In its haste to stop Chief MKO Abiola from claiming his crown, the military administration of Ptrsident Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida came up with spurious,
often contradictory, excuses for voiding the June 12, 1993 election. Those who voted against Chief Abiola but believed he deserved the crown wondered why, with the preponderance of ‘brains’ in the IBB crowd, the administration foundered so perilously in rationalising its action when all it needed to do was to refer Nigerians to Chief Abiola’s election day outfit!
Chief Abiola literally annulled his own election when he was caught on camera voting on June 12, 1993, in ‘’to match’’ flowing white babanriga and white cap, both emblazoned with the unicorn emblem of his party, the SDP or Social Democratic Party! This was a clear infraction on the electoral law but which never featured when Nduka Irabor, chief press secretary to then vice president, late Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, announced the annulment on June 22, 1993 and afterwards when other officials lamely rationalised the annulment.
Flowing from above is that ambition and desperation have a way of pushing people to misstep. Away from IBB and MKO! In June, last year, Nigerians were treated to another high wire political drama when Yakubu Dogara and Bukola Saraki conspired to defy their political party in the choice of leadership of the National Assembly. It may not be known, at least for now, the truth in insider opinion that Bukola Saraki, as prime mover of the conspiracy, merely enlisted Yakubu Dogara and known blacklegs in the House of Representatives to give the conspiracy some dubious respectability.
But in Dogara, we now know conspirators too have the semblance of conscience! While senato Saraki ensured possible opponents were clearly out of the way before getting himself elected with forged laws, Dogara did not have do any of these as he got himself elected in the presence of the full house! Aware of the gravity of the offence of forgery, Dogara in his conspiracy did not have to go to the extent of forging any House rules to get elected. This does not make Dogara a lesser conspirator; it just goes to suggest that the man has a conscience that could prick!
At issue here is Dogara’s recent harsh anti-graft sermon! The way he spoke, anyone could have been forgiven for mistaken Dogara for some bearded, tough-talking and table-banging rights activist or anti-corruption crusader and not the leader of a mixed bag house of decent and sure-footed majority and a confused, gibbering minority! The revelations in Speaker Dogara’s sermon which should normally receive excellent review by the normally-ebullient Nigerian press was treated as any one-off, below-average stuff mainly because of its source. Strange?
No! This is because very few people want to have anything to do with conspirators, no matter their level of decency! From the look of things, lesser conspirators (permit the choice of words) are beginning to deal with bigger conspirators from a safe distance. This is the only reason why Speaker Dogara could rustle feathers and unsettle co-conspirators by coming down so heavily on corruption! What was he driving at? Didn’t the House speaker know some of his co-travellers in the June 2015 conspiracy at the national Assembly are neck-deep in corruption?
He knew all along! Truth is, Speaker Dogara has, through his stinging sermon shown that he is a conspirator with class. Whether Dr. Bukola Saraki can ever thumb down corruption is better imagined. Rather, his carriage thus far suggests the senate president does not believe corruption should be killed before it kills Nigeria! Until they get the shock of their lives, very few scandal-prone people resist the urge to dip their hands in the till.
Nothing could be as frustrating as a well-meaning government being forced into an unholy alliance with officials and officers of government who glamourise corruption. As Nigerians have come to realise, dishonest politicians who joined the APC did so with the hope that their crimes will continue to be swept under the carpet. It was their failure to read the political climate correctly that led to the June, 2015, conspiracy at the national Assembly.
Even with his back to the wall, there are lazy political neophytes who argue that Senator Bukola Saraki should not be humiliated with a trial because of his contribution to the success of the APC! Of course, this argument would have been tenable had President Muhammadu Buhari concluded a deal to shield treasury looters in exchange for their support! If there was such a deal, perhaps this is the right time for the lazy Saraki-is-right senators to publish it! Otherwise, they should defect en masse and activate impeachment moves against the president as they threatened!
Honestly, vacuous threats, especially by featherbedded lawmakers, are the least of the concerns of Nigerians! And, if truth be told, some members of the Nigerian senate have earned their status as being unfit for the role expected of them! What serious-minded individuals, lawmakers at that, will defend and glamourise corruption the way it is being done by some so-called Nigerian senators? What decent lawmaker will issue foolish and empty threats to people who seek to sanitize a rotten system?
It is not unusual for Dr. Bukola Saraki to surround himself with fly-by-night characters as has become his practice. Now, what good can ever come out of people whose buddies include roughnecks like Dino Melaye? If truth be told, some of the Saraki-is-right senators are worse than the man they are defending with a number of them simply out on bail with pending corruption cases hanging on their necks. One cardinal rule by which looters operate and, which the conmen in the Saraki-is-right camp are sticking to, is never to be caught napping!
These guys are not issuing threats, insulting others and fighting and disgracing themselves because they like the smooth face of Bukola Saraki! No! After all, theirs are no less smoother faces than their hero’s. Truth is, they are fighting to save their own smooth skins because they know an effective anti-graft war and successful prosecution of the senate president represent a dangling hammer! For obvious reasons, this is a fate that is unlikely to befall Speaker Dogara!
For obvious reasons too, historians will not be in short supply of facts when the history of the Nigeria’s National Assembly comes to be documented. The eighth National Assembly, with its jesting cast and risible legislative antics has adequately taken care of that.
Magaji is based in Abuja and can be reached at <email@example.com>