Letter from Africa: Heroes and villains of Nigeria’s parliament siege


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In our collection of letters from Africa, Nigerian author and novelist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani says scenes reassembling a coup in her nation have left many scratching their heads.

Nigerians nonetheless cannot say for positive why armed, masked males held our nation’s parliament beneath siege final week. However the alarming incident had a most joyous ending.

They blocked all entrances to the constructing, denying lawmakers, civil servants and journalists entry.

It turned out they have been operatives of the state’s spy company, the Division of State Safety (DSS), headed by Lawal Daura.

The opposite man on the centre of the drama is Senate President Bukola Saraki, who not too long ago defected from the ruling APC get together to the principle opposition PDP.

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The anger boiled over as folks challenged the armed males about what they have been doing

He had known as a parliamentary assembly of nationwide meeting leaders – and it was this group that the armed males have been blocking.

One idea is that it was a strong-arm tactic to make Mr Saraki resign in order that the APC can appoint a ruling get together senate president in his place.

The opposite idea is that it was all staged to make it seem as if it was formally sanctioned to make the federal government look dangerous.

‘Invitation to anarchy’

Neither idea stands as much as logical scrutiny, however you need to by no means let something shock in the case of the antics of Nigerian politics.

In April, a disgruntled MP allegedly organised for intruders to storm the Senate and steal its mace.

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Media captionSecond intruders steal ceremonial mace from Nigeria’s Senate

Choices within the higher chamber can’t be accredited with out the mace – a big decorative employees that represents the legislature’s authority.

However when information unfold of the occasions final week, together with movies of indignant lawmakers in confrontation with the armed state operatives, even Nigerians expressed their condemnation.

President Muhammadu Buhari was away within the UK on trip, leaving his deputy Yemi Osinbajo in cost.

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani:

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Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

“Nothing about Yemi Osinbajo excites the same old comedy that Nigerians have come to anticipate from our leaders”

“Nigeria is a democracy not a army dictatorship,” mentioned Atiku Abubakar, a former vice-president and PDP presidential hopeful.

“The appearing president, being himself a professor of regulation, should know that setting such a precedent is an invite to anarchy.”

And certainly it was Mr Osinbajo who grew to become the hero of the day.

Not solely is Mr Osinbajo a professor of regulation and a former commissioner for justice, he’s arguably probably the most distinguished leaders to have graced the Nigerian seat of energy previously few many years.

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Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has emerged as one of many heroes of the siege

For starters, nothing about him excites the same old comedy that Nigerians have come to anticipate from our leaders.

His instructional are with out suspicion. His foot doesn’t get jammed in his mouth every time he speaks. He has no identified girlfriends flaunting flashy automobiles and shady contracts across the capital metropolis, Abuja. He has no identified cadavers stinking in his cabinet.

Mr Osinbajo has even been heard to apologise after arriving late at occasions. The standard Nigerian public workplace holder’s self-importance can often be measured by how lengthy they will maintain folks ready.

And the vice-president didn’t disappoint. Whereas the siege was ongoing, he launched an announcement denouncing it as “condemnable and fully unacceptable”.

Then he introduced the speedy dismissal of Mr Daura – and the masked males have been recalled to their lair.

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Once more, Nigerians cannot say for positive if Mr Daura was merely a scapegoat for a failed coup, or if he was certainly appearing with out presidential authority, motivated by his loyalty to Mr Buhari, his kinsman from the village of Daura in Katsina state, north-western Nigeria.

However, I promised you a contented ending, did not I?

Midnight arrests

Many Nigerians really feel that if it took the siege on parliament to be lastly rid of the spy chief – then hurray.

In 2015, the sexagenarian was exhumed from retirement and appointed to move the DSS.

Previously three years of Mr Daura’s management, the company has been characterised by midnight arrests on these suspected of corruption, disdain for court docket orders, detention of a journalist with out trial, and the harassing of lawmakers at a federal and state stage.

Many Nigerians feared that as he got here from Mr Buhari’s hometown it had made him untouchable.

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Mr Osinbajo described the siege as “condemnable and fully unacceptable”

We had resigned ourselves to the continuing nightmare.

However, because the saying goes: he whom the gods want to destroy, they first make mad.

The insanity that Mr Daura appeared to show by launching the siege has now led to his ignominious fall.

On the appearing president’s orders, Mr Daura was arrested and though launched just a few days later, his passport was seized.

Mr Osinbajo described his antics as “a gross violation of constitutional order, rule of regulation and all accepted notions of regulation and order”. Mr Daura has but to place his aspect of occasions.

However many Nigerians at the moment are hoping that he may have that chance in court docket. What an much more joyous ending that will be – and one which follows the rule of regulation.

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