Politics

Police Raids: Like Ekweremadu, Like Edwin Clark

This is how we tend to think of democracies dying: at the hands of men with guns. In classic coup d’état, military leaders seize power, put a sudden and violent end to constitutional rule and establish a dictatorship. But there is another way to break a democracy. It is less dramatic, but it can be equally destructive. EDWIN CLARK In this second route, democracies die, not at the hands of army generals, but rather at the hands of elected leaders: presidents and prime ministers who subvert the very democratic process that brought them to power”. – Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt (Harvard professors) in “How Democracies Die” (2018) It is rather shocking that some Nigerians were surprised that the Abuja residence of the nonagenarian leader of the Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF),EDWIN-CLARK Chief Edwin Clerk was raided. But, actually, the behavior of the security and anti-graft agencies in recent times has an established pattern. If you are a critic of the government, first you are branded a wailer, then a looter. Next, you are visited by any of the many security or anti-graft agencies tucked in the laps of the President’s kinsmen. Examples abound. Chief Clark criticised the mistreatment of the Niger Delta. He has tackled the government over the lopsided appointments into nine positions on the board of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in which only one person (Dr. Thomas M. A. John), apart from Ibe Kachikwu (in his capacity as the Minister of State for Petroleum), is from the South South, while the South-West got one and the South East got nothing. He deplored the 55 major appointments during the reorganisation of the NNPC in which the oil-bearing South got only 19 positions, while the non oil-bearing North cornered 36. South East was left empty-handed. Chief Clark has been unsparing, albeit constructive, in his criticism of the administration’s approach to the death campaign of the militant herdsmen across the country, especially its lethargic dispositions to the genocidal sack of Middle Belt indigenes and forceful takeover of their ancestral lands by marauding herdsmen. He has been one of the avid campaigners for restructuring. By July this year, the clarion activisms of Chief Clark and other Southern and Middle Belt leaders had become so intolerable that the chartered flight, which was to convey the leaders of PANDEF, Afanifere, and Ohanaeze to the Middle Belt Conference on restructuring in Makurdi, Benue State, was denied landing permission, thus aborting their participation. Therefore, if morning foretells the day, every discerning Nigerian knew it was only a matter of time before Chief Clark, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeifes, Chief Ayo Adebanjos, etc. were harassed. And predictably, the big masquerade began the dastardly dance at his Aso residence. Meanwhile, there are many similarities between this latest raid and the raid on Senator Ike Ekweremadu’s official guest house on 26th May 2017. In a same case scenario, the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood initially denied the raiders of Ekweremadu’s guest house were policemen. But when the evidences became incontrovertible, Moshood recanted, but claimed that the men embarked on the oppression based on a wrong information by a whistleblower that Ekweremadu stockpiled arms at the guest house. He, however, insisted that the Inspector-General of police wasn’t aware of such high profile operation. Okay oo.

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