Is Obasanjo running a military-commando type'democracy' in Nigeria?
By EJIKE OKPA II

Special to NigeriaCentral.comand USAfricaonline.com

Surely,the invasion of the Apo Legislators Quarters, Abuja, especially ofthe official residence of the President of the Senate, on June 2,2000 by a strong contingent of the Nigerian Police reflected aterrible case of executive lawlessness by Nigeria's emerginggovernment. Ostensibly, the police mission was to "capture" the maceof the senate and to intimidate the person and family of thePresident of the Senate by 5 a.m.

My question is, what type of democracy are we practicing and whymust the official residence of the Senate president of Nigeria beinvaded without his prior knowledge? What role is the judiciaryplaying in this whole saga? Is President Olusegun Obasanjo (a retiredarmy general) running a military-commando type of democracy wherebyhe can use all force necessary to get his way?

Has he obasanjo gone to the senate to tell his story why he is notgetting along with senate President Chuba Okadigbo? Also why is theMace not kept at the office under the full protection of the Senatesecurity? Does the sergeant-at-arm take the Mace to the residenceafter each senate proceeding? Does the speaker of the house also takethe House Mace home during such a recess?

These issues and entire development about our type of democracy isdisappointing and very 'annoying'. For the past one year,considerable energy was devoted to nothing. In my assessment, thefirst one year of Nigeria's democracy has been a resounding failureand it does not appear there is any end in sight.

If Obasanjo and other politicians in Nigeria expect that thisbehavior will endear us to the world, we will find out soon thatnobody cares especially in our ability to attract direct foreigninvestments. Nigeria is like a sick baby and nobody knows what willreally work. The baby cannot speak for himself/herself and no one hascome close to saying any reasonable thing that would help diagnosethe problem before a cure can be prescribed.

I pray that some divine intervention intercedes to help us.Nigeria, unfortunately I must say, is headed towards a colossalfailure with actions like the recent executive-inspired raid on thelegislature. Our own brand of democracy seems a variation of militaryrule. I expressed my concerns long before the 1998 presidentialelections; and many did not pay attention.
Okpa, a real estate businessman and consultant, is based inDallas, Texas. He is business bureau chief for TheBlack Business Journal

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