National Assembly Lockdown: Between Jonathan’s Time and Now

National Assembly Lockdown: Between Jonathan’s Time and Now

Tuesday, August 7, 2018 7:08 pm

National Assembly blocked

Lawmakers scalling the National Assembly fence in 2014

Another Senator scaling the fence

By Ademola Adegbamigbe

What happened today, Tuesday 7 August 2018 when men of the Department of State Service (DSS) put the National Assembly under siege is deja vu. It happened on 25 November 2014, when the Goodluck Jonathan government tried to send Aminu Tambuwal packing as Speaker, House of Representatives.

The House members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and Tambuwal, who had just defected to the APC, were prevented from entering the National Assembly complex by the Police. His supporters who were also Reps members scaled the fence of the Assembly complex to gain entry. Consequently, Police tear gassed them and cordoned off the area.

Not a few Nigerians believed then that there was a plot to impeach Tambuwal and replace him with his deputy, Emeka Ihedioha, by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) legislators.

One of those who held this argument was Mr. Keyamo who stated this in a press statement that the plot was “unusual in our kind of democratic environment?”.

“Let us not forget too that there was a real plot (not unusual in our kind of democratic environment) to allow only a handful of PDP legislators into the chambers to “impeach” the Speaker and install the Deputy Speaker as “Speaker”.

“The other lawmakers had no option but to do all that was legal and necessary to stop that illegality which included scaling that fence,” Mr. Keyamo stated.

“It would have been total cowardice on the part of the affected lawmakers for them to fold their arms and do nothing about the situation,” he continued.

“The Police in this case, engaged in pure illegality by barricading the gates of the National Assembly, even if they did so on the orders of the Inspector-General of Police. The orders of the I.G.P do not amount to law and he is not a demigod to decide who enters any premises or not,” Mr. Keyamo wrote.

Mr. Keyamo who said he was proud of the “gate-jumping” legislators urged the House of Representatives members to jump more gates to save Nigeria’s democracy.

”They should keep jumping and jumping and jumping over gates, fences, walls and huddles if that will save our democracy. That is the only way to go,” he said.

What, therefore, could be the reason for the invasion of the Natonal Assembly today by the DSS? Although the 2014 drama was for the lower legislative chamber, today’s was for the Senate where the storm has been gathering to clear off Bukola Saraki from his Senate Presidency seat because he jumped ship and went back to PDP from where he came.

The question on every lip is that was history about to repeat itself? Were the security people planted there to filter off pro-Saraki Senators and allow in his arch enemies in APC who would seat and send him tumbling down his perch?

What critics are raising now is that while the n-PDP politicians dumped their PDP in 2014 to join APC were hailed to the stratosphere, the same individuals who changed their fidelity with no more effort than knocking at a door are now being pilloried as if they have committed a great sacrilege.

According to Richard Akinnola, a human rights activist: “In November 2014, when the Goodluck Jonathan government tried to illegally remove Aminu Tambuwal as Speaker, House of Reps, l kicked against it. APC also kicked against it. There are pictures of legislators in 2014, scaling the gate to gain entry into the National Assembly complex. I campaigned and voted for change, that this kind of scenario must not be allowed in our country again. But alas, a simulation of what happened in 2014 occurred this morning. It would be unconscionable for me to validate this debauchery and close my eyes to it. I owe no one any apology for my position. I know that some people, even if their mother is being raped by their political idol, they would rationalise it and accuse their mother of dressing seductively to attract the rapist. That is their cup of tea. What is wrong is wrong. Let’s call a spade by its name. This too shall pass. God is watching all of us.”
Bayo Onanuga, MD, News Agency of Nigeria, submitted:”
Now that the Federal Government has come out clean on the blockade of the National Assembly by some operatives of the DSS, the question we should ask is: Who was the beneficiary of the blockade? Who was Daura working for?

Let’s reason together.

The PDP Senators claimed Daura’s masked men were there to ensure the APC senators impeach Saraki. But as reporters found out, there was no single APC senator in the premises! So, impeachment conspiracy was false, a mere ruse. Why was it that only PDP senators were at the gate at that hour to challenge the DSS men and mouth expletives against Buhari’s Federal Government?

Were the PDP senators there because someone leaked a false intelligence to them that the APC senators were coming to reconvene by force and impeach Saraki?

My own theory is that Daura’s men were actually there to stop the APC senators from gaining entrance to carry out the rumoured impeachment of the Senate president.

Let no one therefore fool the people of Nigeria about claiming a contrived credit of being the defender of our democracy, more than the executive arm.

The truth is that Daura had a second master in the National Assembly, whose interest he was protecting, no matter if it conflicted with the man who appointed him in July 2015.

My submission: Daura’s men blocked the NASS gate to protect Bukola Saraki and keep out the APC senators.”

However, the sack of Lawal Daura, DSS boss by Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, will surely reduce the criticism that would have been targetted at the Buhari government ove the drama. Here lies the difference.

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