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Author Name: Chuks U Okereke
Number of articles: 8
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Nigeria: Missing In Action Presidency, Posterity and the Bankole-led House of Representatives
Author: Chuks U Okereke | February 04, 2010

As a young Students’ Union activist in the late 80s, my friends, or comrades, and I felt a dire sense of urgency to bring about a socio-political change in Nigeria. We were resolute in our effort to force the hands of IBB and his cohorts in power to move Nigeria towards a progressive and more humane society. As students, we believed that Nigeria was at a precipice and that most of the adults, especially those in power, cared less to want to save it. We believe with all our hearts that if we didn’t do something drastic, we would completely lose whatever was left of Nigerian, the way we knew it then. We also believed that Nigeria’s political leadership had been hijacked and that we must wrestle political power back from the powers that were. Police brutality did not stop us. SS interrogations did not intimidate us. Nor were we cowed by police cells and military tribunals. Don’t ask me how, but we survived all of those and more. Then we got out of the University and my fears were realized. We were actually losing Nigeria at a faster rate than I had imagined! Nigeria was about to fall off the bluff! Aso rock had become more vicious and practically lost patience with interrogations and due process. You think it was bad then until you fast forward to 2010. It is February 2010 and it’s the same downward spiral. I don’t just think it; I know that Nigeria has truly been hijacked. How else could you explain Yar’Adua taking off to Saudi Arabia late November last year without following the due process laid down by the Nigerian constitution? He’s been gone now for two months and counting, and we don’t know who the heck is controlling him. Or better yet, who is controlling Nigeria. Is it the Saudis? Is it PDP? Is it a clique in the North? We might never know. One thing is for sure though; we know that neither Yar’Adua nor his Vice President is in control. That scares me as does most well meaning Nigerians. At least we still have the right to know who is leading us, and where they’re leading us to. Right? Anyway, it was against that backdrop that most well meaning Nigerians expected Bankole to put aside personal gains and, for once, work for the Nigerian people. Nigerians have long been politically violated and deprived of their rights to vote during elections but they’ve always known who was in direct and indirect control. When the members of the House of Representatives met on February 3, 2010 to tackle the issue of the ailing President, a legitimate political concern, what did the PDP-led House do? They undermined the proceeding so as not to tackle the issue at stake – some leaders. When it came to a simple constitutional task of requesting that Yar’Adua tell us in writing that he is still in control and receiving treatment abroad, in compliance with section 145 of the flawed 1999 constitution, the Bankole-led House became a bunch of chickens. Mr. Bankole personally sabotaged the motion sponsored by Mohammed Sani Abdul of Bauchi, allowing it to fall flat on its face. Mr. Bankole’s action has thus deprived the country a well needed sense of direction by puncturing any hopes of having the Vice President assume presidential responsibilities in the President’s continued absence. No thanks Mr. Speaker. Mr. Bankole’s singular act at frustrating that vital motion from being discussed on the floor of the house marks a new low in the suppression of the will of the people with an apparatus of state power. This might actually be the first time the instrument of state power has been used to deprive Nigerians of the right to know who is pulling the political strings. Rome burned, Nero cared less and posterity was not kind to him. Today, Nigeria burns, albeit politically, Bankole and his spineless PDP House of Representative members could care less. With the absence of the President posing a serious threat to the political and security make up of this country, Bankole and his PDP collaborators literally killed a politically strategic motion before it saw the light of the day. Obviously to the Speaker and his PDP house members, party loyalty and selfish aggrandizement trumps patriotism. How sad! For hijacking Nigerian Democracy and landing a political slap on the face of the Nigerian people, posterity will not be kind to Bankole and the PDP-led House of Representative.

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