By Innocent Okon
When politics and politicking in Nigeria were not all about “stomach infrastructure”, so many things came into the mix!
From adroit oratorical skills of Nnamdi Azikiwe to the sartorial elegance of Festus Okotie-Eboh, politicking was tick and thick.
In the second Republic was a man from Imo state called Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe. Though in politics since the first Republic, KO as he was popularly known and called, was editors’ delight whenever he issued a press statement, or spoke extempore on any issue. He had the poetic license with no expiry date! When his Party, the National Party of Nigeria’s political accord with the Nigerian People’s Party broke down, and some prominent NPP appointees defected to NPN, KO said what was happening was “Accord Concordia.” While joining forces with his NPN co-travellers in Imo state in an attempt to remove Governor Sam Mbakwe from office in 1983, KO said NPN was in Imo State to “cement the cementable” since the election was “the come that has come to become” KO was not the only interesting dramatis personae in the second Republic politics. There were stormy petrels like Uba Ahmed from Bauchi State, Ebenezer Babatope and Anietie Okon, et al. It wasn’t what they said, but how they said it that would make you part with your last kobo (then newspapers were selling in kobo) to grab one or two newspapers!
Now, the political firmament lacks the glitz and blitz that used to characterize the entertainment component of politics and politicking! That generation of glamorous politicians with brains has been infiltrated and depleted by fair weather politicians with brawn and insatiable appetite for whatever public till has to offer. That’s why ordinary perfunctory duties of a public officer are celebrated as patriotic feats that should attract extraordinary garlands!
For many months, the nation was on tenterhooks because the Electoral Act (Amendment) bill was a subject of avoidable power game between the National Assembly and Aso Rock. While the National Assembly transmitted a holistic amendment piece of legislation, Aso Rock preferred to send their observations and reservations in piecemeal! Why didn’t the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, arguably the legal brain box of Aso Rock, not itemise all reservations on the provisions in the new bill and transmit same to the National Assembly?
After the National Assembly had bent over backwards to do the bidding of Aso Rock on “Direct Primaries”, was it still necessary to direct the National Assembly to ” immediately” delete section 84 (10)(12) which denies serving appointees of government to be aspirants and delegates at Party conventions and Congresses? Was section 84 not part of the Electoral Amendment Act Bill when the first observation on ” Direct Primaries” was transmitted to the National Assembly?
But there are two Liaison officers that are supposed to be the eyes and ears of the Presidency in both the Green and Red chambers! It’s either they don’t know their job schedules, or don’t have access to their Principal!
I remember Senator Ita Enang was in that office once upon a time, and he gave it his best shot! By asking for immediate deletion of Section 84 in the Amended Act publicly, after the first objection had been dealt with by both chambers of the National Assembly, it shows that though “the come has come to become”, it’s unbecoming of those who have access to the ears and eyes of the President to take our collective intelligence and patience for granted!
Okon is an Uyo-based legal practitioner