Between Morality & Legality —By Patrick U. Akongwale


Patrick U. Akongwale|27 March 2017 In Ridley Scot's Gladiator, the young and erratic emperor, Commodus -told his sister Lucilla about his plan to disband the Senate, in his words: ''it takes an Emperor to rule an Empire''. Lucilla's response must guide us today: "Don't even think that, Commodus. There has always been a senate…., but leave the people their….traditions.". This is a conversation between Roman emperor and his sister, a woman standing up for democracy and rule of law during medieval times. In the twenty first century, allies of Buhari find reasons not to appear before the Senate; they rush to the courts to get injunctions; recruit APC social media minions to defend them on all platforms and do all sort of things that a "Jew Man" in Nigerian politics like us don't know. What we fail to understand is that Hammed Ali & Babachir are not disrespecting the Senate but, over a 180 million Nigerians that the Senators are representing. We borrowed our current model from the colonialist, and every citizen of Nigeria must respect the institution of the Senate despite the allege corruption and malpractices in the chambers. I am not ready to look at the legality of the summons, because I understand that they are options that even American President avoid. They called it nuclear options: they are mostly constitutional, but for the sake of posterity, President and their aides avoid them. The beauty of democracy is that on paper it gives a President or head of state so much power but in practice, common sense must be applied or else very little progress is made if the President choses to play all his cards.
The actions of Hameed Ali is part of the reasons why I had reservations about APC in 2015 despite Jonathan's abysmal performance. Ali and Buhari share the same DNA: they view the executive arm of government like the Supreme Military Council that governed us during the military era. You can raid Judges house; you can ignore the senate once you have the backing of Mr President and the Attorney General of the Federation; you can disregard court pronouncements regarding detained citizens etc. That is why Hameed Ali receives salary from the Nigerian Customs but can't wear their uniform because he comes from the almighty Nigerian army and sees the customs uniform as "falling of hands". Buhari must asked these men to appear before Saraki and his gang; it's a moral issue and not a constitutional conundrum. After all, Ali is not charged for corruption while Balbachir was cleared of wrongdoings by the all-knowing DSS. PMB & Hameed worked in Abacha's regime and posterity didn't judge them because of the nature of our society, but please they should respect us this time by honouring the invitations from the Senate. Buhari told Chatham House in 2015 that he's a converted Democrat; Sir, Preach the gospel of Lucilla to your henchmen : leave the people their traditions. Patrick U. Akongwale
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