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Invasion of NASS: A game of conspiracy against democracy - Abdulwahab Oba

Nigerians literally woke up last week to watch a bewildering drama played out at the National Assembly, specifically at the Senate Chamber. It was not a drama to entertain, and it was not enacted either to inform or educate the public. This was a drama that left the public befuddled both by the simplicity of its execution as well as the complexity of its implications on the polity. 

It must be disturbing for any rational being to see thugs invade the hallowed chambers of the senate, during plenary, and snatch away the maze, the symbol of democratic authority of the legislature. If the maze had been stolen in the dead of the night maybe one would have been less scared. If the legislators had resumed for the day and the Sergeant –at-Arms came out to declare the maze missing, maybe we would not have been too taken aback, knowing full well the history of maze snatching and disappearances from legislative houses since this current democratic dispensation started.

But to see a few young men, unarmed on the surface, surfacing at the senate in broad day light, walking confidently to the maze and taking it away as if it were a piece of sweet wrappers that fell to the ground, speaks volume about the current politics we are playing in Nigeria. Of course, it sends a serious message to the entire national assembly that none of its members is safe during plenary.

Those thieves/thugs could have easily shot anyone they wanted that day and still escaped while the senators stood with mouth agape. The entire episode speaks of conspiracy from within; or, conspiracy from the high. And of course, like the Yoruba saying that whenever you hear the cry of a witch and a child dies the following day there is no hard guessing the death was the handiwork of the witch. The presence of Senator Ovie  Omo-Agege at the same time the incident took place will remain a subtle, and at worst, coincidental link between him and the thugs even when he has placed legal hurdles against such linkages.

The available video on the ‘NASS Invasion’ shows the embattled Senator Ovie Omo-Agege walking in with those guys. We saw him backing them and pretending as if nothing was amiss as the thugs proceeded upfront to execute their plan. We saw the Sergeant-at-Arms and his officials made futile attempt to stop the thugs. And we have been told by eyewitnesses outside the chamber how the thugs went away in a fleet of cars with the maze, unstopped. Not even the horde of security apparatchik at the National Assembly Complex was able to stop them! What other evidences do one need to justify conspiracy from "authorities". 

And to think that the complex shares fence with Aso Rock! If those guys had killed any lawmaker that day, they would have so easily escaped and we would still be debating what happened today. Don’t we smell conspiracy somewhere? Can we swear this was not a carefully planned attack targeted at someone? Perhaps the maze episode was a dress rehearsal for the real attack that may still come as the polity gets heated up in the coming days?

Nigerians have been told of the layers of security arrangements in place at the National Assembly and if a few guys could so easily beat it without as much as a shot in the air by any arm of the security agencies in that place, then it is either a top-level conspiracy that was passed down  to the men or it clearly shows that in reality our security men are only noise makers. But the Nigerian police are not noise makers. They are gallant men and women despite the despicable circumstances they find themselves. If we exonerate the police, the other hypothese is the conspiracy theory. 

According to the political scientist Michael Barkun, conspiracy theories rely on the view that the universe is governed by design, and embody three principles: nothing happens by accident, nothing is as it seems, and everything is connected. Conspiracy theory gained traction after the assassination of the 35th America President, John F. Kennedy in Nov., 1963. Since then till now, no conclusive evidence on the connectivity of the murder other than that he was shot by a former U.S. Marine and Marxist, Lee Harvey Oswald. Though Oswald was arrested by members of the Dallas Police Department about 70 minutes after the initial shooting, charged, he was also fatally shot by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub operator as he was being transferred to Dallas police headquarters on Sunday, November 24, 1963 before live television cameras. Till date, the alleged conspirators remained behind the veil. 

So, if the mace saga is a conspiracy, then we may never discover the conspirators. Then how secure is our democracy? How protected is the NASS?  This then raises the question about the security architecture of this nation. Just few weeks back, armed robbers strolled to the city of Offa, a commercial centre in Kwara state, killed about 30 people, including nine policemen, and strolled out again. The only people apprehended so far over that dastardly incident are those allegedly with connections with the crime and not the real criminals themselves. So, the question would again be, for how long shall politicians continue to toy with our collective destiny for personal interests? 

But I don’t believe it was the security system. I believe it was politics; dirty, deadly politics. And that is why I’m concerned because I know we have only seen the start, we don’t know where this would end. An assault on the legislature is an assault on democracy because of all the three arms of government, the legislature is the real bastion of democracy. It is the only institution of democracy that is truly representative both in its composition and activities.

The apparent delayed response of the Presidency to the incident was also noticeable and worrisome; just as the speed at which the embattled senator has been able to secure a restraining order from the court to ensure the police and other agencies investigating the matter does not arrest him or question him again. The delayed response of the Presidency speaks volume and the court order even more. But they both point to the political dimension inherent in the development. 

My concern however is that  if our stakeholders refuse to learn from history and continue to play politics of acrimony, may we remind them that it is far easier to start a fire but much difficult to predict how far it would go, or whom it would consume in its rage. Allowing hoodlums to invade an institution like the Senate is like giving armed robbers the password to your safe. They have come now, and they succeeded. But what if tomorrow they turn against their principals?

Abdulwahaab Oba
Chief Press Secretary
to the Kwara State Governor

Invasion of NASS: A game of conspiracy against democracy - Abdulwahab Oba Reviewed by Unknown on April 27, 2018 Rating: 5

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