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No tears for Tambuwal

There is absolutely no need to swallow analgesics for other people’s headaches. That legislators were putting to test their gate climbing and trekking skills may…

There is absolutely no need to swallow analgesics for other people’s headaches. That legislators were putting to test their gate climbing and trekking skills may be news – again – but not impressive, neither did the police action of smoking the overfed legislooters from their comfort zones. Sorry, my sympathy glands are clogged.
I was there when Ghali Umar, Anyim Pius and others now enjoying their retirements return to the Dome at night to doctor a law properly passed by both houses of their chambers to suit their then commanding officer. Not one of them was charged for the highest level of legislative misdemeanour. I was there when weather-beaten Naira notes were poured on the mace at the Green Chamber – ostensibly bribe money from the executhief. Nobody has been charged or prosecuted for the misdemeanour. I watched later day campaigner, Dino Melaye go to the chamber in starched and ironed kaftan and return in rags and tatters like students on a rag day parade. We have forgotten that the late Chuba Okadigbo once boasted that he took the mace to Ogwunike where it is being guarded by pythons. Were we outraged then? Yes.
We were outraged when governors formed an association, using it as a bargaining chip. Under our very noses, we saw a mathematical calculation that could make WAEC review its grading procedure where 16 was greater than 19 and the result was marked as correct. What did our sense of outrage change? If anything, it fuelled a similar mathematical equation in the Rivers State House of Assembly and recently in Ekiti State. The only difference was that IG Suleiman Abba had not constituted his clairvoyant intelligence report to stop that denigration of our sense of worth.
On the scale of relevance vis-à-vis the overhead cost to our nascent democracy, the only thing that gladdened my heart is that the police smoked the legislooters and beat them to a retreat just as they do students when they protest lack of basic amenities. The time to be outraged has passed. We ought to be outraged when 219 girls disappeared in one night against their will but we doubted that it was true and tagged those campaigning for their release enemies of state. We should be outraged that 16 local governments are potently under Boko Haram and that not even Nasarawa, Benue or Plateau are safe from daily killings. So please tell me, how I am supposed to be shocked that the Speaker’s orderlies were withdrawn. The security that every government owes its citizenry have been withdrawn for so long without protest.
To my recollection citizens only tolerate the police because they have no alternative, they see each of us as objects for target practice. Let’s do a random rundown. Dele Udoh was an athlete who returned home from an America spoilt rotten with the concept of ‘rights’. In 1981, he was shot dead at a checkpoint around Ojuelegba for arguing with a policeman. In 1987, Sule and Saka Dawodu were murdered by Constable Eze Ibe. Their deaths sparked off riots. Nothing changed. Even after being found responsible for the death of Apo Six, DC Danjuma Ibrahim is a free man.
Our police is not the people’s friend, it is a reserve force for intimidation, and an organ kitted to sustain the prevailing status quo. Uniformed people are randomly used to harass, detain and settle scores. This July, four mass transit buses were torched in Lagos by irate soldiers. It’s a city where commercial bus operators know that it is better to forfeit their fares and live than deny uniformed passengers their free ride.
So what is new about Thursday’s show of shame is not the show itself, but the way the tides are turning. The big guns in their fight for social relevance are now subjects of reverse harassment. It may be skewed against the opposition now – Nasir el-Rufai in Anambra, Rotimi Amaechi versus Mbu and later armed soldiers in Ekiti. Now it’s Aminu Tambuwal. The insouciant ruling class now suffers autoimmune disease because they have failed to erect structures of justice even within their parties. Their quest to jump camp to perpetuate their social relevance at all costs would cost them their prestige.
It’s our turn to watch and laugh at the realisation that finally the cancer that eats up our progress and prevents collective wrath is eating itself. With the heat on them, they might start to see and feel what it tastes like to be at the receiving end of bad governance and reduce their convoys, sirens, large escorts to do their primary duty – keep law and order. Start living small and you won’t feel it when you’re placed where you truly belong.

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