Storming the US Capitol: If America were Nigeria

Storming the US Capitol: If America were Nigeria

Femi Orebe


I AM aware that some people call me ‘Mr Fix it’. I think such people call me that name, either in contempt or in admiration. It is possible that they are being mischievous. A few questions arise here. Am I “Mr fix It” as a reformer or someone who always does things right? Am I being portrayed as one who gets things settled or fixed? Am I being held out as someone who, by hook or crook, achieves results with the belief that the end justifies the means? In any case, I do not enjoy this appellation. I have always believed in what I do and I always make sure I achieve successes, without listening to the crowd of voices. If I am called an achiever, that sounds more complimentary, satisfying and positive than the ambiguous impression, which ‘MR FIX it’ Connotes” – Chief Tony Anenih – The late one time chairman, Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and National Chairman of the then Social Democratic Party (SDP) in his Autobiography titled ‘My Life and Nigerian Politics’.

Were the events of 6 January, 2021 when a mob associated with U S President Donald Trump and some Trumplicans stormed the U S capitol, killing 5 persons and completely shutting down the congress just so the  President, who was defeated in  the 2020 U S Presidential election, can hang on to office to have happened in Nigeria ,  ‘camp Trump’ would by now be celebrating four more years of  whoever that man or woman is  who like President Donald John Trump was out making a  complete msss of a legitimate election he/ she lost by no less than 7 million votes. No thanks to money , call it bribery, tonnes of it, ethnicity, a coterie of high ranking politicians with very shifty principles, if any at all;  an assorted number of their royal highnesses in their outlandish  regalia trooping all over the country , hordes of congratulatory state delegations acting at the behest of opposition governors,  but above all an incorrigible Head of state who believes he/ she can muzzle his/ her ways through, no matter what, leveraging on all the aforementioned fault lines.

God forbid that it gets to the courts and you’d  see many in the temple of justice who see that as their  opportunity to  have preferments to the highest echelons of the judiciary. Unlike what would have happened in Nigeria, we saw the following take place in the United states:

”After the shocking violence at the Capitol and the images of insurrection were shown around the world, the military chiefs, in a ”Memorandum for the Joint Force”, told  American  soldiers: “We support and defend the Constitution. Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values and oath, it is against the law.” They showed that even though they are not partisan, they have a fine-tuned antenna to the political climate. They know when it is time for them to speak out. They knew the  memo would put them at odds with the president  and commande – in – chief, but that would not stop the  chiefs from making their stand known, calling out the rioters – even though the President’s men – that “the rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection”.

Of course,  the Nigerian military would be rooting for the misbehaving power monger,  and reading the body language of its leadership, the rank and file would ensure that bodies are dropping  heedlessly on the streets as Lagosians saw when the goggled general was heading to the Ikeja airport during the June 12 annulment.

Although many would wager that  it was because he was a general, I dare say that  this is one reason Nigerians must continue to show appreciation to President Goodluck Jonathan  –  even though I’ve never had many nice things to say about him – for  refusing to toe the line  of those who wanted him to hang on to power but he , instead, chose to concede,  congratulating the winner. Not a few have reasonably suggested  that all Orubebe was targeting during his rant at the collating centre was for Professor  Atahiru Jega, the INEC Chairman,

to mishandle the occasion only to see him order – yes order policemen  for he was that close to the President,  to teargas the centre,  an event  some people were allegedly  eagerly awaiting to declare an immediate curfew after  which their military storm troopers would have immediately shut down the entire process.

You will only dispute that possibility if you do not know Nigeria enough.

When it comes to shortchanging Nigerians over elections, the names of  some Nigerians will, forever,  go into infamy in the annals of Nigerian history. Even a rudimentary reading of both our not too recent, and contemporary history,  will show how,  from the very first military coup of 1966, a member of the parliament it was who surrendered the mandate given by the people to the first post independence government. From then on, it has been a roller coaster, especially since the annulment of  the June 12, 1983 unarguably Nigeria’s freest election ever, which the military Head of state, who took Nigerians on a meaningless succession plot over many years,  personally annulled lying that it was the military council which did.

But it is not only he who, by that act, wrote his name on the wrong side of Nigerian history. Many civilians there are, who will never wash clean their guilt and which not even the grim reaper, whenever it comes, would ever successful erase. There was the number 2 on that annulled ticket who just ‘flew” away, just like there was the chairman of the winning party, who thought nothing of  selling out the pan Nigerian mandate.

But it wasn’t just politicians who threw away all the  shame in the world to cling around the ultimate power wielders from whom money effortlessly oozed, to make a complete mess of a free and fair election; an election  for which the winner would ultimately  pay the ultimate price.

Even some otherwise highly regarded royalties played ignoble roles that have been aptly captured by Kabiyesi, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, the Awujale of Ijebuland, in Awujale, his autobiography, where  he dedicated  the entire  11th chapter to the annulment  itself, and the effort by well meaning  people, from all over the country, to  de-annulment  an election  that  was won hands down, by the late Chief M.K.O Abiola. Nor did they stop with June 12 for had   President Goodluck Jonathan been minded to hold on to office, many of them, from  various parts  of the country would have readily formed his body armour.

Were America Nigeria, the National Assembly would have long shut down either for a fear of the unknown, or on the other hand, which seems the more plausible, our legislators would have readily turned both chambers to a merchandising arena, haggling, and holding out for their usual billions, as we saw during the Olusegun Obasanjo Third Term Project extravaganza.

We in the Third world may gloat and claim that America is, afterall, no different from  us. But  that would  be the greatest deceit ever for  the U. S  proved itself  a bastion of democracy with its strong  national institutions admirably holding out. For instance, of  the 62 cases that went to court  over the 2020 Presidential election, with some going  right up to the Supreme Court to which President  Trump appointed 3 judges apart from about  300 judges at the lower courts, he won only in one.

I ask the reader to just mentally imagine what a judicial  bedlam we would now be dealing with had that happened here. Even where the opposition might have won in some lower courts, the government would be rest assured that ultimate victory  cometh  from the Supreme Court.

Law enforcement and Intelligence agencies, as well as the  military, though caught a little  unawares,  have since creditably discharged their duties,  and are now at the ready, poised  to meet whatever new challenges cropped up.

Let me conclude  this piece with the following views of a very loyal reader of this column; views which I, however,  do not  subscribe to

even when I know that majority of white America would rather have an all white America. He wrote:

“Biden won but Trump is the true spirit of America. I lost confidence in their hypocritical democracy when they went to install Aristides and came to murder Abiola, the  winner of the most credible election in Nigeria to date. America is still the whiteman’s world. Biden’s policy will not be as crude as Trump’s but it would still be white American. Sooner than later America will come to grief by “Trumpianism”. 74.4m voters is a substantial percentage (47.7). Hitler didn’t need that much to take over  by stratagem. Let’s  stop deceiving ourselves.  America and her strong-looking institutions are fragile & vulnerable” – LEINAD