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Democracy terminators


The Senate during a plenary

“Of all the vocations in the world, according to my late father, only three were created in Heaven.”

“Really; and what did he give as their names?”
“Engineering; Law; and Medicine; according to the old man, the engineer is to create wealth for humanity; the doctor is to look after the engineer’s health; while the lawyer manages the disputes between the engineer and the doctor.”
“Interesting; your dad must have himself been a creative thinking man.”

“How else did you think I ended up this way?”
“Modesty, my friend, is not one of your virtues.”
“Modesty has its place and time, buddy. This is neither the place nor time for it. Look around the country, everyone has suddenly become a big man or woman; I mean very big. In fact, most have become so big that they imagine themselves bigger than Nigeria…”

“It’s a big pity; but how did we come to this sorry pass?”
“Ask the learned ones – the lawyers. They supposedly know the answers to every question.”
Those ones? Sometimes I wonder what they put in their heads at the Law School; imagine fancying themselves as the only ‘learned ones’ around.”
“Considering the presumptuous disposition of some of Senior Advocates, I wouldn’t be surprised if they regard themselves more learned than even Supreme Court judges.”


“My friend I totally agree with you on that note. In fact, I recall the after-dinner remarks of a retiring British judge to that effect. The distinguished legal mind had observed that although legal counsels and judges are indeed lawyers, but what set them apart was where they sat or stood in court. The judges, according to the retiring judge, sat on benches – a very dry and uncomfortable place; while the counsels stood in the bar – a very lively and adventurous place…”
“Very amusing…”

“But wait for the punch line. The retiring judge had wound up his remarks with these words, ‘counsels who spend long enough years at the bar always find some dust there to throw into the eyes of their colleagues who sat on the bench.”
“Brilliant! That is certainly the case, particularly of late in our dear country. Consider the ridiculous lengths to which some of our Senior Advocates go to bamboozle lay Nigerians with labyrinthine legal sophistry on otherwise simple constitutional matters. And that includes the professors among them.”

“I know; the tragedy is that those professors now pay more allegiance to politics than they pay to their primary profession – it’s a big shame, really.”

“Imagine all the legal fireworks that were put up in the otherwise straight forward constitutional matter of whether or not presidential nominees need the confirmation of the National Assembly. Shame on the Senior Advocates for taking the country so low…”
“I agree; one didn’t have to be a lawyer to properly interpret the relevant sections of our constitution that deal with the issue. Ditto for the ongoing palaver about whether or not the Red Chamber can summon the Inspector General of police.”
“My broda! this IGP is bad news. Let’s call a spoiler by its proper name; the man is another Identified Democracy Terminator (IDT), though the senators prefer to call him an ‘enemy of democracy’…”

“I agree; and by the way that unpatriotic tribe of IDTs appears to grow with every constitutional dispute since the unsuccessful summons on the fallen secretary to the government of the federation by the Senate.”

“This open contempt for the First Estate of the Realm is a peculiar feature in the Fourth republic – remember the ‘all senators are fools’ saga?”
“Of course; that was probably what emboldened our only petroleum empress to always rush to the courts each time she was summoned by the NASS. Then another head of an MDA would needlessly heat up the polity by making a big fuss over donning the official uniform of his office.”
“Poor legislators! They must be getting fatigued by these frivolities by now. The head of the NASS looked uncharacteristically pitiable when he declared the police boss an enemy of democracy.”
“I do not sympathize with him…”
“The man is harvesting the seeds of his mischief, which some have described as uncanny political savvy. First, he mindlessly abandoned the platform that paved the way for him to become a two-term governor, and joined the opposition coalition. Then, through some mind boggling stealth of hand he emerged president of the Red Chamber…”

“Yeah; that carpet-crossing actually run against the grain of his family politics.”
“Not only that. He also failed to take the hint of his senior professional colleague, a former chairman of his old party who then doubled as the director-general of a presidential campaign team.”

“The generation gap must have blurred his senses; I reckon that the incumbent number-three citizen must have been just starting his secondary school education when Nigerian university students protested that ALI MUST GO!!!”

Generation gap? but the retired colonel is evidently among the most eloquent of his generation of soldiers, even in a digital age. In only two words he told the world the complete history of the 2015 main opposition candidate…”

“Aha! now I see where you got that phrase from; how could anyone forget it – the December ’83 Terminator.”
“But the Senate president’s body language suggests he has forgotten…”

“No way! On the contrary, I believe he remembers very clearly; that is why, in my opinion, he carefully navigated around the sensitive phrase and landed on the new coinage: enemy of democracy.”
“Okay, I see your point; he was being mindful of ruffling feathers in the nearby Rocky Estate – the man indulges democracy terminators perhaps for hidden selfish motives.”

“You can now also see why I do not sympathize with him. The man is the architect of his many troubles; he comes across as more interested in pleasing the few at the expense of the many… He keeps mocking the pauses, which afford him the platform to prove his democratic credentials. For example, when he was presented with the rare opportunity to make history by upgrading the 1999 Constitution to a true Nigerian Constitution, the man, apparently acting with an eye on the same Estate, let the opportunity slip by settling for mere cosmetic amendments. Hard to believe in a supposedly seasoned politician; and this may sound harsh, but that significant omission qualifies him to be enlisted among the IDTs.”

“Not only him, but a majority of the members of the NASS qualifies to be so enlisted. By scheming to nurture their political careers they are inadvertently putting same careers in the coffin.”

“My friend, this portends real danger for the Fourth republic; that was the point an alarmed ranking member of the NASS was making when some IDTs hypocritically accused him of inciting a military take over. Is rendering the legislature impotent not tantamount to military dictatorship?”
“A spectre of IDTs menacingly haunts the polity…”

Nkemdiche is a consulting engineer, lives in Abuja.

In this article:
Idris AbubakarNASS
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