The recent threat by the Nassarawa State House of Assembly to impeach the state governor, Tanko Al-Makura of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) reminds one of the maxim that “the more things change, the more they remain the same”. Reading the story took me back to the second republic politics of old Kaduna State when a National Party of Nigeria (NPN) dominated House of Assembly fought a war of attrition with the Peoples Redemption (PRP) governor of the state.
The then NPN swept the country like a gale picking states at will particularly the northern states but could not win the mother lode – the old Kaduna state. It was a shocker for the NPN and its candidate, Lawal Kaita, who to all intents and purposes was just waiting to be crowned. While the NPN swept almost all the seats in the legislature, it performed woefully losing the gubernatorial seat to a little known accountant – Balarabe Musa. This was unacceptable to the NPN and so began the ‘war’, which led to Balarabe’s impeachment. The people of the state were the worst for it because in the two years that Mallam Balarabe Musa lasted, he was not allowed to perform optimally with distractions coming from the House of Assembly. Be as it may, the PRP government was able to establish some industries like the Kachia Ginger factory and the Ikara Food Processing Company.
We can only guess what the state lost by the antics of the NPN, but from the little that was delivered by Mallam Bala, we can hazard a guess as to the unquantifiable loss the state experienced with his impeachment. Balarabe Musa operated without commissioners for the duration of his stay in office but many people still revere him for his performance and he still remains a reference point for good governance. The shenanigans taking place in Nassarawa state since the ascension of Al-Makura to the governor’s office reminds one of how the NPN scuttled people’s dreams because of the selfishness of the party and its members in 1981. In the run-up to the 2011 general elections, Tanko Al-Makura a founding member of the PDP decamped to the newly registered CPC to actualise his ambition of leading Nassarawa Sate as governor, which he couldn’t realise in the PDP. In a scene reminiscent of Kaduna in 1979, the PDP won almost all the elections held in 2011 and then lost the governorship to the CPC and Al-Makura. The PDP holds Al-Makura responsible for its loss in Nassarawa State.
From the day Al-Makura was sworn to the present moment, the governor has not known peace from his legislators who are supposed to be his partners in carrying the state forward. He has been jumping from one booby trap to the other. The legislators once boycotted their legislative functions for the ridiculous reason that the governor refused to furnish their chamber – a contract awarded by the erstwhile governor when most of them were in the legislature. But the recent threat to impeach the governor within seven days beat all else. How does a fight between two ethnic groups constitute an impeachable offence beats my imagination. Much as I try to see reason and logic in the threat, I couldn’t find any. Nigeria has been practically on fire since Goodluck Jonathan became president but I cannot remember anyone threatening him with impeachment.
Ethnic and religious violence has been the hallmark of elite rivalry and has been destroying the country and tearing the nation apart and any right thinking Nigerian is trying to find solutions to these senseless killings and destructions going on. To try to trivialise such a grave issue is tantamount to irresponsibility. The PDP like politicising issues that they believe will advance its cause even if lives may be lost. This attitude is exactly why you have pockets of clashes all over the country. Authorities concerned are not interested in addressing critical questions but rather try to gain political points from such. The recent misadventure by the group called Ombatse in Nassarawa state that led to the lost of lives of innocent Nigerians, some ordinary travellers, should under normal, rational circumstances elicit condemnation by the State House of Assembly and a call on the authorities (state and federal) to arrest and prosecute the leaders of the group. But no. The PDP see the disturbance of a way of issuing threats and may be finally get rid of Al-Makura, whose only offence seems the bruising of PDP’s dirty nose in the dirt.
The legislators accused the governor of lacking “competence to response to emergencies, and has shown complete disdain for the courtesy of extending relief to thousands, including women and their children, as well as the elderly, often displaced by the fast spreading violence”. I hope federal legislators from Borno and Yobe states are listening and will take a cue from the Nassarawa State legislators. The people of the two states (Borno and Yobe) should ask their representatives on why they are yet to issue impeachment threats against the president. Goodluck Jonathan has not for once visited these hapless people to even show empathy, much less extend “relief”. While he is not busy to attend the 40th pastoral anniversary of Ayo Oritsejafor, he is always busy to visit Borno and Yobe despite the unparalleled lost of lives and destruction of economic activities in the two states under his watch.
Al-Makura was also accused by the majority leader in the House, Godiya Akwasiki, of “failing to comply with previous House resolutions to act on the raging violence and has folded his hands to watch while the people were daily being killed”. May be I don’t get the meaning of this allegation, but are they talking about the president or Nassarawa State governor?
The NPN held the people Kaduna State to ransom and denied them the chance to be led by a bonafide welfarist. Now it appears it is the turn of Nassarawa State and its people to be treated to the fascist’s treatment by the offshoot of the NPN. I see the fascism that drove Balarabe Musa out of office in 1981 at play in Nassarawa State in 2012. But if the state legislators should be foolhardy to go ahead with their threat, National Assembly members should be on notice to kick out Goodluck for the fact that while Nigeria is on fire he is playing modern day Nero – drinking expensive wine in place of Nero’s fiddle.
If the PDP as an institution wants to play this type of brinkmanship, why don’t they start with the presidency? At least they are in control of the National Assembly. To selectively single out Al-Makura for such a threat smacks of arrogance and bad bele. This should be unacceptable to Nigerians wherever they may be. We should not allow dictatorship creep in on us wearing the garb of law and order. Granted that Al-Makura must, as the chief security officer of the state, ensure the prevalence of peace, harmony and peaceful co-existence amongst and between the disparate people of the state. But this must be applicable to the federal government that controls all security agencies.