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Invasion of Akwa Ibom assembly by anti-democratic forces

Invasion of Akwa Ibom assembly by anti-democratic forces
November 21
06:50 2018

BY WILLIAM IYANG

Anybody who loves Nigeria should be worried about what is happening in Akwa State right now. This is certainly not a time to fold our hands and pretend that all is well in Nigeria. Democracy is at risk in Nigeria. That is why lovers of democracy should arise in unison to condemn the attack on the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and its subsequent invasion by the police and other security agencies.

It all started on Monday when thugs believed to have been sponsored by the ALL progressives Party invaded the Assembly complex, stopping members from gaining access to the building. Expectedly, the police came and restored normalcy and the lawmakers eventually sat to conduct the business of the day.

But not long after, APC Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, issued a statement condemning the action of the then police commissioner, John Abang, who he accused of being political. He directly accused the commissioner of refusing to carry out APC’s orders to provide security cover that will enable three legally sacked members of the 26-member legislature to effect a change of leadership. This makes one to ask the party chairman the justification for his assertion. Is he saying that it is right for thugs to invade a House of Assembly in the first instance or is he saying that it is wrong for the police to provide security at a time of chaos?

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Oshiomhole would need to tell Nigerians where the police chief missed it. Should Nigeria still be going through this kind of mess in the 21st century; and to imagine that this kind of rascality could have a tinge of official approval is to say the least shameful. Nigeria ought to have moved away from this level of backwardness. How can thugs be evading Houses of Assembly stopping elected members from performing their duties in the 21st century? It is no longer news that the Inspector General of Police has redeployed CP John Abang and replaced him with a new CP, Hyelasinda Musa Kimo.

Of course, the first assignment that Kimo performed was to take over the State House of Assembly, thus creating tension and escalating the siege mentality in the state. Now, thugs, backed by the police, have taken over the premises, disrupting legislative activities, harassing staff members and hindering them from performing their responsibilities.

The Federal Government- led APC has never hidden its desire to take over Akwa Ibom State. Its former chairman, Odigie Oyegun, had earlier said years back that the party could not afford to leave the oil rich state in the hands of the opposition PDP. To APC, the state has all the money required to fund its party being the largest oil producing oil state in the country.

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According to reports, the thugs that invaded the Assembly complex on Monday based their action on a court order that vacated the seat of Idongesit Ituen for cross carpeting to another political party without an acceptable reason in law.

The PDP has said the Federal Government is deliberately instigating violence in the state in its bid to create an impression that Akwa Ibom State has become ungovernable to open the way for a declaration of a state of emergency in order to dismantle all democratic structures and forcefully take over control of the state. The party can rarely be faulted for taking this position at this point in time.

A former governor of the state, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who recently defected to APC, has been chanting war songs since he left PDP. He also reportedly masterminded the attack on the House of Assembly. Yet, all that the APC government could do was to blame the police commissioner for restoring peace and removing him less than one month after being posted to the state.

Are we saying court orders should no longer be obeyed? Any society that does not have respect for the rule of law has no future. Violence is the weapon of the weak. They use it to cover their inadequacies. If the opposition has started sponsoring thugs to evade House of Assembly now what they will do in 2019 is better left unimagined.

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It is bad enough that thugs have always been used by politicians during campaigns but to now elevate them to the point of attempting to stop legislative sessions is dangerous.

The other time, thugs invaded the Ondo State House of Assembly and prevented the members from sitting. Where is Nigeria heading to- all in the name of politics?

Imagine a situation where thugs are now supreme, even above security agencies in the country. They have lost respect even for the police. And with the open support that thugs now enjoy from Abuja, even the most conscientious policeman will be afraid to do their job.

Sincerely, this shouldn’t be the case in any 21st century nation. Are we in banana republic? To now think that these same Nigerians will waste their energy condemning US President, Donald Trump, for referring to the nation as a shit hole country is laughable.
How do people want anyone in a sane society to assess Nigeria if our politicians still use thugs to fight political wars?

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All these thugs are taking their cue from what is happening at the national level. Just this year, hooded DSS operatives attempted to sack even the National Assembly. That is novel even in the history of democracy in Nigeria. One just wonders why Nigeria would want to be known for the bad reasons in the world.

This government is toying with Nigeria’s progress, democracy and growth. We can’t afford to be a lawless country. Government should not be seen to be backing official recklessness and lawlessness as it is being done in Nigeria today. No, this must not continue.

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If APC is sure of having the support of the people, it should keep calm, and allow Nigerians to choose who to rule them in peace. Using the weapon of intimidation and violence as being done in Akwa Ibom will not work.

If Senator Godswill Akpabio really loves his people as he claims to, he should stop resorting to violence to get their votes. Part of the problem in Nigeria is that thugs by their orientation don’t engage their senses before they take action. Otherwise, they should have asked themselves where politicians that hire them keep their own children. Politicians will keep their own children in safe havens in different parts of the world and engage thugs to destabilize the country and get killed in the process like ordinary rats.

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It is no longer news that Senator Akpabio has vowed that the APC will take over Akwa Ibom State the same way Hitler overran Poland. He has sworn that “war shall see Warsaw and Warsaw shall see war” in Akwa-Ibom state. Whatever could have pushed Akpabio to declare war on his people still beats one’s imagination.

Somebody that says Warsaw will see war cleverly hides his own children from war and you now subject others to unnecessary violence for personal gains and to say that some people still sheepishly follow such persons doesn’t make sense at all.

Akwa Ibom state needs an atmosphere of peace to keep the goal of Governor Udom Emmanuel of industrializing the state a continued reality. The people can feel the gains in the last three and half years. And they are yearning for more.

In a normal situation, Akpabio should have been questioned by security agencies for making such statements but with the turn of events in Akwa Ibom, it is becoming clearer that this is the official statement of the APC and the Federal Government against peaceful Akwa Ibom all in the name of taking over power.

There have been insinuations that the Federal Government is planning to make Akwa Ibom State ungovernable so that elections won’t hold in the state. Since the APC led Federal Government is desperate to get the oil rich state by all means, well, the onus is on the Federal Government to prove peddlers of this information wrong.

Now that the Federal Government has officially blocked access of lawmakers to the Akwa Ibom State of Assembly in order to provide cover for expelled lawmakers to sit, It’s difficult to doubt people that believe this is the prelude of a pre-meditated plot by the Presidency and the APC to initiate, facilitate and superintend a mayhem and bloodletting in peaceful Akwa-Ibom, the consequences of this actions notwithstanding.

People should have the freedom to choose whoever they want to lead them. That is the beauty of democracy. The Federal Government should leave the oil-rich states in Nigeria to decide allow which party they want to be in power in their states.

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