Enough of criminalization of Nasarawa legislators

By Rogers Edor Ochela

Since Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa state was exonerated by the probe panel set up by the State Chief Judge, Suleiman Dikko, his acolytes have been busy celebrating the victory and criminalizing the state legislators for merely carrying out their responsibilities in line with constitutional provisions.
The situation has gotten so bad that no day passes without one reading one offensive publication or the other celebrating ‘Saint’ Al-Makura and demonizing the state legislators. In doing this, these writers do not even bother to respond to any of the allegations on financial and administrative scams leveled against the governor.
Two of such write-ups caught my attention recently. While one was written by Bala Dan-Alkali titled “Nasarawa: Of Lawmakers and their Image,’’ the other was written by Mohammed Inuwa titled “Nasarawa: Of Saints and Sinners’’. Both were published in Blueprint of Monday, August 25, 2014 and Monday, August 18, 2014, respectively.
Dan-Alkali wrote that “Egocentrism, greed and avarice has taken large part of them (legislators) so much so that nobody has any respect before them. They think the world begins and ends with them’’.
Bala maliciously declared that in their quest to impeach Al-Makura, the lawmakers “turned the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria upside down just to suit their whims and caprices.’’
Accusing the lawmakers of egocentrism, greed and avarice is just a convenient way to divert attention from the issues. Alkali’s persistent lionization of Al-Makura personae amounts to dressing the governor in the garb of indispensability, but he must be reminded of the immortal saying that no matter the constancy butterfly flutters its wings, it can never metamorphose into a bird.
What I find most baffling is that these writers often take liberty with the freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution by turning facts on their heads and in the process, offend the sensibilities of well-meaning Nigerians. Or how else does one view the persistent allegation of breaching of the constitution often leveled against the lawmakers in their attempt to impeach the governor by these writers, instead of speaking the truth to their principal and the state CJ who violated the provisions of the constitution with impunity, all in a bid to provide the governor with an escape route?
Inuwa equally turned himself into a fiction designer with specialization in lie embroidery. First on his card of disinformation, Inuwa alleged that ethnic militias were “unleashed on the state by those who see the state as their personal property and hitherto held it captive for decades, but were swept away by the wind of change during the last election’’. These are barefaced lies.
The pertinent questions to ask are: isn’t it the same (Ombatse) militia that it’s Secretary, Mr. Alumaga, alleged supported the governor during the gubernatorial election in 2011? Is it not this same militia that the governor allegedly gave money to enhance its operations? So, what the heck is Inuwa saying?
For him to sanctimoniously declare that the allegations leveled against the governor by the legislators were manufactured smacks of mischief. If his hands are clean as he wants the whole world to believe, let operatives of EFCC be invited to scrutinize the books of the state government. It is only when that is done and the governor given a clean bill of health that people like Dan-Alkali and Inuwa can be justified. For now, the onus is on the governor to prove his innocence. Blackmailing legislators cannot solve the current riddle.
Inuwa literarily crowed from the rooftop when he “manufactured” supposed earnings of the legislators in a glib manner, but failed to tell Nigerians what members of the executive arm of government have been ‘pocketing’ from the treasury. Everybody knows that it is the executive that dispenses funds to the other arms of government, including the legislature. So, as it is often said in local parlance, an outsider cannot eat more than the man in the kitchen. Simply impossible!
The antics currently on display in Nasarawa state is rather unfortunate; those pretending to be on the side of the people, but in reality are merely displaying chicaneries, looting and bastardization of the system that brought them to power. The good people of the state are hereby advised to ‘shine their eyes well-well’ with a view to seeing the current reprobate nature of their rulers and repudiate it by way of holding them accountable.
At this critical juncture in the history of Nasarawa State, it is high time the likes of Dan-Alkali and Mohammed Inuwa learnt to divest themselves from unnecessarily politicizing explosive issues like the impeachment saga in the state. So, demonizing the legislators or even criminalizing the act of discharging their constitutional responsibility is a disservice to the people of the state. Period!

Ochela, former newspaper editor and now media consultant, wrote from Abuja