Democracy has come under serious and sustained assaults in a series of oppressive and undemocratic acts committed by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in the last three years against the parliament and the people, and there is no reason, anymore, why well-meaning Nigerians should remain aloof.
Sadly, autocratic leadership is becoming entrenched, and it is fast eroding basic democratic principles, as the Buhari Presidency transmutes into a full-blown dictatorship, unleashing terror and security agencies on lawmakers and civilians perceived as political enemies and oppositions.
As a concerned civil group, the Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC) is again drawing the attention of the international community and Nigerians to some coordinated wicked onslaught against members of the National Assembly, especially Senators, who have demonstrated boldness to call the executive to order over unconstitutional actions.
For instance, outspoken Senator Dino Melaye who, over the weekend, survived a contrived recall process against him, has been ceaselessly targeted by the Police, acting under instruction from the Buhari regime, and also consistently attacked by agents of Kogi governor, Yahaya Bello over his stance against wide spread impunity in the state.
Also over the weekend, the mover of the motion for the commencement of impeachment of President Buhari over the illegal deduction of money from the Consolidate Revenue Fund of the federation, without the approval of the National Assembly, Senator Matthew Urhoghide representing Edo South, came under serious attack that was supervised by the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki.
The irrepressible Senator Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna Central in the Senate, has also faced repeated persecutions from anti-democratic forces in his state, who are working to destroy decent oppositions. Several other Senators have also been harangued for their stand against the Buhari Presidency.
We are not unaware that the main target of this coordinated plot to undermine the institution of the legislature is the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, who have been subjected to an unprecedented level of victimization and abuses.
Need we remind all those working to undermine the National Assembly that the legislative arm is the bastion of democracy and the pedestal on which every democracy, whether presidential, parliamentary or any other form of democratic government, stands and that any attempt to weaken it is an attempt to subvert democracy?
No one should attempt to kill the national assembly simply because they do not like the faces of Saraki, Ekweremadu, Dino, Sani, and others, or simply because of the fact that they are doing their job to curb executive excesses and recklessness.
We condemn the recent treasonable invasion of the National Assembly by some thugs who desecrated the hallowed chamber and made away with the Mace in a coup-like fashion, and we want to let those who are covering them now, know that no matter how long, they can never escape justice.
Having lost the confidence, goodwill and support of the Nigerian people who voted it into power, it is no longer hidden that the APC-led government has become increasingly desperate to coerce every form of opposition and use state instrument to silence dissent ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Atoye is the Convener,
Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution