We have observed with great shock the relentless campaign of calumny orchestrated by the executive arm of government to silence the legislature with the inordinate aim of riding roughshod over Nigerians without being checked.
This severe campaign follows impudent acts of autocracy and tyranny against the senate in particular and the national assembly in general by the executive with the sole aim of undermining the senate and emasculating the national assembly for very obvious reasons.
After having succeeded in intimidating, harassing and nearly emasculating the judiciary, it is only natural that to complete the job of routing every democratic impediment to the excesses and recklessness of the executive, the legislature is their next port of call.
These unfortunate developments have put us as a nation at the great risk of descending speedily into the unenviable state of anomie, anarchy, chaos and doom where impunity reigns supreme.
These follows the continued denigration, humiliation and scurrilous attacks visited on the other arms of government by an overbearing executive that has found it extremely difficult to subject itself to the principles and tenets of democracy which include “separation of powers” and “checks and balances”.
The latest attacks on the senate in particular has not come to discerning Nigerians as a surprise as we all saw the handwriting on the wall a long time ago.
For an executive which disobeys court orders with impunity, insolently defying the judiciary in the process and ridiculing that arm of government with disparaging comments from government officials just to serve their own pecuniary interests, we knew it was only a matter of time for the legislature to become its next victim.
We are even more appalled by the defence put up by some prominent Nigerians for the excesses of the executive. These hypocrites who have joined in bitterly criticizing the senate over its rejection of Ibrahim Magu as the substantive chairman of the EFCC, hailed the DSS reports that were used to intimidate and harass the judiciary recently but have turned around to ignore, reject and even criticize the same DSS’ report with all its weighty allegations against Magu.
Would it have been advisable for the senate to ignore such security report and confirm Magu just to satisfy the whims and caprices of a few individuals in the executive at the expense of national security and image? Even the DSS report concluded that “Magu has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption drive of the present administration”. Why should any right thinking citizen expect the senate to ignore this warning?
In fact, in other climes where there is still a modicum of morality and integrity among the executive arm of government, Mr Ibrahim Magu should by now have been arrested and prosecuted based on the report of the DSS against him, rather he is enjoying the patronage of those who are too blind to see the incurable injury they are causing our democracy just to spite the senate.
Furthermore, it is quite laughable that the same Magu who has been described as fearless by his patrons has not been able to muster the necessary courage to move against Dr Kayode Fayemi, Rotimi Amaechi and a plethora of other executive officials serving in this “saintly” government despite the petitions and evidence against them.
It is very obvious that the senate has become a scapegoat and an instrument of distraction in the hands of the executive to divert the attention of Nigerians from the biting hunger in the land, infrastructural coma, collapse of power and the abysmal state of the nation’s economy which the Buhari-led government has plunged us into.
Rather than dissipate energy on undermining the senate just to score needless cheap political points, we urge the executive to wake up to its responsibilities and stop the wanton killings going on all over the nation, obey court orders, stem the nation’s unabated descent into autocracy and rescue the economy. It is only after this has been done that they can boast of any moral right to criticize other arms of government.
Finally, we hereby call on the Senate and the House of Representatives not to allow themselves to be cowed by the antics of anti-democratic forces in the executive and other places trying to impose military-styled rule upon the nation through the backdoor. We shall resist such antics to the last!
Based on the foregoing, we have concluded plans and started mobilizing other CSOs and good-spirited Nigerians to defend democracy and the institution of the legislature by staging a solidarity rally to the national assembly on 6th of April, 2017.
This has become necessary because we know there cannot be democracy without the legislature and where there is a weak legislature fascism rules.
We say enough of this executive recklessness!
Jude Ndukwe Ariyo Dare-Atoye
Convener, Movement for the Advancement Co-Convener, Coalition in Defence of National Transformation (MANTRA) of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution