Since the commencement of democratic experience in Nigeria in 1999, the National Assembly being the legislative arms of government, has somewhat attempted to constitute its self as a parallel government in Nigeria. Right from the time of former president Olusegun Obasanjo, the National Assembly has been enmeshed in various controversies to the chagrin of Nigerians.
I recall that at some point, issues were raised as regards the usefulness and contributions of the legislative arm of government towards National development. This is aside from the fact that a large chunk of the resources is used in funding the activities of the National Assembly with little or nothing to show in return, and with calls for the scrapping of the National Assembly to conserve funds for infrastructural development.
There is no time as now that Nigerians indeed appear to agree that the country’s democracy isn’t working as it ought to. And at the root of it is the caliber of persons seating in the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly, and the high running costs, which they say unless it is drastically reduced, the developmental dreams of the country would remain a mirage. I concur.
The crux of the issue at hand is how the members of the National Assembly have reduced the act of legislation to a child’s play in the sense that thier actions in recent times are nothing but against the interest of the country in general. This is quite unfortunate and calls for sober reflection from discerning Nigerians who are indeed concerned about the development and continued unity of the country.
They have carried on like kindergartens with little or no regard for the sensibilities of those that elected them into office. As it stands, a ticket to be legislator is simply an avenue for wealth accumulation and personal aggrandizement. I would take the call for the sack of Service Chiefs by some legislators in the Senate and the House of Representatives as an example.
It is quite an unfortunate experience in the sense that it was apparent that the call wasn’t in the interest of the generality of Nigerians but that of a few whose pockets have been greased in the usual manner. However, there has been a curious twist in the whole episode as it seems there has been some rethinking by the House of Representatives that revolves around engaging in a more practical and pragmatic approach to the issue of insecurity facing the country.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, seems to be spearheading this rebirth. I say this for the fact that after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, the speaker told Nigerians that there was a need to ascertain if the security situation falls within the purview of the armed forces or the police and sacking the service Chiefs will not do the magic.
He was somewhat right in the sense that the classification of the security challenges is already yielding the desired results. Secondly, after another meeting with the Service Chiefs, the speaker told the Service Chiefs that they are doing well but need to do more. I think that is rational and a subtle way to pass the message. If you would agree with me, I do not believe there is any employee that would not appreciate this from its employers
It is called morale boasting, which over time, goes a long in bringing the best out of every perceived bad situation. This fact has been proven in the fabric of human psychology, and history is replete with how things have indeed turned around for good. I stand to be corrected. I must not fail to commend the speaker for this line of thought.
But there is an irony. And it is the fact that the Senate of the National Assembly is still in dreamland and acting like a group of drunken sailors whose ship is sailing without direction. This is the perfect description of the position of the Senate on the insecurity situation in the country. The unfortunate thing is that whereas the House of Representatives seems to have gotten its house together, the Senate is playing an expensive Coronavirus prank on the citizens by inaugurating an Ad hoc Committee on Security Challenges to review and reorganize the Current Security Architecture in the country. Yes, you heard me right.
If this is not a child’s play, I don’t know what else to call it. It portrays a situation where a patient is inside a laboratory with a case of highly infectious disease, and the doctors are inside the laboratory, examining the patient to find a cure for the contagious disease. What will then be the fate of those inside the laboratory with the patient? Your guess is as good as mine.
Without mincing words, the inclusion of Senator Eyinaya Abaribe in the committee is a clear indication that the Senate is pursuing a personal agenda against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari with the curious inclusion of the “sack President Muhammadu Buhari, sack service chiefs” advocates who are all hibernating in the Senate.
There is everything wrong with the inclusion of Senator Eyinaya Abaribe in such a sensitive committee when it is a known fact that his allegiance lies somewhere else. In my opinion, this is an anomaly and quite an assault on our sensibilities as a people. This much the leadership of the Senate should know. But they have so decided to carry on in their usual despicable manner.
In essence, what the Senate is telling Nigerians is the job can never be done, and as such, they must constitute themselves as a clog in the wheels of progress in the country. If this is not the case, how could one then justify the presence of a man of questionable antecedents and character who stood in as surety for Nnamdi Kanu in 2017 in his futile attempt to destabilize the country and only recently called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign over security concerns.
This indeed defeats common sense if you ask me, but again common sense they say is not common. According to Faze, a member of defunct Plantashun Boys musical group, in his song, Common Sense, stated that “all we need to do is brings to our consciousness the fact that all we need to use sometimes is ‘common sense’ and drift from blaming the government for everything.”
I entirely agree with him because it is indeed common sense for the Senate to know that the security challenges in the country are indeed politically orchestrated by those who have lost out of the political equation and have vowed to sponsor violence in the country in a bid to discredit the present administration. My prayer thus is that may God deliver us from the mendacity of the Senate and also for God to deliver the Senate from the Senate before it gets too late.
Madu is a public affairs commentator and wrote this piece from Lagos.
Nigeria’s Service Chiefs And Why Buhari’s Apple Is Sweeter! – By Richard Murphy
I have maintained intentional silence since the nauseating confrontation between the National Assembly (NASS) and President Muhammadu Buhari as well as Service and Security Chiefs (SSCs) shuddered the nation. In a rare disarming display of insensitivity on bubbling tensions on insecurity in the nation, NASS did the unthinkable.
At the plenary of both chambers on January 29, 2020, while debating on separate motions over renewed spate of attacks and killings in parts of the country, lawmakers went on the offensive. The parliamentarians called for the resignation of President Buhari; dubbed security Heads as failures; canvassed for the voluntary retirement of SSCs or their immediate sack together with all other Heads of the nation’s security architecture.
I found the hastiness of the extreme decisions unthoughtful and the condemnations completely outlandish. I may not necessarily be right in my presumptions, but I feel strongly about it. NASS appears to have retraced its apparently faulty steps after an indoor meeting with President Buhari.
Nevertheless, what has refused to free my psyche and keeps lingering in my sub-consciousness is the blatant display of lack of knowledge about security matters and a near arrogant sycophantic pandering to forces antithetical to national interests. In truth, I am not bothered by their refusal to see the positive changes in the management of the country’s litany of securities. Our people say, you can only force a horse to the stream, but cannot compel it to drink from its waters.
Though tension has been doused in this regard, but it is good to straighten the records for posterity’s sake. Everywhere, security issues especially when it affects the soul of a nation, like the case with Nigeria now is treated with a lot of circumspection. Its delicateness demands caution, consistent actions or policies from all actors and stakeholders, if the pursuit of peace is genuine and streams from the heart.
It has been the passion of President Buhari from the outset of his administration. It took the President a diligent search, energy and time to constitute the leadership of his security team because he met Nigeria deeply burdened by choking and multifarious security breaches. Those who were appointed leaders of the various arms of the Nigerian Armed Forces and other supporting security agencies were thorough breed, tested and trusted officers.
The Nigerian Military particularly has undergone impressive reformative metamorphosis. The SSCs met a debased military whose personnel shirked at their own shadows in public and at the warfront; they were objects of roadside gossips and ridicules. Therefore, the SSCs ensured the institutionalization of reforms and innovations in the Nigerian Armed Forces to reposition it, berth stability, entrench professionalism and reclaim the lost glory of this revered institution.
And Nigerians began to experience and feel the positive impact of a rebranded Nigerian Military, which posted results in courageous gallantry at the frontlines and blight of the multiple insecurity challenges which assailed the nation. We instantly saw it decimate and defeat Boko Haram insurgents; crippled armed bandits and cattle rustlers, castrated violent separatists’ movements and turned the blazing swords of mercenary killers into ashes.
Let’s ignore partisan interpretations of Nigeria’s security challenges, and assess the situation on its strength and impartially. Opposition unusually spin anything on insecurity and brandish before the public. I call it opportunistic opposition because most times their comments on matters of security are flat, fluid and mendacious.
But no rational Nigerian can look straight into the face of whatever he holds dear to his heart and be emboldened to claim, there is no progressive change and results in the security management of Nigeria under President Buhari and the serving SSCs. These are not conjured tales, but verifiable realities and facts domiciled in public domain for years.
I consider it very egregious for anybody to seek to topple the leadership of Nigeria’s Security architecture on the simplistic presumption and idiosyncratic excitement that SSCs and other Heads of Security agencies have not performed. Incidents of resurgent attacks and killings in parts of the country alone are not enough motivation to pass such a damning verdict on the President and SSCs.
Service and Security Chiefs are not political appointees. And since they function as apolitical appointees of the government, it harms immensely to decide their fate based on political expediency. As apolitical entities, the SSCs belong to different political persuasions in exercise of their civic rights and such rights should be respected in scrutinizing their stewardship. Sending the SSCs to Golgotha incited by political undertones as done by NASS days back amounted to rocking the boat for insane political permutations at the detriment of national security.
If we expect the best professional Military in Nigeria, then we must necessarily understand that stability of its leadership is very crucial to repositioning our Armed Forces. It mocks wisdom to crusade for the sack of SSCs because there is a surge in instigated armed criminalities. Nigeria is going through uneasy times, no doubt, but the panacea cannot and would never be sacking or changing the Heads of Security.
The world is replete with the finest examples of how a stabilized Military leadership nurture reforms to a level of deep entrenchment and excellence. And by this consistency, the Military is formidably honed to surmount seemingly intractable security challenges. The instance of America’s war veteran and diplomat, Gen. Collin Power comes handy for illustration. The Powell Doctrine was instituted during America’s most turbulent times with wars.
Powell’s headship of various top military commands saw him prosecuting 28 crises including the Persian Gulf War. In the crises era, he served variously as National Security Adviser; Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff and Commander US Army Forces. It is certain that America never had its upsets in the wars it fought; but it did not warrant the calls for Powell’s sack or claims that he was ineffective. He eventually won the wars for America.
So, the retention of SSCs by the President in war times is the best practice anywhere and a jurisdiction backed by antecedents in other climes. So, I do not subscribe to the obnoxious view that Mr. President has done something untoward or insecurity has resurged in Nigeria because the SSCs have overstayed in office. From whatever prism and nuance of consideration, the President or Commander- In- Chief looks at loyalty and usefulness of his SSCs to the country. This prerogative should not be violated by anybody.
Equally important is the need to realize that proper reforms can never be fully implemented in any organization within a span of four years as some have argued. Nigeria renders itself to this example in several agencies. To date and after four years, President Buhari is still finetuning the IPPIS in the federal service.
That our Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approximated perfection today; the Computer Based Test of Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) is taking shape and the African Development Bank (AfDB) is spreading its reach and meeting its core mandate is a product of the quality time availed the appointees of Mr. President. The Service Chiefs like every other appointee of Mr. President need time to institutionalize their reforms and for them to take firm roots in the system.
In the Nigerian Army specifically, the COAS and leader of the counter-insurgency operations, Lt. TY Buratai has raised the bar in reformations/innovations in the Army. There are ongoing reforms targeted at full professionalism in the Army, such as Army Female Corps, Human Rights Desk, creation of additional Army Divisions, resuscitation of Nigerian Army Artillery schools, Army Aviation School, the Nigerian Army University, Biu and introduction of numerous unique combat strategies in battling Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists.
The Army is also experimenting with innovations, as Gen. Buratai has embarked on Army agro-investments, welfare and empowerment schemes for soldiers, post retirement housing schemes, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives for host communities and lots more. These are not a day’s job. He needs more time to consolidate on these reforms /innovations and to finish the job. Therefore, sacking him or others now as wished by some Nigerians implies termination of these laudable projects mid-way.
Security is a vital aspect of our national life. It is as important as the oxygen we breathe. Therefore, it spares no room for trial and error. Truth be told, it is not everything done by the Service Chiefs to curtail the insurgencies has worked. But it is also outright falsehood to claim none has ever worked. The scenario is constantly monitored and improvements made for better performance as field operations intensify.
In life humanity perfects from experience. That’s why there was a time IDPs camp in Rann was mistakenly bombed by an Air Force jet. Lessons were learnt from the detestable incident and in the last four years, the Nigerian Military has not repeated the mistake. It means, the Military helmsmen have improved on the job.
We must discern clearly that what Mr. President has done to fish out these men and women as his SSCs must be exceptional and he deserves our commendation. I have no modicum of doubt that it is one area Nigeria has got it right under the Buhari administration.
Murphy is a security expert and contributed this piece from Calabar.
Is Nigeria Still Winning The War on Insecurity? – By Philip Agbese
Twine main polemics dominate national discourse on security issues in Nigeria. The first camp basically comprises ardent critics and opposition members who are hostile to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. To this club of Nigerians, enmeshed in a partial mindset, its more convenient to score the national government led by President Buhari and the ruling APC zero on security.
They claim since 2015, Buhari has proved pitiable helplessness in taming insecurities in the land, which in their perceptive view, rather escalates every day. This is altogether not unusual with opposition elements in any clime, which does not necessarily obviate the reality anyway.
There is another clan of people. They are the impartial and neutral set of Nigerians, who glowingly glorify President Buhari for impacting positively on the previously enervating insecurity in the nation. They argue most trenchantly that there is nowhere that insecurity in a country is completely conquered and the sense can only stick if it dawns on anyone that the United States of America, the United Kingdom and many others are still under the spell of terrorism.
It is utopian to think insecurities anywhere should end in a jiffy. Rather, it is reduced to the barest minimum as exemplified by President Buhari, if measured against the insecurity realities prior to his ascension to power in 2015.
These disparate and counter-reactive views on the insecurity situation in Nigeria have subsisted. However, all opposing camps accept that wild insecurity engulfed Nigeria and predated the administration of President Buhari. The anti-establishment analysts on security cite resurgent acts such as in Boko Haram/IWSAP terrorists; armed banditry, ethno-religious conflicts, organized and commercialized kidnapping and communal strifes to impulsively buttress their standpoint.
But the pro-establishment camp, whose voice aligns more to the truth, ancient wisdom and informed reason extrapolate that such erratic traces of insecurities are expected, normal and curbed gradually to ensure greater safety of lives and property. It is not difficult to discern the reality of an immolated insecurity by the ruling APC government led by President Buhari, despite intermittent resurgence of attacks and killings. Those who obstinately stick to views that nothing has changed on security in Nigeria under the Buhari Presidency deserve pity. It is certain that they are pretentious, prejudiced, sentimental or genuinely oblivious of its intensity before now.
The severity of insecurity threats to Nigeria was encapsulated in President Buhari’s 2020 New Year open letter to Nigerians tagged “Nigeria’s Decade;” He stated that “We have been fighting on several fronts: violent extremists, cultists and organized criminal networks. It has not been easy. But as we are winning the war, we also look to the challenge of winning the peace, the reconstruction of lives, communities and markets. The North East Development Commission will work with local and international stakeholders to help create a new beginning for the North East.”
The presidential perspective on insecurity in Nigeria is more clearly elucidated by the recent position of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) through its Secretary-General of ACF, Mr. Anthony Sani.
Appraising President Buhari’s administration on security of the nation, especially in Northern Nigeria where Boko Haram had engrained its reign of terror , the ACF said; “He, therefore, decided to confront the challenges and recorded some appreciable successes which consigned Boko Haram to fringes of the North East and their attacks were reduced to occasional suicide bombings using small girls. Consequently, the fears which hitherto overwhelmed the North gave way to hope and confidence that comes with normal life.”
Two elements can be deduced and denoted from the submissions of ACF, a body which also has Northern Nigeria as its primary constituency. The first is that Boko Haram and its later variation is no longer the severe nightmare of the entire North and, again, its atrocious activities have been consigned to the fringes of the Northeast equally being tackled. It is no less a reflection of the true reality. Truth be told that many Nigerians started enjoying this bliss from terrorism and allied criminalities as far back as 2016. There was a time armed banditry and cattle rustling sacked and permanently displaced natives in most states of the Northwest and same for monstrous militancy in the Niger Delta. The Nigerian Army’s series of special operations flushed out these criminal elements and restored peace and normalcy.
No one has ever argued that insecurity has deserted Nigeria terminally, but it is considerably tamed. Unfortunately, though, the relaxed tide in insecurities across the country has irked certain interests who believed the best style to de-market the administration of President Buhari is to infuse political dimension into security.
Therefore, apart from covertly recruiting and arming youths, while silently pursuing political ambitions, the consciousness of such plotters of breach of security has never reconciled with the reality of a changed scenario on the security trajectory.
As far back as 2016 signs to this effect manifested as trumpeted by the COAS and leader of the counter-insurgency operations, Lt. Gen. TY Buratai. He told an unsuspecting nation, which incidentally never spared a thought to his outbursts or acted appropriately that ”All these cries of insecurity which some groups and individuals are taking it as a political game I think they should have a rethink because it is no longer the case. ”
Interestingly, shadows of the induced and politically motivated insecurity in the country would later de-robe itself with public statements from prominent opposition members and their minions. In one of his campaign affronts on the Buhari Presidency in 2018, the 2019 PDP presidential candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar gave the inkling of politically induced insecurities, in a somewhat blackmailing fashion of Nigerians to magnate undeserved votes.
Atiku was blunt that if Nigerians fail to vote him as their President in 2019, insecurity and herdsmen killings in the country will continue. The statement smacked of the insight of an insider. But as usual Nigerians ignored him. It was only when Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorism and herdsmen bloodbath intensified in the months leading to the 2019 general elections that the full import of his utterances dawned on Nigerians. In protests to such devilry, Nigerians again massively reelected Buhari.
Nigerians were also appalled at the quantum of illegal/ smuggled arms and ammunition into the country in the build-up to the last general elections. Security agents impounded many of these illicit arms and ammunitions, at different points in the country. And to every sane mind, these arms in the possession of political thugs were actively used to cause electoral violence and killings in the few areas security vigilance relaxed. Most of those armed have retained these arms; after being abandoned by their masters.
They have turned the force and anger against innocent Nigerians by perpetrating all manner of crimes, attacks and killings. Last year, a bewildered President Buhari directed the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to mop us these arms, as indication of his perturbance.
In fact, each time these criminal armed gangs pull the trigger in mindlessly violent extermination of Nigerians, it is the opposition’s voice that is heard first. And it is usually rare in sympathy with victims of such attacks, but virulent castigation of the Buhari Presidency’s failings on securing lives and property of Nigerians. Even when external bodies which independently understudies the insecurity dilemma in Nigeria applauds Buhari’s efforts, opposition elements are quick to counter the narratives’ as false.
A recent report by the United States based Non-Governmental Organization by the identity, “Centre for Diplomacy and Democracy” praised President Buhari for standing up to the challenge of multiple insecurities. And Atiku again broke his silence.
After pouring invectives on the NGO, Atiku furiously stated that “President Buhari and the APC have shown without equivocation that the job at hand is overwhelming for them. And because they lack the basic clue of how to tame the bogey that they have created….”
A part from the jejune that drapes throughout the length and breath of the statement; the contents’ riled, rhymed, alluded and indeed, connoted the actualization of the plots on threats of insecurity Atiku reeled out before the general elections.
Whatever anybody thinks, and including the opposition elements, President Buhari and Nigeria are winning the war on insecurities. And like President Buhari remarked on 2020 New Year day epistle; “The Federal Government will continue to work with State Governors, neighbouring states and our international partners to tackle the root causes of violent extremism and the networks that help finance and organise terror. Our security forces will receive the best training and modern weaponry… We will use all the human and emerging technological resources available to tackle kidnapping, banditry and armed robbery.”
Agbese wrote this article from the United Kingdom.
NASS Debates: When Personal Interest Conquered Public Good – By Itodo Ikongbe
Though America can loosely be referred to as a crazy country, with its endearing epaulet of “God’s Own country, “notwithstanding. Some even derogatively call them “Yankees.”
But I admire the political cum leadership maturity and national patriotism of Americans in positions of authority. It is consistent with the disposition of Americans that national interest is elevated first before self-interests. American parliamentarians especially, have imbued it with canonical powers.
Except for a slight stroke of destiny, which locates Nigeria in the African geographical axis of the world, we are supposed to be like Americans and replicated their might. Our leaders would have been acting like Americans in leadership and private lives.
It amazes me why we are so miles apart from Americans despite the similarities we share. In keep wondering, while the gulf between us and Americans in perceptions, character and conduct. It’s worth brooding because America has crude oil and we have crude oil too. What else?
If America prides itself as “God’s Own country,” we also have our own symbol of such reverence, though of a smaller scale than America. Nigeria has its own version as a state. There is “God’s Own state,” we call Abia state. In worse case scenarios’, we shall use our small status of affinity with God to compete with Almighty America, the global policemen.
But we are a hapless race either by divine proclamation or by our own greedy designs. Therefore, from our own state of Abia in Southeast Nigeria births some of the most repugnant and black-hearted men, who either have ordained themselves as leaders or grab leadership or are simply anointed by unsuspecting people to lead them.
It is in Abia we have encountered a debauch by the identity of Nnamdi Kanu, who regales in leading a band of outlaws under the canopy of IPOB. When they operated freely, they were like cannibals. They could devour their own kith and kin once engulfed by slight, but unrestrained furiousness.
He has an elder uncle, who has supplanted himself in the upper chamber of the National Assembly (NASS) representing Abia South Senatorial district. He is identified as Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe and Senate minority leader.
Many mistook him as matured and so, could exhibit tendencies of maturity in character and utterances. But they were disappointed when Abaribe, while debating a sensitive national issue such as renewed spate of attacks and killings in parts of the country in Senate plenary last week condescended to personal emotions and partisanship.
He is a PDP senator, so, condensed the nucleus of the debate into an emotional partisan affair. He threw tantrums, daggers and swords at the ruling APC government of President Muhammadu Buhari under the guise of expressing anger over the resurgence of insecurities. But we alI knew, it was not from his heart. He was only playing the partisan emotions and sentimental card of the opposition PDP against the “failed,” APC national government.
So, Sen. Abaribe straightforwardly asked President Buhari to resign from office or be stoned by Nigerians in accordance with his promise during electioneering campaigns, since APC pledged to be stoned on account of failure upon assumption of office. And childishly, he mouthed that “stones” should be thrown at the party, following the insecurity realities in Nigeria now. He narrowed a national debate into infantile and imbecilic vibrations.
Abaribe’s utterances nevertheless provoked the ire of some Senators. And Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, representing Nasarawa West Senatorial district. He has to call for sanity to be restored into Sen. Abaribe’s thinking faculties. Adamu bellowed “I take exemptions to the contribution by the minority leader. Abaribe should be called to order. His call for the use of stone means weapon against the ruling party”.
Such was the only fecundity Sen. Abaribe infused into a sensitive national debate on security. And he had apostates in and outside the chambers who cheered him for speaking the “truth;” a truth only known to the clan of the Abaribes.
I expected no less or anything better from him as elder brother of the eccentric Nnamdi Kanu. Both hails from Abia state. I think the Almighty Creator visited partiality on Nigerians when He contemplated creating the two races-Americans and Nigerians. I guess, He was fair to America; but very unfair to Nigeria, as with the existence of “God’s Own state” in our country, we are faring worse.
To my utmost surprise, the debate was sustained on such trivialities enmeshed in emotions and the aggressive pursuits of personal or regional interests. Some Senators rebranded the insecurity problem with dictums such as “over-personalization” of security personnel. Whatever the phrased meant, only the Senators could decode.
Sen. Mrs. Betsy Apiafi of Rivers West’s only mania was the overstayed tenure of Service and Security Chiefs (SSCs) and its “illegality.” It was unarguably the dumbest contribution on the topic.
In the Southwest, a voice resonated. Sen. Ibikunle Amosun, representing Ogun Central Senatorial district was a bit tactful. But at the same time, exuded such emotions and personalized regional interests. I sensed subtle campaigns for Senate’s official seal of Amotekun, private security outfit baptized as Western Nigeria Security Network.
He said; “…the best thing to do is to allow every state to have their police but we will still have federal police.”I cannot laugh enough! The majority of Senators in this apparently deceptive games and clowning, at best were rewarded with a decision on the motion which a Senate resolution, passed a vote of no-confidence on the military, police and other security outfits in the country. This was their wisest panacea to the spate of renewed attacks and killings in Nigeria. Quite hilarious!
At the lower chamber, representatives played similar emotions, and personalized interests, while wittingly creeping into pretenses of debating national security interest. It was the funniest session ever, portraying lack of vision, focus and purpose, outside what the hunter caged in the hole for his personal family.
The motion sponsored by the Majority Chief Whip, Hon. Mohammed Monguno and 14 other lawmakers, very few Reps demonstrated the true Nigerian national spirit. Incidentally, Hon. Monguno is from the Northeast zone, ravaged by Boko Haram/ ISWAP terrorists.
I couldn’t discern whether he had personal scores to settle with any of the SSCs. But he instantly dropped the bombshell, by frowning at their failure of Service Chiefs to sustain the achievements recorded in tackling the insurgents’ activities particularly in Yobe and Borno states.
At least, he was a bit frank by his veiled insinuation that the SSCs appointed since July 13, 2015, at least harvested insurgents or did something worthwhile some time ago, in crushing insurgency. What an insightful testimony. But the overwhelming discordant voices of his colleagues never averred his words deep contemplation on this angle because it aligned or bowed too much to truth on SSCs from minds fixated on their disparagement.
Chairman, House Committee on Defence, Hon. Jimi Benson, animated the emotions of hatred and mockery of the SSCs and Mr. President. He said, “the National Security Adviser is from the North East and cannot get to his village. The Chief of Army Staff is also from the North East and cannot get to his village. The Chief of Air staff too. That speaks volume of their ability.”
Benson irately thundered; “ I don’t know why he has kept them since 2015 when they were first appointed. He (Buhari) should decide whether to continue to keep them or not. I believe the resolution here will prick his conscience.” It never occurred to him that the issue of national security was not confined to Mr. President or the SSCs alone, but he had an active role to play as a national lawmaker for impacts.
Both Hon. Francis Waive and Hon. Abubakar Fulata flawed on same idiosyncrasies. In their warped wisdom, since all the SSCs have overstayed and have lost efficiency, all should be withdrawn and replaced with fresh hands. It was their only antidote. I wondered whether they ever know the implication of pulling out all security personnel from a warzone simultaneously for whatever reason.
How is elongated service of SSCs affected efficiency and they explained, as “tiredness.” How could anybody for any reason argue for a soldier’s fatigue in the frontlines and withdrawal on such lame excuse? Its unheard off. May be, the legislators had relations in the Military, whom they enlisted into the forces through the backdoor and now deployed to Northeast. Perhaps, they secretly clamoured to their elder uncles in the corridors of power like the legislators to influence their come back home. So, Waive and Fulata discreetly argued to push this possibility.
And to Hon. Tobi Okechukwu, it was an undisguised resort to the 2019 campaign slogans of the PDP, castigating the APC. “Why invest heavily on “trader-moni” instead of adequately funding security agencies,” he seemed to whine. But the power to reverse this perceived negative indulgence also rests in the hands of the legislature, his official constituency.
Initially, Minority leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu staged out perfectly. He assessed the problem of insecurity from nationalist lenses, gunning for more investments in equipment for security agencies, but floundered midway.
He thereafter, toed the footprints of the crowd of ungifted legislators, lashing out at the SSCs as devoid of good example. But a warfront is not a monastery, where the etiquettes of morality constitutes part of tutorials. What exactly was on his mind?
Not long thereafter, he blow out his emotions thus; “the best thing for them (SSCs)to do is to take a bow and go. If you don’t know when to leave, then you will be eased out…. People are stealing money and not doing what they are supposed to do.”
But if people are allegedly stealing money voted for counter-insurgency operations, who should be the whistle blower? It is the same Rep and other colleagues’ through oversight functions. So, have they reneged on duty? He craftily escaped without touching the actual setbacks of gross underfunding of Security agencies in the age of insurgencies. And the blackmail of SSCs ricocheted on the initiator, one might say.
An overhaul of the motions, the debates and resolutions by NASS over insecurities, leading to calls for the resignation of President Buhari; voluntary retirement of SSCs or their sack by Mr. President never answered to any genuine interrogation of the insecurity quagmire. It notoriously pandered to emotions, partisan, regional and personal interests of the national parliamentarians.
It inextricably left me with a poisonous killer hole in a weakened heart already gasping for breath. The tenor on the motion on national security debates clearly indicated a perfect example of a people fighting their emotions at one end; while others fought to illuminate or deepen their pockets.
I remember sometime recently that an Honourable member declared being a breadwinner to a family of four wives and 27 children. That is already nearly the size of three football teams and enough to make up a federal constituency in a place like Bayelsa state. One can therefore understand that the family and neighbours definitely need money which must flow from the parliamentary chambers.
Insinuations were rife that lawmakers were lobbied with $3,000 each to sponsor and serve Nigerians the motion. I was really shocked to watch all the plenary gibberish on TV, as if some of those who made up the majority members of the blackmailing resolutions are not from the Northeast or severed from this world or were not in this country in 2015.
But the concern of lawmakers is not with the time a university is being built in the local government area of one of the Service Chiefs, the plots to diminish his leadership aura are thick.
Is God really not wonderful? That under President Buhari the Police college at Gwoza is preparing to take off again after the Army renovated it? Ah! Maybe, it will be a sort of miracle to also remind these legislators that whilst many of them were chasing the mermaids in Wuse 2 at nights, and thereafter, instigating the police to arrest them for prostitution, our military were busy holding their annual sporting event in the demystified Sambisa forest hitherto dreaded by soldiers and civilians alike.
If all these are not miracles enough, let me also point out another shameful aspect of their lives as parliamentarians. Whilst they were busy calling for impeachment signatures at a lounge in Maitama, our military were busy rescuing women and children from the Boko Haram/ISWAP captivity in the Northeast, with backing from the police, DSS and even Civilian Joint Task Force members.
I make it abundantly clear to NASS that though the debate hinged on the ntional sensitive topic of insecurity and killings, it still never obfuscated the fact that parliamentarians were more emotional and personalized interests antithetical to issues centered on national security.
It explains why, NASS never gave attention to the ingenuity of the minority members who constantly voiced out on poor funding of security agencies; inadequate personnel, lack of standard equipment; poor officially approved welfare packages for troops at the frontline and absence of incentives to security personnel. But with time, every one would carry his cross.
Ikongbeh is a parliamentary staff and wrote from the National Assembly.
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