Friday, December 23, 2005

...And the Godfather Strikes Again!

What I can’t fathom is how an illiterate political thug (that some call “godfather”)-muster the clout, resources, and dexterity to hold a duly elected (maybe not duly elected) government to ransom with ease and impunity ?

There are profuse reports in the Nigerian news dailies that supporters of Lamidi Adedibu, the celebrated thug and self-acclaimed political kingmaker of Oyo state , and Rasheed Ladoja, the state governor, freely exchanged gun fire, turning the state’s secretariat, governor’s office, and house of assembly into a war theater! Some died as a result and even the deputy governor had be evacuated from his office.

An excerpt from the Nigerian Tribune reads:

“…Offices in the governor’s office were broken into and vandalized while the monitoring gadgets of the State Security Service (SSS) was badly damaged. Offices of the Personal Assistant to the governor, Special Assistant to the Governor on Protocol and that of the Chief Detail were destroyed and property looted. The deputy governor of the state, Otunba Bayo Alao-Akala, and the Chief of Staff, Barrister Abiodun Alli, were smuggled out of their offices by security men attached to the deputy governor. The governor did not show up in the office...”
The governor and Lamidi Adedibu have been locked in a deadly political feud since the governor assumed office about 3 years ago. This current fracas may have been triggered by an attempt to impeach the governor by some legislators loyal to Lamidi Adedibu. And somehow, the notorious Nigerian Police may be an accessory to this distasteful and treasonable action. An excerpt from The Punch reads:

“The pro-Adedibu legislators and their supporters, backed by a massive police contingent, subdued the pro-Ladoja group and forcibly gained entrance into the assembly complex…In spite of the heavy presence of policemen at the assembly complex, adjacent to the governor’s office, a group of 18 lawmakers loyal to the governor’s estranged godfather, Chief Lamidi Adedibu, engaged the group of 14 lawmakers loyal to Governor Rasheed Ladoja in a gun duel that lasted for over four hours...”
Political violence and intrigues as this is not totally out of place in the Nigerian political arena. It's happened in the past, and most recently in the eastern Nigerian state of Anambra, where a local political don, Chris Uba, successfully (or almost) banished the sitting governor, Dr Ngige, from office.

It’s obvious and also unfortunate that some- if not all- of the characters on the Nigerian political terrain have no inkling of what democracy is and how the politics is played...I worry that their antics and confusion present a very potent threat to democracy in Nigeria.