DSP Ekweremadu’s coup invitation was very irresponsible

Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu practically invited the military to takeover. It was a most irresponsible and uncharitable thing to suggest.

Ekweremadu was reacting to Senator Ahmed Ogembe’s story of how Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello allegedly organised thugs to disrupt an empowerment program he had put together for his constituents.

Ekweremadu then went on to aim darts at Bello But he didn’t stop there. He hinted at a military takeover if things continued this way.

Coup

A portion of what Ekweremadu said is reproduced below:

“So today I am advising the Governor again, that road he is travelling will not lead him to anywhere. Ultimately, these people he is seeing here will be back here and he will leave office.

“If he doesn’t stop, there is no how he will come back in 2019, never, no he will not. God will show him that he is a God of justice and this is a message to all those people who have caused all kinds of problems in Nigeria at different levels.

“The problem in Nigeria is that our democracy is receding. Who says army cannot take over? Let us not joke with our democracy ....that is the issue.

“The house of a senator was destroyed in Kaduna State, we are talking about Kwankwaso who was stopped from going to his State where he ruled for eight years. In Kaduna, Shehu Sani cannot organise a meeting and we are about a democracy? The international community needs to know this because they helped us install democracy.”

Pathetic

“Who says army cannot takeover?” Seriously? From Nigeria’s Deputy Senate President? One of the most powerful men in our nascent democracy?

Pathetic.

I was still trying to unpack the , Thursday night, when a press statement from the army hit my mailbox.

Army responds

For the umpteenth time, the army swore it will respect Nigeria’s democracyand remain professional. As it should be.

The statement from Defence Headquarters reads in parts:

"The statement in the true sense has the capacity to denigrate the Nigerian Military in every ramification including its loyalty to the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and the confidence of the general public to defend Nigeria’s democracy.

"In the light of this; the Defence Headquarters wish to state clearly that the Nigerian Military has come of age and is in tune with best international military practices of complete and total subordination to democratic governance.

"In this regard, it is worthy to remind the general public about some key measures among others that guaranteed the present sustainable status of politically unambitious members of the Armed Forces:

Shortly, after the transition from a military to a democratically elected government in 1999, officers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, who were quasi-political, were honourably eased out of service.

"This was done to avoid indoctrination of other officers in the Military in order to enable the democratic government commence a re-professionalisation process of the Armed Forces.

"The process commenced in collaboration with international organisations such as the United States Armed Forces and the British Military.

"By 2009, from the basic military training institutions through units and formation reorientation programmes to top management workshops and seminars for the military, it became clear that the Armed Forces of Nigeria has been re-professionalised to be totally subordinate to political leadership and democracy in the Country.

"Defence Headquarters hereby assures the international community, Nigeria’s democratic institutions and the general public, of its unalloyed loyalty to the President Commander in Chief, provision of all necessary support for the sustenance of our democracy and carrying out our constitutional roles.

"Therefore, the apprehension by the Deputy President of the Senate should be totally disregarded".

Irresponsible

But Ekweremadu really should know better. And he should be ashamed that soldiers are the ones now educating him on what it means to keep a democratic experiment running--in spite of its many flaws.

Ekweremadu is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the democracy we practise today. A recent unconfirmed report has linked his name to property spread across the world. He is living large and taking home millions of naira monthly as a ranking lawmaker and presiding officer. The last thing he should be doing is subtly inviting soldiers to come rescue our democracy.

I always tell people who care to listen that all the military interventions of the past should be blamed for the crumbling of our institutions, eroding of values and the elevation of corruption into an art form. For each time the military intervened; citing noble and altruistic reasons, they only succeeded in rolling back the gains this nation was making.

Those who say the worst democracy is better than the best military regime are right on the money. Yes, our democracy remains imperfect, but it is still a work in progress. We’ll keep tinkering with it until we get it right someday. And it is probably because of the likes of Ekweremadu--with their light fingered propensity--that we aren't there yet.

It is irresponsible of Ekweremadu to insinuate that soldiers—given the damage they have caused this country—could make a return under whatever guise. It was a most unfortunate thing to say.

Politicians should realise that they overheat the polity when they resort to unguarded utterances like this.

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