There seems to be no limit to what power can do when it comes to the influence of Nigerian politicians, their interests, and their ego. Using the state security agencies to intimidate the citizenry they are meant to protect had now become a measure of might for the politicians and elites.
The member of the House of Representatives from Oluyole federal constituency of Oyo State, Tolulope Akande-Sadipe last week exercised arbitrary use of naked power by ordering a citizen’s detention and later, played the gender card to sway sympathy in her favour. The lawmaker alleged that a senior special assistant to the deputy president of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, Mr Jide Babalola intimidated her in an elevator conveying about 7 other people.
The lawmaker claimed that Babalola reacted rudely to her when he cautioned him against bumping into her in the elevator.
The lawmaker further claimed that Babalola made a scene from what should have been mutually ironed out by two matured minds, thereby alleging intimidation based on gender.
I ordinarily would have been persuaded by the lawmaker’s slant to the story if she had not displayed arrogance and arbitrary use of powers and her privilege as a lawmaker to ensure that a ‘lesser Nigerian’ is held down by the police while she went about her normal businesses. I would have as well excused the lawmaker’s intolerance if the alleged intimidation had happened in the elevator usually reserved for lawmakers, which sometimes the general public is allowed to use. it is worthy of note that the altercation ensued in a public elevator, therefore Akande-Sadipe’s outburst was unnecessary.
Nevertheless, from Akande-Sadipe’s narrative, one could deduce that the major reason for the disagreement was lack of recognition, and the lawmaker was bent on showing power. I can understand Akande-Sadipe’s frustration when, as a lawmaker, she was about to be squeezed in a small elevator with common people when should have been recognised and treated specially. I can also imagine Babalola‘s reaction when someone you can’t recognise claims a special status in a public facility.
However, Babalola’s sin of not recognising Akande-Sadipe and giving her a distance of at least 20 meters can be excused since the lawmaker is less famous albeit an unknown face among other vocal and outstanding lawmakers.
Unfortunately, the same cant be said about Akande-Sadipe who made a verbal order to the security operatives, and on the strength of her order Babalola was held for several hours without a formal report or, a statement recorded by the police on the incident, What more can intimidation mean?
On second thought, from the confession of Akande-Sadipe, Babalola was about to bump into her when she complained and the altercation ensued, this does suggest that there was no form of harassment beyond the bickering over who is a more superior Nigerian. Logically, this shouldn’t degenerate to an arrest, particularly when the common journalist has apologised upon intervention by a few lawmakers around.
I have reasons to believe that Babalola had displayed traits of a gentleman, having apologised profusely to the lawmaker, not because he admitted to any wrongdoing but because Akande-Sadipe’s colleagues encouraged him to allow the sleeping dog lie, irrespective of who was right or wrong. What more does gentle lady Akande-Sadipe want from an alleged sexist after an apology?
I must express my disappointment at the conduct of the lawmaker, she does not even show respect to fellow lawmakers who had intervened in the matter. I am also aware that when another lawmaker attempted to take Babalola on bail and the police officer tried to secure Akande-Sadipe’s consent, she refused to bulge, she preferred that a fellow Nigerian should be held in police captivity until she returns from her meeting outside the National Assembly premises, what impunity!
While we observe with keen interest how the matter will be managed by the Police, it is my sincere advice that the respected Nigerian Police Force should train and retain their officers and men on where the privileges of mighty Nigerians stop and where the rights of common citizens start. As for Akande-Sadipe, should pls endeavour to use designated elevators to avoid being bumped into and possibly think of creating enough barricades around herself especially as the season of electioneering campaign draws closer.