The Crucifixion Of Tambuwal


The withdrawal of security details from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, days after he defected from the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, is a tragic setback for Nigeria’s democracy.  The action taken by the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, reinforces long held convictions that there is no separation of powers in Nigeria and security agents are only bent on protecting the president, his friends and allies.

Tambuwal formally announced his defection from the PDP to the APC on Tuesday. Shortly after he defected, the PDP moved against him. PDP leaders called on him to resign his position as the Speaker having left the party that brought him to the House of Representatives in 2011.

Tambuwal refused to resign and on Thursday, the police withdrew his security details and issued a statement, claiming that the Speaker had violated section 68 (1) (g) of the 1999 constitution and was consequently no longer entitled to police security.

Even without wasting too much time on the police’s illegal attempt at interpreting the law, we know for a fact that as the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the fourth citizen in Nigeria, Tambuwal is entitled to a round the clock security protection from the Police, the Civil Defence Corps and the Department of State Security (DSS).

As long as he remains the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the PDP, President Goodluck Jonathan or even the Acting Inspector General of Police cannot order the withdrawal of Tambuwal’s security personnel.

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It is illegal, unconstitutional and a tragic sign that a few months to the general elections in February, the police cannot be relied upon as an independent, non partisan stakeholder in that important process. It also shows that the ruling PDP is desperate to employ all illegal means to retain power next year.

What makes it even more tragic is the lame attempt by the police at interpreting the law. The police have no power in Nigeria under our constitution to interprete the law. That is the job of the judiciary. The police can only enforce the law.

The action taken by Abba was a charade and portrays the police as a law enforcement wing of the PDP. We hold this view because the heavens did not fall when office holders in the Labour Party in Ondo State defected to the PDP. The security details of Governor Segun Mimiko of Ondo State were not withdrawn when he defected from Labour Party to PDP recently.

This shameful selective persecution of the opposition by the police is not only unacceptable, it may set the country ablaze if the trend conitnues as the nation gears up for the general elections next year.  We are glad that Tambuwal has approached a Federal High Court in Abuja to seek redress. It is our belief that the court would give a clear interpretation of the law and stop the lawlessness by the police that threatens to derail our democratic process and send the country into the abyss.

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