Again Ita Enang has been caught in what I consider a serious goof.
Recently the Senate summoned the Attorney General of Federation to explain why he is prosecuting the Senate President and Deputy Senate President for forgery. The AGF sent a representative in the person of Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution. The Senate refused to hear the AGF’s representative and the Chief simply excused himself.
Chief Okoi later addressed the Press where he said that the Senate lacked the powers to summon the AGF on this matter.
Ita Enang who is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) later apologized to the Senate for the comments of the AGF’s representative. His apology was initially taken to be on behalf of the presidency. The presidency came out to deny issuing such an apology and Ita Enang in a bid to save face descended from the absurd to the ridiculous.
Let’s look at the absurd.
Why will Ita Enang issue an apology in the first place? As a lawyer is he saying it is right for the Senate to summon the AGF on a matter that is already in court? Is that not an invasion of the tenets of democracy and a pooh-poohing of the judiciary? I, for one, believe that the Senate has some sort of legislative immunity concerning whatever is said or whatever document is produced to conduct activities in the red chambers. I think that arraigning the president and deputy senate president is an infringement of the said immunity. That’s what I think. But the AGF, the chief law officer of the country thinks differently.
What I think, what the AGF thinks, what the Senators thinks, what anyone thinks has been given a proper venue to be ventilated, expressed and determined by bringing the matter before the court. So how can the senate arm twist the court by summoning the prosecutor? Is this not a boldfaced move to intimidate the machinery of justice? And Barrister Ita Enang sees nothing wrong in this?
Now let’s get to the ridiculous… the really ridiculous.
Why will Ita Enang apologize for Chief Okoi? I have thought about this for days and I still can’t wrap my head around this. Hear Ita Enang: “I apologize for his comments. From what I heard he was not complimentary to the Senate, we didn’t need to cause more trouble between the presidency and the Senate. The President has not apologized. It is me that is apologizing for the inappropriate action of the person representing the Attorney General.” Very ridiculous.
Was Obono-Obla’s job to be complimentary to the Senate or to be truthful? So there is trouble between the presidency and the Senate? What is the more trouble Enang was referring to? The truth is that Ita Enang’s apologies would have made more sense if he was really doing it on behalf of the President or presidency. But no, Ita Enang said he was doing it in his personal capacity.
Personal capacity as Okoi’s father, uncle or senior prefect? Who is Ita Enang to apologize for Obono-Obla? Reading Ita Enang’s apology one will be misled to think that Chief Okoi is his PA or driver. If the SA on Prosecution’s actions were inappropriate as Enang claimed, the AGF (whom Okoi was representing) would have been the one to apologize or the President. Ita Enang has no moral, legal, spiritual or cultural right to apologize for Chief Okoi.
If he, Enang has a different opinion, he should have just said so, not arrogating to himself the avuncular rights to apologize for a fellow senior member of the APC and the Buhari administration. This is a classic case of megalomania.
Chief Okoi Obono-Obla is old, intelligent and experienced enough to hold an opinion without having anyone walking around patronizingly apologizing on his behalf. Chief Okoi is qualified to speak on behalf of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and he is that positioned.
Where was Ita Enang when Obono-Obla was speaking on legal issues on behalf of candidate Mohammadu Buhari and a mega political party as the pioneer National Legal Adviser and member Board of Trustees, defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) (2009-2010); also as National Deputy Secretary of the defunct CPC (2011-2013)?
Where was Ita Enang when Obono-Obla was speaking and shaping opinions as the Secretary/Member of the defunct CPC Merger Committee that negotiated the formation of All Progressives Congress with the merger Committees of the defunct ACN and ANPP?
Where was Ita Enang when Obono-Obla was shaping opinion as the Chairman of the Screening Sub Committee of the maiden National Convention of the APC? Enang was somewhere with the PDP boring holes in our National fabric; today he is here and daring to apologize on behalf of a colossus who is stating his opinion.
For President Buhari to have found Chief worthy of an appointment as SA, Prosecution is testamentary of the President’s huge faith in this legal luminary. It is no longer a secret that one of the main thrusts of this administration is to tackle corruption. Prosecution is a major plank in fighting corruption and to be SA to the President on Prosecution is a huge responsibility with immense powers and herculean tasks. Ita Enang’s comments are at once belittling and infra dig.
The quick way in which the presidency denied his ill-natured apology should be an omen to him; at least now he knows between he and chief who is speaking the mind of the presidency. Next time the presidency might not just deny his gbaff apologies, it will deny him in toto.
If Ita Enang has a shred of decency left, he should immediately apologize to Chief Okoi Obono-Obla and even the AGF and the Presidency. He seems to be out of touch with the complexion and tenor of this present administration on many levels. It is a shame that a presidential aide will be apologizing to a Senate led by men who have been arraigned for forgery by the government he is serving under. This is not diplomacy; it is lack of team spirit.
First Baba Isa (FBI) is a Legal Practitioner and writes from Abuja