Rivers State Political Crisis: a Threat to Nigerian Democracy,By Audu Liberty Oseni

Rotimi-Amaechi 600It is imperative to accentuate that event in Rivers State where 5 House of Assembly members attempted impeaching the speaker Hon. Otelemaba Amachree and the resistance by the other law makers which culminated into fracas in the state assembly is a mockery of democracy. It is worthy of note that Nigeria is fast descending into an irreversible slippery slope. Prior to
Rivers state assembly saga, the Nigerian Governors Forum election saga was ridiculing Nigeria before the comity of nations.

Our novel political Matrix in the emerging democracy where those with the least number of votes emerge winner as seen in NGF election and Rivers state saga ought to be discarded at the embryo stage and never allowed to metamorphosize as it portends grave danger to our nascent democracy. Surprisingly those who have called on the president to ensure peace in
Rivers state have become enemy of the state; Wole Soyinka call to restore peace in Rivers state was dismissed and he was labelled ignorance by the presidency.

Rivers state incident takes us back to Anambra state experience, where her political crisis assumed a frightened and dangerous dimension that led to the abduction of the then governor Dr. Chris Ngige on the 10th day of July 2003. The crisis in the state was characterised with the destruction of lives and properties and this was facilitated by the then assistant general
of police (IG) Mr. Raphael Ige. A similar scenario now plays out in Rivers state, the Speaker Rivers State House of Assembly, Otelemaba Amachree, in a press statement alleged that the state’s Commissioner of Police Mr. Joseph Mbu, is helping in facilitating the crisis in the state by carrying instructions given by Abuja politicians. The puzzle therefore is whose
command were both commissioners of police discharging.

The predominant political culture in Nigeria is that of impunity and total disregard for basic democratic values. Politics in Nigeria has been a replete with unmitigated struggle for economic and political power, political power is a means of production and the basis which the elites use in acquiring wealth, and zero-sum politics has its ascendancy in Nigerian politics, these however heightens the system and creates more dissension.

The political implication of this therefore is that it presents Nigerians as people who do not have value for the beauty of democracy; it also presents Nigerian state as a country without the required machineries for conflict resolution which continues to wallow in political crisis and stains its name. This has been a potent distraction to the government of Rivers and Nigerian as a whole. Time and resources that would have been channelled toward growth and development will be channelled toward conflict resolution. A country where political crisis is the order of the day like Nigeria will not enjoy democracy and good governance. In the case of equally mounting demands from the electorate and the limited scarce resources in the disposition of governments, in the circumstances of political crisis like this the interests of the electorate are greatly undermined.

As political impasse continues in Rivers state, Nigerian state must rise up and put a stop to it as it threatens the nations emerging democracy. Nigerian police and other security agents must not be seen as state agents that will be used to annihilate the nation’s hard earned democracy. The Inspector General of Police and the police service commission should
investigate Rivers state commissioner of police and if found guilty should be made to face appropriate penalty.

Nigerian politicians must engage politics with due respect to constitution and constitutionalism and must not take us back to the days of Anambra state in 2003 and in 1966 when the military intervened and took over governance.

The House of Representatives intervention in the state saga must be done within the conferment of Nigerian laws and vested interest should not be seen played out as that is capable of dragging Nigerian state into the murky aqua of political cul-de-sac.

Although Nigerian state through the office of president has condemned Rivers state saga, the president must use state machineries and apparatus
to bring peace in the state.

All those who are guilty in the Rivers state saga must be made to face the wrath of the law by bringing them to justice. Security personnel withdrawn from the Governor’s lodge must be restored immediately; this act makes the state more unsafe as few police officers and State Security Services agents cannot guarantee security in the state at this time.
Audu Liberty Oseni
[email protected]

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