“…our security system has collapsed, it has failed, and because it has failed, we need to look for foreign support, it costs Nigeria nothing, forget the ego, forget the security of Nigeria in African nations, today we are facing serious problem. If our nation is to survive this period, I am not in doubt that the security architecture we have today cannot cope with what we are facing. Every part of this country is threatened from the north to the south, nobody is safe, nobody can travel 50 kilometers in our nation, I feel like shedding tears for a country that we grew up where nobody harasses you when you travel from Lagos to Maiduguri. I’ve done it in time past. Today I cannot travel from here to Kaduna to Niger state where I was born. The President must know that this is a bad time for our nation. We must look for foreign support to save this nation. This is my position Mr. President. We must rise to it. They are killing people in the East, in the West, in the South, in the North. We should shut down the National Assembly, let’s shut down if we cannot save this country, we stay in our homes, our country is bleeding, people are in poverty, there is no food, people are hungry, insecurity is threatening us, we cannot pretend, it is better we are not here, than for us sitting down here, people are dying, every day Nigerians are dying, we must rise to the occasion. I submit Mr. President”.
These were the teary words (in part) of Senator Smart Adeyemi, Nigerian Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial Constituency, at the Nigerian Senate, under the auspices of the All Progressives Congress. He struggled not to breakdown in tears as he said the above words on the floor of the house during plenary on 27th April, 2021. I was fairly elated that a Senator, especially from the (mis)ruling party, was speaking truth as it is in the country, away from the cover-ups they have always attempted to do in protecting Party legacy. Many times, our politicians act and care less about the state of affairs of the country, as long as it does not affect their immediate family and their source of income. However, I heard a Senator who spoke unmistakenly, spoke passionately, unequivocally, and devoid of party sentiments about the state of the country. I respect his courage especially in the face of the draconian Party policies against alleged anti party activities of members.
Shockingly, embarrassingly and daringly, was the subtly interjecting comment of Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Senator representing Lagos Central Senatorial Constituency under the auspices of the All Progressives Congress. These were her very words, which she chipped in while Senator Smart held sway;
“Are you in PDP? Ehn? Are you a wolf in sheep clothing?”
Hmmm…. Shaking my head in disgust and disbelief, did she just really say this? I wish I could pause at this junction and hold a minute silence on the disgraceful and unfortunate outing of a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who one would have thought would be more sympathetic to the state of the country and in the victory of Nigeria over insecurity and poverty. Rather, she was merely concerned about the protection of her failing Party and government. What a shame! If I ever held this Senator in high esteem, every respect I had for her dropped to negative degree like the Canadian winter weather and were blown away by the wild winds of the Kalahari desert. This is a Senator that is sacrificing the security situation of Nigeria on the altar of Party politics. What has the killings going on in Nigeria got to do with Party politics or membership? Why would a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria be more concerned about protecting her Party rather than protecting the lives of Nigerians? Wetin even carry PDP enter the matter? Nigerians are being slaughtered on the streets on daily basis, our Senator is concerned with Party loyalty. This is the highest show of shame, embarrassment and indifference to the plights of Nigerians, from a woman, who one would have expected to have a more sensitive heart to the plight of Nigerians rather than the plight of a Political Party.
Just in case Senator Oluremi is not aware, let us again list out some of the unfortunate recorded events as at 26th April, 2021.
- Bandits kill DPO, eight policemen and two vigilantes in Kebbi state.
- Nineteen people killed in Igbariam, Anambra state.
- Abductors kill two more students of Greenfield University in Kaduna state, after killing three of them earlier as Government have failed to listen to their demands.
- Hoodlums attack Lagos State University and destroyed several vehicles.
- Gunmen kill nine persons around Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University.
- Gunmen attack soldiers at Amasiri, Ebonyi state.
- The Police Area Command in Okigwe South was attacked today, burnt and five policemen killed.
- Boko Haram hoists flag at Shiroro Local Government Area Niger state, as reported by the Governor himself.
- Boko Haram kills an officer and some soldiers in Mainok.
- Gunmen kidnap hotel owner, his wife, three children, five guests and a staff.
- Terrorists take charge of Borno’s ungoverned spaces and highways.
- Gunshots heard repeatedly and continuously at Ama Hausa and Douglas Road, Owerri, Imo State.
- Security formation attacked in Rivers state, soldiers feared killed.
- Sunday Igboho’s house in Oyo State attacked.
- Gunmen kidnap three students of Federal University of Agriculture, Markudi.
- Hausa Motorcyclists and Yoruba youths fight in Iyana-iba Lagos, score wounded.
- Palace of Igwe Ifitedunu in Anambra state burnt by unknown gunmen.
- Air force allegedly fires at several land troop soldiers by mistake, killing many.
- A Police Station in Okigwe attacked and about four Policemen murdered in cold-blood.
- Gunmen burnt down a section of the Federal High Court in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.
How much more the events that did not get to the media or were not reported at all.
Still on the issues of Boko haram hoisting their flag at Niger State, the capital of Niger State is less than 200 kilometers from the Federal Capital territory. As a matter of fact, it is one of the States from which the Federal Capital Territory was carved out. That is to say, danger is right at the near center of our center. But in all these, a Senator of the Federal Republic effectively dissociated herself from the poor masses and the down trodden in the society whom she had sworn to protect. In the insecurity crisis rocking Nigeria at the moment, women like her and children are the most vulnerable. Where you would have expected that she should be more sympathetic to the plights of Nigerians, she was merely trying to cover the miserable tracks of a decrepit and failing political party formed government. What a Senator you are! I would have expected that Senator Oluremi while appealing to the feminine emotion, would have shown more remorse and be the Senator lamenting and wailing on the floor of the Senate house, while contributing on the current state of Nigeria.
Nigeria, have we so lost our sense of responsibility such that everything is now drawn along the political party (battle) lines? Who made it a rule or a tradition that only the opposition should challenge authority? Does it mean that it is only PDP members that should tell the blunt truth against incompetence? Does it mean that her APC does not see anything wrong in all that is happening in the country?
Senator Smart was obviously so embarrassed by the comment of his colleague that he had to say;
“I’m a party man and I’m supporting APC but it has gotten to a point that as supporters we cannot keep quiet”
Would he rather keep quiet and allow Nigeria burn as Senator Remi has done or would he speak up for Nigeria as he emotionally did on 27th April, 2021?
As we grabble with the depressing state of our country, I want to again use this medium to call on the members of the various civil societies and liberty groups in Nigeria, especially those ones that led Nigeria to a standstill in 2012, over the fuel subsidy removal. Where una de? Where are your voices? Is Nigeria not worst of than it was back in 2012? Where is ‘Occupy Nigeria’? Where is the ‘Save Nigeria Group’? Is this not the time Nigerians need you most? I recall the inscription on the popular T-shirts worn while the protest held sway. It makes more meaning now than it ever did. It read, ‘Kill Corruption, don’t kill Nigerians’. Now that they are killing Nigerians, everyone is quiet. Where is Pastor Tunde Bakare? Nigeria is under a severe siege and no one is saying anything. The country burns from end to end and there seem to be no solution in sight. The government obviously looks overwhelmed by the various happenings in the country, yet they are concentrating effort on less volatile regions of the country. The killings and bombings and wanton destructions of lives and properties that look so far away in the Northeastern border of Nigeria some years ago, are beginning to greet us at our very doorsteps, this was what Nigeria needs to deal with.
When Sunny Okosun of blessed memory sang ‘which way Nigeria’, Nigeria was a thousand times better than what it is today, if he were still alive, I wonder what his script would have been this time around.
In conclusion, Dear Senator Oluremi Tinubu, I must respectfully say that it is you that has behaved like the wolf in sheep’s clothing. You have showed to us that you care less about Nigeria and Nigerians. You simply care about protecting power and all that it brings. May God Almighty forgive you for your unfortunate chiding. May God save women and children that are worst hit by the crisis Nigeria is facing. May the good light shine over our country once again and may the souls of the innocent departed men, women, sons and daughters of the departed rest.
Akintayo Balogun Esq., is an Abuja based legal practitioner, in private practice.