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Saturday, 12 January 2019

The season of surrender By Louis Odion, FNGE


So, after the bluff and bluster, rambunctious Dino Melaye would still turn himself in to the police without throwing a single punch? After an eight-day standoff with the sheriff, it was a different man we saw last Friday clambering out of his Abuja hole, tail between his legs. Shame would not allow him make eye contact with anyone.

To be sure, it was perfectly in order for the senator representing Kogi West to test the promise of the law by seeking court protection against police siege to his residence over alleged role in the attempted murder of a policeman. It is within the citizen’s right.

But everything is wrong with Melaye’s continued theatrics after the Abuja court refused his prayers. How pathetic that, even when surrender became inevitable, the Kogi senator chose the seedy path of someone without self-esteem.

While the police vigil lasted, The Cable, an online newspaper, had quoted him as saying he was not at home. Apparently, the lie was concocted in a last-ditch decoy to deceive the police.
But if there was still any doubt about Melaye’s self-delusion, his subsequent comic offering before television cameras outside his Abuja home surely erased such. With his bulky frame literally squeezed into the cabin of a little Honda salon outside his gate and later dragged out at the police headquarters like an unwilling cow at the abattoir, only the exceedingly undiscerning would have failed to notice that even Melaye’s men present that day were battling hard to stifle a laughter at the ensuing farce.

Bearing in mind his past stunts of either jumping off a moving police vehicle to sit tight on bare expressway in Abuja or not been ashamed at all to claim refuge on top of a tree for three whole days to beat security agents in another episode, it is understandable why only a few, if any, were willing to buy the theory of the PDP senator “slumping” on arrival at the police station this time.

However, let it be noted that more incalculable damage is inflicted on not just the dignity but also the integrity of the Nigerian Senate as an institution with antics like this. How ironic that a congressman would go this extreme length in a bid to evade just an invitation to answer the question of the very law he is assumed to have helped fashion. Nothing could be more contemptuous of the rule of law itself. Its spirit requires submission first, before a case is made against whatever misgiving one has.

Regrettably, the season of surrender is bi-partisan. Melaye’s fawning seems contagious. We see a variant in Katsina and Zamfara States under APC. From time immemorial, silence has been romanticized as golden. Or didn’t Charles Peguy caution that it is far more prudent to keep silence and leave people in doubt than open one’s mouth too wide and confirm the suspicion of emptiness? But Governor Bello Masari of Katsina would not heed. Now, he has sensationally scored an own goal by admitting that hoodlums have overrun his state so much that even the streetlight in a territory otherwise thought fortified like Government House was carted away.

According to the governor, so daring have the Katsina robbers become that some of his guests were waylaid moments after leaving the Government House.

Well, coming on election eve, a plausible reason for such “forthrightness” by Masari must be the desire to sound populist. But in playing the honest card, the governor and his publicity handlers would seem oblivious of the insidious implication: forfeiture of a legitimacy to remain in office. (To imagine that Katsina is the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari now seeking second term, with “improved security” listed among his selling points!)

Pray, if the governor himself could no longer account for even ordinary streetlight outside Government House, what then is the hope for the ordinary folks that their lives and property are safe?

Elsewhere in beleaguered Zamfara, peripatetic Abdulaziz Yari on his own made little effort to disguise festering shame. With the state now ungovernable on account of a siege by multiple criminalities, the governor has offered to resign. Again, to imagine that the increasingly unstable Zamfara is the home state of the Defence Minister.
Without mincing words, Yari expressed support for the imposition of emergency rule. But what he failed to add is whether he would also be available to account for the vast sums entered all this while as expenditure in the name of “security votes” with very little or nothing to show on the ground.

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