot usurp judicial interpretative functions of the Court and that Tambuwal can be justified in defecting from PDP to APC, if he can clearly demonstrate that PDP, the party on whose Platform he was elected to the House and also became Speaker, has suffered such a yawning division due to schism, or merger with another political party, in such a way that its nomenclature has totally been altered.

That is what Section 68 (I) (g) of the 1999 Constitution envisages. To declare Tambuwal’s carpet-crossing unconstitutional and therefore withdraw his security guards, the IGP was dead wrong, I had argued. I also posited that, being the number four citizen of Nigeria, Tambuwal is entitled to Police protection, not as citizen Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, but as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, duly elected by the House’s 360 members.

I also argued that Tambuwal remains Speaker at least till December 3, when the House reconvenes, and that in any case, only a Court of law, or members of the House can, under Sections 68 (1) (g) and 50 (2) of the 1999 Constitution, legally determine by 2/3 majority votes, whether or not he ceases to be speaker, not IGP Abba, or any other person, for that matter. I also vehemently disagreed with IGP Abba for saying he did not recognise Tambuwal as Speaker. He could not fairly say that.

Tambuwal remains Speaker until he is removed by either his colleagues or the Court. This was and is still my position. For this clear legal and moral thinking and analysis, devoid of political undertones, colouration or partisanship, PDP members and sympathisers descended on and literally feasted on me, especially in the social media, accusing me of being a sympathiser and political hireling of the APC. APC sympathisers and admirers on the other hand, praised me to high heavens. I was the new Daniel come to Judgment, with the rare wisdom of King Solomon. The Nigerian Politictrician! What can he not do negatively? Nothing!

THE UGLY SCENE OF LEGISLATORS SCALING NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FENCE 

About two weeks ago, Members of the Nigeria Police Force sealed up the National Assembly, allegedly on security alert by some unknown persons, that the Assembly will be invaded by thugs or terrorists. The Police said they had also alerted the National Assembly Leadership about this imminent threat. The Police may have lied. They may also have had it on good security authority that the threat was real. I have since watched some political commentators standing logic and reality on their heads, by cheaply arguing, that, the National Assembly was immune to Police check or presence. It is incredible to hear people speak like this. Have such people read Section 4 of the Police Act, which gives the Police the overall power to detect, investigate, prevent and prosecute any criminal matter and also nip crime in the bud, whenever and wherever threatened, and however remote?

Have the Police not always had its presence fully established at the National Assembly, with a whole Police Station, or post, headed by a DPO? When did the National Assembly become a no-go area for the Police and other security agents?

THE SOYINKA THESIS: MY OWN ANTITHESIS

Joining this fray of surprising commentators, is respected Prof Wole Soyinka, our own eminent Nobel laureate.

Lambasting the press for describing the Legislators’ act of scaling the National Assembly walls, as a “show of shame”, the Laureate instead, in his thesis, described it as their finest hour. No, Prof, you got it all wrong, very wrong here. I have a contrary thesis, my own antithesis.

 

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