By Usama Dandare
I intentionally decided not to be quick in writing anything against the shameful display of unprofessionalism exhibited by Marilyn Ogar (the spokeswoman of the Department For State Service DSS) over the last six years and resolved to calmly set eyes on President Jonathan to see if he can at least for once pretend to be a well discipline leader, thinking he was going to sack outright, punish or, at least, suspend Marilyn Ogar for violating the constitution of the federal republic over and over again and misuse of power under a president who is globally acknowledged to be weak and incompetent.
I thought Jonathan will show he isn’t as incompetent and weak as widely believe and prove his critics wrong by taking action against Madam Ogar who’s ensnare in almost every partisan and illegal move taken by the once apolitical security agents – her recent raid on the data office of All Progressives Congress (APC) in an attempt to blackmail the opposition by falsely accusing them of cloning INEC’s permanent voters card and the manner in which she handled the case speaks volumes about her partisanship and the level of collaboration she has with the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Unfortunately, President Jonathan’s actions to make sure Marilyn Ogar and her likes respect the rule of law or face retributions has been lackadaisical, bootless, flimsy and reminiscent of the brass tacks that Ogar is indeed serving the president and his cohorts rather than Nigeria.
Viewing from her partisan activities over the years especially before the just concluded general elections, it’s pellucid if someone refer to Marilyn Ogar as the spokeswoman for President Jonathan or the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), or even the hitherto DG of the DSS. This woman demonstrated partisanship in the most irresponsible manner and in my own opinion, she better resign honorably from the DSS, as the hurricane of change is about to blow in her direction likewise all of those compromised security personnels.
Nigeria is one different cosmos where corrupt public officials involved in various corruption scandals will almost not ever mind to resign over their shameful acts or to appear for proper investigations. In fact, we have seen several scenarios where these officials were even shielded from investigations by the government itself just as in the case of Diezani Alison-Madueke, many will more often use their relationships with the government to stop the law from acting on them – to an extent of applying crook methods against all decorum and spiritual bewitchery just to elude retributions. To make matters worst, the executives saddled with the responsibility of imposing the rule of law are the sole perpetrators of the law.
In his characteristically inept attitudes, President Jonathan has at least for once proven to be an active president by sacking the notorious Inspector General of Police, IGP Abba Sulaiman, though many spectators faulted the action as self-serving and not in the nation’s best interest, but at least, it was a good riddance to bad rubbish. Indeed, IGP Sulaiman has paid the price of serving individual rather than country. Now that President Goodluck Jonathan has found back his balls (apologies to Femi Fani-Kayode), can he extend such disciplinary gesture to Ms. Marilyn Ogar of the DSS and her likes in our security agencies in the best interest of all and sundry?
The role of security operatives cannot be over-emphasised, because of their crucial assignment of keeping the peace in and around our country with or without elections, and the use of security agencies as willing tools by politicians to continuously harass, hound and intimidate political opponents and to stifle basic freedoms guaranteed under Nigerian laws are a direct violation of the rule of law and such practice adumbrate a great danger to the survival of our hard-won democracy.
Our security agencies must appreciate their vital role in ensuring the safety of lives and property and must remain professional, non-partisan and apolitical at all times. Whoever engaged in violating the constitution should be rap-knuckle as stipulated by the law, and Marilyn Ogar must never be an exception.
As expected of any well-meaning citizen, I am forced to draw an equidistant sparked by Madam Ogar’s unprofessional and irresponsible mental-outlook. She is supposed to act according to the provision of our constitution to protect lives and property of every Nigerian but Ogar is rather immoral to the constitution. Should she be allowed to continue serving some selfish desires of hers and other few opportunists after all the ignominious rascalities she committed?
Well, going by her actions, one must be forced to concur with the palpability that Marilyn Ogar is perhaps acting a PDP script and shares similar portfolio with Doyin Okupe, Femi Fani-Kayode and Olisa Metuh. She’s indeed an undercover spokeswoman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and President Jonathan but if in doubt, the following few scenarios will justify the fact that Madam Ogar is indeed more of a politicians than a security operative:
Shortly after August 2014 gubernatorial election in Osun state, Madam Ogar was quoted as saying: “Thank God, the APC won the Osun election. There was no bomb blast” (But there were bomb blasts in other states lost by the APC, especially, Ondo captured by the Labour Party, Anambra won by APGA, and Ekiti won by the PDP)”, in this attempt, Madam Ogar was trying to regurgitate the PDP’s unproven allegation linking APC with the notorious Boko Haram terrorist sect but failed to provide any substantial evidence or pursue any prosecution against any APC member. Now that APC has become the ruling party, can Madam DSS continue to serve under the leadership of a “terrorist party?”
In her continuous process of portraying the DSS as mere tool for political propaganda rather than the professional security outfit it ought to be and also in her quest to blackmail and discredit the opposition, Ms. Ogar alleged that the APC had tried to bribe her with ₦14 million to rig Osun gubernatorial polls without providing a scintilla of evidence to support such incredulous allegations, and to my dismay, she’s yet to mention any name or make any arrest relating to the bribery accusation.
Madam Ogar further confirmed my fears that herself and the agency she represent have now transformed themselves into the uniform wing of the PDP by referring to the courageous #BringBackOurGirls movement as a franchise and a campaign affiliated to terrorists, without citing any evidence and no subsequent follow-up. This idiotic assertion from a high ranking security personnel isn’t only irresponsible but a political hypocrisy in the interest of the presidency who sees the #BringBackOurGirls movement as a threat to their political popularity.
Least i forget, the November 22, 2014 raids on APC Data Centre in Lagos by officers of the DSS allegedly under the orders of Marilyn Ogar isn’t only disgusting but a clear demonstration that the security outfit are akin to a form of political attack dogs to harass and intimidate the opposition. Shortly after the bedevil, Madam Ogar disgracefully paraded some young men on national television, claiming that the APC are allegedly cloning INEC’s permanent voters card and also registering multiple party members. Surprisingly, Ogar failed to display even a single cloned card to buttress her points but instead, we were shown only APC membership registration forms, and the DSS are yet to present any convincing evidence.
Based on these scenarios above, one must draw a final conclusion that we’ve never had an SSS spokesperson who was so visible and selfish if not this time around. In short, Nigerians weren’t even aware that the secret service operates an office of a spokesperson until the unfortunate emergence of Madam Ogar in such position. As a norm for personnels of any professional secret service, they often work in the background as undercover and are rarely seen in public which is why they’re called the secret police but for Madam Ogar, being a secret police has been like becoming a celebrity and an opinion leader who always seek public attention and cheap popularity. she doesn’t have business in continuing her work for the government. She has damaged whatever reputation the SSS fought to build over the years.
Though I will be the second if not the first to oppose the new APC government if they engage in victimization of those perceived to be loyalists to the government of the day, but if Marilyn Ogar escaped the defeat-motivated aggression of President Jonathan as in the case of former IGP Sulaiman. I will strongly advice the APC not to wait to 30th of May before showing Madam Ogar the way out, they shouldn’t hesitate to use her as a scapegoat for other security agents to take lessons from and learn not to be partisan in the discharge of their official duties to the federal republic of Nigeria. Dealing with Madam Ogar severely will also make other public servants who will be in position of authority in the incoming APC government take a cue from this scenario that power is indeed transmigratory.
In a nutshell, with the likes of Marilyn Ogar in our once proud and professional secret service, the DSS will be akin to some sorts of notice me monkeys that are always dancing to the tune of any nonsensical melody just to gladden the selfish interest of their paymasters against all decorum and at the expense of national interest. She must not escape punishment unless if she’s above the law which i strongly believe she’s is not, and with people like her, the DSS and all other security agencies needs no external enemy as they already have one within.
Usama A. Dandare, a social commentator and an advocate of peace and good governance, writes in from Sokoto.