By Daudu Huleji Emmanuel
The senate president in a press conference today in abuja alleged that there is a government in this government. This he said reliably without missing words and in retrospect stating that he had made such a statement two years back.
“This is most disheartening. We don’t get any joy in saying: We said so. We don’t. However, some of you may recall that about two years ago, I stated that there was a government within this government, to a purpose that was not in the interest of what the people voted for. I said it then, and now, almost on a daily basis, we are seeing the manifestations of that government within a government. It beats one’s imagination how the head of a security agency could have authorized the brazen assault on the legislature that we saw yesterday. Only recently we saw in Benue how 8 members of the 30 members of State House of Assembly with the collaboration of security forces, DSS and police tried ot impeach the Governor. Despite the threat to our lives, we shall continue to fight impunity and injustice in this country”.
The senate president at a recap expressed satisfaction at the response of the media, corporate organizations and the people that came as individuals and stood with them till justice was achieved.
” We are Happy by the actions that Nigerians took yesterday, they demonstrated our strong resolve as a nation not to give ground to oppression. The legislature, more than any other institution in this country, more than any other arm of government, represents the will of the people. We are elected by the people, and an assault on the legislature is an assault on the people of Nigeria. The forcible shutdown of the legislature was an unconscionable assault on a national institution, and thanks to all your efforts, the aggressors have been put to shame.
The resistance mounted by staff of the National Assembly, our colleagues in both chambers and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) who refused to leave the entrance of this Complex until the siege was broken, strengthens our faith in the people of this country. The rain fell, the sun rose, but Nigerians stood their ground in defence of democracy. With the strength of will demonstrated by everyone against unwarranted and unconstitutional militaristic might, the siege could not stand.
By this, we have shown that Nigerians can resist government within government in whatever guise, and this is humbling for us. Those who sought to defend the attack on the National Assembly under our leadership for their selfish ends have further affirmed our belief in this country. They attempted to execute an illegal impeachment of the leadership of the Senate without the backing of the law, but they faltered. We are confident that, together, we shall always defeat acts of unconstitutionality. The rule of law shall always prevail.
We want to thank Nigerians, Senators, Members of the House of Representatives and National Assembly Staff, for standing up to be counted for democracy during yesterday’s siege. We thank the thousands who monitored the situation on radio, television and social media, voicing their outrage at the siege, thereby sending a clear message to those that hatched the plot that the Nigerian public would not buy this act of gangsterism using instruments of state such as the DSS.
We also thank the international community – particularly the European Union that visited the complex – and the international press, for their prompt reactions to the invasion of the National Assembly. CSOs and Socio-cultural groups were emphatic in their statements during the crisis, and we very much appreciate their vigilance.
Among the many that come up for special mention, we believe that Honourable Boma Goodhead, a member of the House of Representatives, stands out. She looked a masked security operative in the eye and dared him to shoot. She let it be known that Nigerians would not stand for the barricade at the National Assembly, that we would not be cowed. It was another pointer to what is possible in this country when women take their place in leadership.
We applaud all who kicked against the atrocity and who stood firm until sanity prevailed. We are proud of how everyone conducted themselves in what was no doubt a tense standoff. The principled stance and defiant reactions to the ugly incident, proved crucial to the failure of the plot. This is what we have been saying about the power of the people. The role of the people in defending democracy is paramount.
We thank the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for his handling of the situation we were all confronted with yesterday. His decisive action went a long way towards restoring confidence and the image of our country. It sent a powerful message – that the DSS cannot be recklessly deployed against institutions of our democracy. The path of leadership is not by party, and we must commend it wherever it is found. Mr. Acting President did the right thing. However, the damage control so far does not address the question of how this invasion was allowed to happen in the first place.
This is an incident concerning which we have it on good authority that it has been in the planning for months. How is it that such an atrocity was not prevented? How is it that the masterminds were not deterred? Very serious questions remain that can only be answered by a full investigation. We call for an investigation, and we demand that all perpetrators are brought to book. We owe it to ourselves to ensure that such a situation never occurs again. Many agencies have abused their powers and acted outside the ambit of the law on occasion. Where abuses occur, similar actions must be taken immediately and full investigation instituted.
We must say that when we fought for Change, we could not have envisaged a scenario such as unfolded yesterday – an atmosphere where people cannot tolerate dissent, or mere differences of opinion as to the future of our dear country. This is not the Change we fought for. We did not fight for instruments of state to be used to oppress Nigerians and their lawmakers. We know that we, certainly, did not fight just so the legislature could be undermined and subjected to this onslaught”, he said.