VANGUARD, 9 March 2020
By Owei Lakemfa
IN a land sycophancy struts. A clime truth is forced to walk on its head. Terrestrial men and women say yes to power. In a climate of distrust where fake and false news are in unholy matrimony. A place the Rubber Stamp Assembly, RSA, proclaims itself the patron saint of accountable governance. It is the patriot that stands to speak truth to power.
In a country leaders assure the people of ‘adequate measures in place’ where in reality there are no measures. Where the masses are assured of ironclad security whereas the guardians are sleeping on duty or squabbling. It takes the guts of the patriot to call a spade by its true name.
In a nation where the people are admonished to deify rather than defy the leader, and falsehood is spread like butter over hot bread to feed the hungry with false hopes, it beholds on the patriot to stand for the truth and point at the clay feet of the god. Indeed, no man is ripe enough to be a god or be worshipped.
In this land and milieu, the word spread from Udi Hills to Jos Plateau, Olumo Rock to Aso Rock, the Sahara Desert to the Niger Delta that Enyinnaya Harcourt, the son of Abaribe, the Senate Minority Leader, stood up in the hallowed chambers of the Red Chamber in the Three Arms Zone where transient power built its sanctuary.
He raised his frame in the National Assembly where lots of buying and selling take place, and the Distinguished and the Honourables on behalf of the masses, eat and drink the fine wines from the orchards of constituency projects and the lush green farms of oversight functions. Abaribe bellowed above the din and cacophony of power-drunken voices to tell truth to power.
In the culture of the prophets of old, Abaribe said: “We did not vote the IG of police, we did not vote the Chief of Staff or other security chiefs, we voted the government of APC in 2015 and re-elected them in 2019 because they told us they have the key to security.
Today, the APC government has failed because people are being killed anyhow. If you want to deal with a matter, you first go to the head. We can go to the APC government and ask this government to resign. And we want to tell the government that if it does not resign, we shall have no option than to go with stones to pursue it.”
He went on: “When I was coming, I saw a newspaper headline of Thisday, the Commander-in-Chief expresses shock at the level of violent crime, in other words, Mr President was expressing surprise… I can only say in pidgin English ‘this surprise, surprise me”.
As trained local and foreign fighters run around the country terrorising, kidnapping, carrying out unspeakable massacres and building safe havens for banditry, Abaribe said this is because: “… certain people did not do their work but preferred to cover the eyes of Nigerians with propaganda and trying to find all these excuses for non-performance…Those who live by propaganda will die by propaganda”.
He would not be quietened by shouts of “Order! Order!! Order!!!” because he was in order and those who were out of order are those leading the country to the abyss. Nor did he give heed to the interruptions by Senate President Ahmad Lawan that this was “Hate Speech”.
Abaribe’s words like an earthquake shook the foundations of the National Assembly and the nearby Aso Rock Presidential Villa. The Presidency, one of whose senior officials called Abaribe a “Buffoon” replied, not with explanations, but squad missiles: “President Buhari to resign on what basis? Just because some characters think that President Buhari should resign, then they expect him to quit. That call does not represent the opinion of the country. This is the opinion of an armchair critic, known for making stray comments.
“If a leader like President Buhari needs to resign, there are millions of other Nigerians who need to resign, including Senator Abaribe who unlocked the door to enable the escape of traitorous and treasonable suspects. He signed the bond for the court to release Nnamdi Kanu on bail, from which moment the suspect disappeared into the thin air.
Senator Abaribe has failed repeated deadlines to return Kanu to the court for trial, yet he has the effrontery with which to accuse someone of failing to do the bidding of the law. This is a man who should have replaced the suspects he failed to produce in the correctional facility. Abaribe’s party raped the nation and left it collapsing in 2015 and President Buhari is fixing things up all the years he is in office. ”
The Presidency followed these claims with its usual fairy tales: “President Buhari is working hard to keep Nigeria and Nigerians out of the harm terrorists have unleashed in the entire Sahel and sub-Saharan Africa; with the support of Nigerians and our foreign friends, he is going to finish off these terrorists. He alone can do it.” You see, our superman President alone, without the armed forces, police, security forces and fellow Nigerians, he alone, can finish off the terrorists who for over ten years, have engaged our country and neighbours.
In the Presidency’s unguarded responses were loads of threats, including to take over the functions of the Judicial arm and send Abaribe to prison on a matter the Federal High Court, Abuja had freed him. However, the African warrior who fought three impeachment proceedings against him when he was Imo State deputy governor, would neither retreat nor surrender.
He looked the Presidency in the eye, and gave a memorable response: “The Igbo man doesn’t kneel for anybody except his Chi” The Chi, being his god. He implied that patriotic Nigerians will not worship any human being because we are all equal before God. In other words, that we bow only to God, not any mortal. The Buhari Presidency which is quick to retort to everything is yet to respond to this; it is in a long search for a response.
In This Day of Our Lord, I rise to join my Fellow Nigerians in saluting the uncommon courage, sense of purpose and manifest patriotism of Enyinnaya Harcourt, the son of Abaribe. I assure him that as long as he does not deviate from the principles he is associated with, we the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria having firmly and solemnly resolved to promote the good government and welfare of all persons in our country on the principles of Freedom, Equality and Justice, and asserting our sovereignty above all persons, powers and principalities, assure Abaribe: “You shall not walk alone!”