Lawmakers, the mace is not for the skull


Class, today’s lesson is on elementary democratic practice, so repeat after me: the mace, class: the mace; is for order under constituted authority, class: is for order under constituted authority. The mace, class: the mace; is not for the skull, class: is not for the skull. Clap for yourselves. Pai, pai, papapa, pai!
This is where we should start. We started from the top and 14 years after, the fundamentals aren’t learnt yet. So procedure is wrong and outcome dangerous. What our lawmakers do well is relish USA trips to learn presidential democracy, cash the cash, wear the toga ‘honourable’ but leave what’s learnt behind. At the least democratic test, they flunk.
What happened in Rivers State is the outcome of people who are where they should not. They got money, connection or both and muscled their way to power. All sorts of things are done to get power, including killing. Otherwise, how could someone use a rod weighing some kilograms on the head of a fellow lawmaker, not once, but times over until his victim screeched in pain like a trapped rat? He definitely has done worse things before and now got the opportunity to showcase the art. This they didn’t learn in America; there it’s argument and a superior one; but when you don’t have it, you call in logs, gas, glass or gun. We who took money, bales of cloth, bags of rice and stockfish to usher them in now have our receipt. As long as eye-for-lucre politics persists, these occurrences will thrive. So saying ‘it’s a shame’ is telling the story from the middle. We caused the shame by not instituting a non-partisan mechanism to screen and drill would-be political officeholders and keeping them under watch.
Report has it that the man clubbing down others is himself the ‘Majority Leader’. You heard right.
We shouldn’t see just the fight but the unspoken things that led to it. Sometime ago, this column reviewed the political attitude of the south-south and cautioned against desperation and viral ambition. In the Eastern Region, they often saw themselves as the dominated but rather than develop traits that are superior to those of the so-called principal, they resorted to sabotage to pull the house down. But, Cardinal Rex Jim Lawson was one man that conquered the Eastern heart with music. The political compatriots didn’t come up with any ingenuity to build bridges that could destroy perceived domination. Rather, they chose the easy path of ‘they-us’ to get the house down. Now, it’s the south-house. Regrettably, within the ‘us’ there’s another ‘they’, meaning that bridge-building is the superior approach, not endless they-us mutation. The real reason is that there’s an anger point: it’s that this is the first time in the history of Nigeria that the so-called minorities are having a go at the presidency. Like others, they want to have a full go of it and it’s justifiable. Suddenly, one of theirs is seen to be the one drilling a hole in the pillar that holds the house. That’s the anger and it’s believed they may not get it again if they wobble now. Not just that, the ensuing frustration of failing may lead to internal disorder within their fold.
This column cautioned against taking steps capable of bringing everyone down like in the Eastern House and all in the pursuit of personal ambition. It therefore counselled Governor Amaechi to go soft and find ways to close ranks; at the same time, he should not be humiliated or threatened. It’s something that needs more appropriate communication. If he understands it, he won’t go as far. He has a right to his ambition but it must be weighed in line with the interest of the collective. That’s balance. The way it’s going is wrong. The principals are behaving like gladiators, testing their power and ego on the turf, and as a result surrender the initiative for peace to their subordinates who dwell in slippery places. These do anything not to slip away.
The call for the president to caution his wife is seeing a ray amid a beam of anger. Wrong. It’s not a Pe-Pe fight (pet name for Patience). It’s a broad-based people’s anger caused by strategic misunderstanding. Amaechi hasn’t seen the larger picture of a south-south strength, those who see it want to teach it by force. Wrong too. This is something that needs a withdrawn and private explanation/persuasion by neutrals who have the interest of the people at heart. Such a body can come from the gathering of south-south/southeast institutions, be they traditional/gubernatorial or economic/intelligentsia. Theirs is to find an acceptable solution.
But always pulling the house down isn’t a wise way to be a people. Letting it stand is better.

By: Onyebuchi Onyegbule

 called from Businessday
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