Customarily, the atmosphere is adequately charged in anticipation of the 2019 general elections. The heat in the polity has intensified and hit many politicians in Nigeria very badly, with supersonic fever of expected defeat at the ballot.
Some serving Senators are the most exasperated, having sensed the unfavourable electoral tide against them. They exude and manifest symptoms of desperation for electoral relevance at the eleventh hour.
Doggedly in pursuit of selfish ambitions, the Senators in crisis-prone areas have animated their deceptive emotions. They have centered it on artificial interest in the welfare of constituents now.
But unfortunately, in presumed ‘indicting’ outbursts and blanket condemnations of everything to impress constituents to posture as workaholics, these Senators exhibited confounding ignorance on security issues. They shocked many by peculiarly berating security agents for dissatisfactory roles in the handling of the internecine armed local conflicts in some parts of the country.
Perusing recent “lamentations” and attacks on the Federal Government of Nigeria and Security agents by these indignant Senators, the feeling of deceit is arising from frustrations seared through so deeply. Suddenly, and for the first time in years, constituents are listening to the loud voices of their representatives in the Red Chamber.
Therefore, Senators like Suleiman Asonye Adokwe who represents Nassarawa South Senatorial district and his counterpart for Benue North East senatorial district, Chief Barnabas Andyar Gemade have transmuted into accidental activists and critics of a “failed” government, security agents.
From the fire of their reincarnation came the chants of the agenda of unmitigated killings and ethnic cleansing against their people, only known to their imaginations and vocabulary. Yet, just another peculiar crafty move, to dubiously hoodwink constituents into voting them again, in 2019.
Before this hour, the duo of Adokwe and Gemade had a national reputation as backbenchers, benchwarmers and swelled up the clan of “I concur” and sleeping lawmakers on the floor of the Senate. Hardly are their shadows even spotted during plenary. The dozen TV cameras in the chambers would always miss them during hot debates on national issues.
Indubitably, the duo have estranged themselves from their constituents, compelling many to wonder whether they were on sabbatical leave in exotic night clubs in the Bahamas or Dubai. They were constantly global trotting in the guise of medical tourism in India, Germany or the United Kingdom at the expense of their constituents.
Any time they were back from the veiled pleasure trips, constituency projects funds would be deployed to organize sham mobile medical treatments in their constituencies. Even at it, they would leave the people more burdened with medical afflictions.
If history was potent enough to hold a reflective mirror, it would show these two Senators consistently over the years, as aligned with the unenviable records of poor performance in the parliament with virtually no sponsored Bill to their credit. It does not matter whether the assessment is conducted by the media or some other independent organisations, they riposte same results on these characters.
So, Senators Adokwe and Gemade have not just lost touch of happenings at home, but their knowledge of current affairs in Nigeria is leprously diseased and plagued by leisure of insomnia at the expense of responsible representation. But each time they retire into their palatial and cozy mansions in Abuja and elsewhere, as 2019 is next door now, the thoughts of how to again, dupe the people of their mandate, assails their senses.
The easiest escape route in the dubious quest for another electoral victory is to conjure all manner of gimmicks against a credible establishment to lure their unsuspecting, neglected, milked and dumped constituents. But even some of their colleagues were bemused, when they mixed raw anger with senselessness in blind fury.
Therefore, when Senator Adokwe claimed in a repulsive public statement a few days ago, mesmerizing about killings in his constituency, he unconsciously confirmed his absenteeism and insensitivity to the plight of his people when he submitted; “I am not one given to emotions easily, but what I have gone through this weekend is very horrifying.” He had to wait until the eve of 2019 to vent his spleen, assuming his postulations were true?
And in a haze of craziness, Adokwe who by self-confession convicted himself, began to curse everybody for “sleeping” over his responsibilities. But the Senator forgot easily that he has slept worse on discharging his obligations to his constituents.
On his regular sleeping seat in the Senate, none of the leaders he poured vituperations shared it with him, yet could not perform. So, afraid of his shadows, he cornered some of the security agents that would have been drafted to contain armed militia as his personal bodyguards. This unconscionable leader of the lower rung cannot blame anyone else for his own failures.
Posturing in somewhat rehearsed conspiracy, Senator Gemade, who is about rounding eight years in the Red Chamber, copied his comrade in indolence, Senator Adokwe. With nothing to advertise as achievement, but desperate to come back for a third tenure in 2019, this infectiously renounced Senator felt lambasting the FGN and security agents would deceptively assuage the anger of his constituents to vote for him again in 2019.
So, in loud preachments on the floor of the Senate during the week, Gemade, after suspending his snoozing escapades, his favourite pastime, he trumpeted to an unwilling audience, the ethnic cleansing of his people in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states.
What belated and fantastic emptiness! It was nice to his senses, but very shocking to many of his colleagues who assumed him, a somewhat demented soul, by veering too far off the track. Through the outbursts, Nigerians knew both Adokwe and Gemade are just out to remind the people of their familiar tricks of winning elections through masked faces of their real personage.
But the duo cracked hard nuts indeed, exposing their ignorance on security matters about Nigeria. The Nigerian security agencies, especially the Nigerian military, drafted in aid of civil security, under the tireless watch and supervision of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Gabriel Olonishakin have performed marvelously, as attested by mitigating the impact on these crises.
If Senators Adokwe and Gemade now sleep comfortably in their Abuja mansions without the phobia of daylight or nocturnal visits by Boko Haram terrorists, it only illustrates how much the Military have been alive to their responsibilities. The CDS team and troops have sacrificed so much to make Abuja and other cities in Nigeria, peaceful and habitable abodes for Nigerians.
There are other threatening armed struggles which suffocated Nigeria before the arrival of President Buhari. There was the lethal and provocative IPOB led by Nnamdi Kanu. But the CDS ensured its quiet extinction. The satanic IMN or Shiites sect virtually grounded most parts of the North with killings and almost morphed into another terrorists sect. It was the Nigerian military that softened these hardened and violent religious extremists.
In Northwest, armed bandits and cattle rustlers caused much pains and nightmares to communities and villages. They had already seized swathes of lands and territories in Zamfara, Katsina and Kebbi states among others. They dislodged locals and were already spreading tentacles to other parts of the North. But the CDS’s dexterous and co-ordinated military operations checkmated them.
But the Adokwes and the Gemade’s were either on AWOL in chambers or sleeping their souls away, so could not know. It is therefore, uncharitable, unreasonable and symptomatic of persecution of the Nigerian military for anybody, much more, such breed of Senators to disparage the ongoing efforts by the military to repress the herders/farmers clashes.
To cross the red line by campaigning for the sack of Security Chiefs is unpardonable. It is even more irritating, when pontificating very flimsy excuses, which the likes of sleeping Senators Gemade and Adokwe epitomize on mandates entrusted to them.
Certainly, these Senators are oblivious of the numerous sacrifices the military have made to rescue the nation from the claws of insurrections. To so freely market gibberish out of prejudice is just a confirmation of their absence, but poisonous focus on 2019. Playing politics with human lives, by turning the whip against their protectors won’t earn them victory at the polls. Like the Bible says, by their fruits, we shall know them.
Okanga writes from Agila, Benue State.