In reviewing the farcical coup—orchestrated by the president of the Nigerian senate, Bukola Saraki—that took place on Tuesday, July 4, 2017, we were reminded of the French coup of 1851 by Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte and the analysis by Karl Marx.
Since the French constitution prohibited an incumbent president from seeking re-election, Louis Bonaparte (Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew), who was elected president in 1848, was due to leave office in 1852. On December 2, 1851, President Louis Bonaparte staged a self-coup as his followers broke up the French Legislative Assembly and established a dictatorship. A year later, he proclaimed himself Emperor Napoleon III.
In The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, Marx, referencing the coup of 18 Brumaire, November 9, 1799, that brought General Napoleon Bonaparte, the uncle, to power, described how the class struggle (political crisis) in France “created circumstances and relationships that made it possible for a grotesque mediocrity (Louis-Napoleon, the nephew) to play a hero’s part.”
The political crisis in Nigeria is creating circumstances in which swindlers in the corridors of power and scoundrels posing as lawmakers are playing the part of heroes. And so, it came to pass that Nigeria’s senate president, Bukola Saraki, whose rap sheet is long enough to sew prison uniforms for every member of our notorious National Assembly, prevented himself from being sworn in as acting president of the country on July 4, 2017, and thus saving our fledgling democracy.
In the Preface to the Third German Edition of The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon in 1885, Friedrich Engels concluded that “Marx came out with a concise, epigrammatic exposition that laid bare the whole course of French history…and in so doing did not even need to treat the hero of the coup d‘état otherwise than with the contempt he so well deserved.” The “hero” of the parliamentary coup of July 4 in Nigeria deserves all the contempt we can muster!
On a day that will perpetually live in infamy, Bukola Saraki, using his sidekicks, Eyinnaya Abaribe and Kabiru Marafa, and much to the approval of other senators toadying to their emperor, otherwise known as senate president, sought to undermine the constitution and illegally overthrow the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of which he is a highly placed member—the third in the hierarchy. The details of that coup, orchestrated by anti-democratic forces, would have been laughable if not that they are tragic.
After two weeks of vacation, Saraki and his colleagues resumed in their severely desecrated chamber and the main order of business, amid the political tension and excruciating economic conditions, was a scheme to overthrow the acting president, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
Saraki had hardly finished reading a letter from the acting president requesting the senate’s confirmation of the appointment of Lanre Gbajabiamila as the Director General, National Lottery Regulatory Commission, when the senate’s unrepentant pedophile, Ahmed Sani Yerima, raised a point of order to initiate discussion on the acting president’s position on the confirmation of nominees.
In a voyage of crass mischief and pathetic misunderstanding of the acting president’s stance on the power of the senate to confirm nominees from the executive branch, Yerima guided his colleagues to adopt the erroneous position that since the acting president believes the senate lacks the power of confirmation, there was no point entertaining letters from the executive branch asking for confirmation of nominees.
But Nigerians know that this mischief was aimed at undermining the acting president by twisting his position on the senate’s power to confirm executive nominees. His position was strictly in respect of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and others in that category. What he said after the senate’s refusal to confirm Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of EFCC following two appearances, was that theSaraki’s Farcical July 4th Coup By Chido Onumah & Godwin Onyeacholem Saraki’s Farcical July 4th Coup By Chido Onumah & Godwin Onyeacholem Saraki’s Farcical July 4th Coup By Chido Onumah & Godwin Onyeacholem