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The attempt to oust the civilian governor of Anambra state from power, almost in the fashion a military coup, will remain a dark stain on the record of present crop of Nigerian political leaders as long as the scheme to cover up this unfortunate incident is kept in play. No one has stepped up to deny that some citizens took the law of the land into their hands by plotting to truncate the constitutionally installed government of one of the 36 states in Nigeria on July 10, 2003. In fact, many well-placed knowledgeable Nigerians have already made numerous pronouncements concerning the matter, mostly in its condemnation. The Nigerian Senate set up an ad hoc committee to look into the matter and recommend a possible line of action for the nation’s upper legislative body. The ad hoc committee has since finished its assignment and concluded that a judicial commission of enquiry should be raised by the Nigerian Senate to get to the bottom of what really happened in Government House, Awka on July 10, 2003. The senate committee’s recommendations are in consonance with the stance of Southeast governors who collectively opined earlier that a thorough probe should be carried out to unearth the mysteries that lurk behind this brazen affront to the nation’s constitution by PDP stalwarts in Anambra state.

What many Nigerians are now asking is this. What is holding the Senate back from adopting the recommendations of a fact-finding committee that it set up to look into an attempt to disrupt democratic governance by unconstitutional means? Some are beginning to speculate that entrenched powers at the helm of national government are intent on smothering the truth about what really happened because full exposure could reveal complicity or connivance of the presidency. President Obasanjo and his spokespersons have made it clear that the crisis that nearly wrecked the Government of Anambra State should preferably be discussed and resolved within the ranks of the ruling party, the PDP. Would the President ask the PDP to handle the situation if a well orchestrated attempt is made to oust him from Aso Rock by his political mentors or sponsors? Whose supreme interest has been violated by Ngige-Uba imbroglio; was it the ruling party, the PDP or millions of residents of Anambra state? The Nigerian constitution makes it clear that the ultimate arbiter of state power is the average citizen and that the electorate should decide political leadership through the ballot box, not through behind-the-scene deals of partisan king makers.

Nigerian democracy is under serious threat if licentious conducts are regarded by government of the day as normal way of doing people’s business. It is obvious that President Obasanjo would prefer the political crises in Anambra to be sorted out in camera for reasons that are presently unclear. Mr. President should be made to understand that the overwhelming majority of Anambra residents, in particular and Nigerians, in general, abhor that approach. The Senate was right in setting up a committee to hold preliminary hearing on the matter. The Senate leadership should now live up to their oath of office to defend the Nigerian constitution, if needs be, with their lives. The Senate President and Speaker of House of Representatives must now mobilize the National Assembly to rise up to perform its constitutional duty since it is obvious that the other two arms of government, the presidency and judiciary, are unwilling to do the right thing for the nation. The National Assembly is the last bastion of hope for the average Nigerian at this juncture and it cannot afford to be seen to fall short of expectation of the very electorate who elected them only a few moths ago.

Failure to get to the truth of what actually happened on July 10, 2003 will inflict a severe wound in the national psyche which will far outweigh the presumed benefit of maintaining harmony within the ranks of the ruling party whose primary interest appears to be to retain its grip on power nationwide. The PDP shall be digging its own grave by visibly impeding the legitimate right of the average citizen to utilize the self-regulating mechanisms that are part and parcel of our constitutional democracy. President Obasanjo may indeed be innocent of the potentially criminal acts of those who front his name to facilitate the execution of their selfish diabolical acts. It is also possible that the President has the best interest of the nation at heart by opting to spare us the potential national turmoil that an open judicial enquiry can bring about. He should, however, realize that a cover up of a blatant misconduct, or an impression of it, does even greater harm to Nigeria and the nascent democratic dispensation which we are all trying to entrench. In absence of verifiable truth, rumor mills and speculations shall have a field day. The fiasco of July 10th shall not simply go away because some powerful politicians would prefer that to happen. Let the Nigerian Senate set up its judicial enquiry now without further delay. The overwhelming majority of Nigerians demand full exposure on what happened in Awka on July 10, 2003. Whoever repudiates this rightful demand by the electorate may have to pay for their misguided choices down the road.

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