Sowore, DSS and the War Within


These are not the best of times for the reputation of the Federal Government of Nigeria. In the interests of the administration and the stability of the country, it is advisable that the government of the day listens to the voice of reason.
Last week, the number two citizen in the country and second in command in the All Progressive Congress-led administration, Yemi Osinbajo, a professor of Law, declined to take an award obviously knowing it would be insensitive for him to do so at a time like this when the hoopla in the land is all about human rights violations.
Three days ago, Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, dropped his toga of being a member of the ruling party and indeed a serving governor on the platform of the party to dissociate himself from some of the recent happenings that have compelled notable international organisations to keep their eyes on the country in the last few days.
Akeredolu, apparently piqued by the courtroom drama in Abuja during which men of the Directorate of State Security attempted to arrest leader of the Revolution Now movement, Omoyele Sowore right within the court premises, and in what appeared like a bottled up emotion, asked “will people go and desecrate our courtrooms and we keep quiet? The bar must condemn it. There is no explanation anybody can give you.”
I doubt if Sowore got majority opinion backing his actions when he declared his “revolution now” slogan. For a man who contested an election and made no impact whatsoever, his call for a revolution was seen to be no more than sour grapes and one of those desperate moves by a defeated candidate to paper over the shame of his abysmal performance at the poll.
But then, no thanks to the Federal Government, the Sowore that no one gave any chance at the poll has been thrown up as a face and figure to adorn the front covers of major news organisations and with ample mentions in international media prominent of which are the CNN, BBC and others. This, it has achieved, through the indiscretion of its DSS.
No matter how you choose to view it, the Sowore saga, if not carefully handled, has the capacity to cause an implosion within the APC. What do I mean? Vice President Osinbajo’s decline of an award on human rights last week could not have gone down well with a caucus (and what is grandiosely referred to as “the cabal”) within the government. A vice president in subtle expression of sadness over the actions of the government in which he is a major player is directly casting aspersions on the same government. This is an indirect indication that within the APC government, there might be some cracks with different camps believing what they choose to believe in the actions of the government depending on where their interests lay.
For the vice president, who should be an epitome of the defence of the rule of law, sacredness of human rights and dignity, what choices are indeed open to him? Had this clime been one where resignations from high profile jobs are not alien, his actions could have been followed by a pull out from the administration if only to tell the world he has a life outside the cocoon of Aso Rock.
But even as he chooses to trudge on, perhaps, hoping that these whole complications would fizzle, he sure knows there would be a limit to how far he can go should the presidency continue to shrug off the bad omens that these developments portend.
Of course, the vice president could not have been alone in his camp. There are obviously officers of this government who must be burning inside but obviously trapped within the net of the administration’s faus pax and their conscience.
Unfortunately, the wrong steps we are talking about here are the handiworks of one of the government’s agencies, the DSS.
If Section 43 (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice (Act 2015) says it is illegal to arrest anyone within the premises of a court, it should be understood that the DSS, whether within the courtroom or around its premises, had flouted the law.
Sadly, within the last one week, the Buhari administration had recorded some positives which, ought to have been cause for celebrations by Nigerians especially those who abhor corruption.
The conviction of former Governor Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu (despite being a member of the APC) and the release of fresh financial guidelines to further tighten the noose around sleaze are two major achievements which have been buried in the hoopla occasioned by the actions of the DSS.
Rather than defend the actions of the security organization, the Sowore saga offers the government the avenue to cause a reorganization of the security organisation in such a way that acts that are capable of bringing shame to the government could be averted.
This was the same manner and tone Nigerians condemned the DSS when President Buhari sought to oust the Peoples Democratic Party in 2015.
If the Buharists saw this as rogue organization then, it should not be shy to admit that some of its men have carried on in the same manner. And that calls for a rethink.

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