The events surrounding the reported invasion of the private Abuja residence of Justice Mary Odili by some persons under the pretext of executing a search order tell a lot of story about the country called Nigeria. The mission , for some reason, failed. It was a poorly executed hatchet job. The sponsors and perpetrators of the sinister mission left a lot of gaps in their trail. They had difficulty justifying the act of brigandage. And so, they melted into thin air.
But the entire drama gives the country away as a vast insecure highway where daredevilry has become a way of life. It presents us with a Nigeria that is fast turning to a wasteland inhabited by mindless proles who are constantly being manipulated by something akin to Orwellian mind machine. That is why the people can be served falsehood as truth and they, in their uncritical credulity, merely grin with amazing acquiescence. Even when and where the people do not acquiesce, they display an aloofness that is difficult to fathom. We seem to be too absent-minded as a people to be taken seriously.
But who were those elements that bulldozed their way into the private residence of Justice Odili? Where did they come from? Who sent them or did they emerge from the blues? The answers to these questions seem to be the hard nut we are struggling to crack. But should the issue before us be knotty for whatever reason? It should not. But the fact that it has been made to wear the toga of a puzzle shows how perverse the country has been rendered. We mystify the ordinary and trivialize the serious. This tendency makes the country a corrupted, perverted and distorted version of what it should be. Nigeria is at once false, absurd and misrepresented. This makes the country a travesty, a mockery and caricature of what it was conceived to be.
If Nigeria were to be a proper country, the authorities will not be seeking to lead us by the nose. They will not be running from pillar to post, pretending to be looking for those who were sent on this mischievous errand to the residence of Justice Mary Odili. But because Nigeria has been programmed as a joke by those who have seized the reins of governance, the absurd search will continue. We will be entertained with histrionics for as long as we pay attention to the absurd drama. It is an interminable process. But its ultimate staying power lies in our ability to stay the course of the action. The drummers behind the scene know that we are ad hoc people. They know that we are tentative beings. They know that our patience cannot endure. In other words, they know that we will soon forget about the impunity that was the invasion of the residence of the Odilis. In a matter of days or weeks, Nigerians will move over to other issues. No one will bother any more about what the Mary Odili issue is all about.
It has happened before. And the plotters and conspirators are confident that it could happen again . Some five years ago, law enforcement agents carried out a midnight raid of the homes of some judges. The judiciary cried fowl. Nigerians cried why. But the outcries did not endure. They dissipated into thin air in no time. No group or institution insisted on knowing what exactly informed the midnight invasion. Why were the judges not invited in a decent manner to face justice if they are deemed to have run foul of the law? Why was a proper search warrant not issued and executed at a time proper human beings are awake? Why the ambush? Why the midnight invasion? These and related questions were raised then. But no answers were provided. Did we insist on anything? No, we did not. The matter just fizzled out. We treated it as if it was normal.
Five years down the road, we have returned to where we were . History is taking the same bizarre and riotous course. As usual, we are asking questions. The judiciary is engaged in free style muck-raking. But what happens the day after? We will get the answers to the questions we are asking? Can we divest this matter of its imposed mystique and treat it as the simple, straightforward matter that it is?
In the present circumstance, all the security agencies have washed their hands off the raid. They said they know nothing about the incident. The office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice has also denied any knowledge of what transpired at the private residence of Justice Mary Odili. For these government agencies, denial is enough. Nobody owes anybody any further explanation. But is that how it should be? Certainly not. We expect more than that. We expect the appropriate government agencies to wade into the matter and lay the issues bare. The invaders at the residence of the Odilis were no ghosts. They were human beings on a mission. What was their mission? Providing answers to these questions is the least any government can do in matters such as this. A serious government will even do more than that. It will tell the people what it knows or does not know about the ugly incident. A proper government will take the people into confidence and divest the issue of all its mysterious content. If the country were properly governed, the authorities would have given a name and a face to the invasion. But not so under our circumstance. Government is behaving as if it does not owe the people any explanation. But it does. As a matter of fact, the office of the Attorney General should go beyond denying involvement in the shameful drama. It has a responsibility to investigate the issue using appropriate law enforcement agencies.
However, regardless of the amount of pussyfooting that goes into this matter, Nigerians understand the undercurrents. They can longer be led by the nose. They experienced Walter Onnoghen, who was Chief Justice of Nigeria between 2017 and 2019. Onnoghen was removed from office in controversial circumstances because the government of the day was ill at ease with him.
Given the rascality that this government has been exhibiting in matters like this, Nigerians are suspicious that something as sinister as Onnoghen’s is cooking. Justice Mary Odili as the second most senior judicial officer in the country could possibly ascend the position of the Chief Justice of Nigeria. Do the owners of the Nigerian enterprise want to stop her in her tracks? Are they plotting a blackmail? Do they want to give the dog a bad name in order to hang it? These are possible scenarios given what we know about our country and those who pilot its affairs. But should Nigerians just remain onlookers in their own affairs? Is it not high time they woke up from their self-imposed slumber? The people must go beyond raising dust as they are doing in the Justice Mary Odili case. They must hold government accountable by insisting that the right thing is done at all times.