By Kayode Ketefe
“Use power to help people. For we are given power not to advance our own purposes, nor to make great show in the world, nor a name. There is but one just use of power – to serve the people” This inspiring lines were issued by the former President of the United States, George Bush, while trying to underscore the purpose of political power.
Bush might be speaking to the present generation of Nigerian leaders. It is undeniable, if unfortunate, reality today that most Nigerians entrusted with powers abuse it. Their problem could be located in deep-rooted psychological misconception of power as an instrument for personal aggrandisement and vanity.
The fact that all is not well with the dynamics of political power in Nigeria was markedly highlighted on Monday when four Northern governors, Rabiu Kwankaso (Kano) Babangida Aliyu (Niger) Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto) and Sule Lamido (Jigawa) who claimed they were disturbed by the state of the nation “reported” President Goodluck Jonathan to two former Presidents, (General Ibrahim Babangida and General Abdusalami Abubakar.
The governors had alleged that President Jonathan had engaged in a number of actions which are heating the polity.
The latest in the precariousness of power equation in Nigeria which is governors pointedly referred is the saddening crisis in Rivers State which has kept ratcheting up with calamitous consequences. Some local powerbrokers apparently emboldened by exogenous capacities have taken it upon themselves to bring down the government of Rt. Hon Chibuike Amaechi, or at least undermine his authority by making state ungovernable through chaos and anarchy.
We had recently seen how five lawmakers had attempted to impeach the Speaker in the house composing 32 legislators; we had seen the fighting that led to hospitalisation of many lawmakers.
Such was degree of anarchy that common thugs were on Tuesday July 16, 2013, reported to have taken over the roads leading to the Port Harcourt Airport and thus prevented four reigning state governors (governors of Adamawa, Jigawa, Kano and Niger) from visiting Amaechi in Governor’s Lodge in his capacity as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
It is shameful that the legitimate authority of a democratically elected state government could be so wantonly desecrated while the whole of Nigeria purports to be under a democracy. The Rivers impasse is an indelible blight on our self-governing system and put a worrisome question mark on the credibility of our democracy.
Accusation and counter-accusations have been made on the role played by the Federal government in the Rivers State anarchy, with Amaechi putting the blame on the presidency. The latter has characteristically denied telepathic engineering of this embarrassing crisis or even clandestine involvement in it.
The brazen ways the brigands in Rivers discountenance the constituted authorities while embarking on lawless rampaging leaves nobody in doubt they are puppets of some unseen hands. Even a child of two knows that the kind of high level intrigues which spawned the hitherto unquenched Rivers crisis could not occurred spontaneously, they were masterly crafted with insidious intent and for political purpose.
The State Police command was said to be absolutely incapacitated to the extent that those who are perpetrating mayhems no longer have to worry about the state police, it was even rumoured that they were getting the protection of the state police command!
Individual potentates were all enmeshed in this gory drama which would surely consign all participants to different places in history.
It seems very strange the present federal government which has faced the greatest internal insurrection in the history of Nigeria (aside the civil war) in the form of Boko Haram would still allow an appalling situation like the one Rivers State to unfold.
President Jonathan’s administration has been leniently judged by most Nigerians who voted him into power on the sympathetic grounds that the escalating insecurity problem in the land is being sponsored by those who have vowed to make his government ungovernable.
If the Nigerian had forgiven the central government, for its failure to provide welfare and security which is the primary purpose of governance, should the government then allow unnecessary anarchy to compound the intractable ones
Even if we accept its professed neutrality in the Rivers State impasse, this hardly exculpates the presidency.
This is because the entire institutions with the coercive powers of the state like the police, the Army, the State Security Service etc with the capacity to arrest criminality and restore sanctity are centrally controlled by the Federal government, so from whatever angle one looks at it, the breakdown of law and order to such a degree we witnessed in Rivers State is an indictment of the Federal Government. That is the reason many Nigerians believe that the crisis in Rivers State can only be quenched by the Federal Government if it musters the sincere political will to do so.
The people of Rivers State people who voted for democracy definitely deserved a better deal than this; they are the ones directly bearing the socio-economic loss and political emasculation. Therefore, the Federal government, for the sake of posterity, good people of Rivers State, image of Nigeria and respect for rule of law and democracy, must find immediate solution to the lingering impasse.
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