Interim government: DSS and reverse psychology

Ogunsakin Mustapha
10 Min Read
Dr Promise Adiele

By Promise Adiele

Nigerian famed state security apparatus, the Department of State Services (DSS) recently nudged Nigerians, fatigued by the post-election grotesque dance of vicious malevolence, by remarking that it uncovered a plot to install an interim government in the country. That assertion, to a well-meaning mind, in addition to its puerile and infantile suggestiveness, echoes ill-conceived, misplaced convictions signposting reverse psychology. Indeed, there seems to be no end to multiple chicaneries in Nigeria’s current political evolution enacted by the ruling APC. Shockingly, DSS has staked a disingenuous claim in the entire political drama. Nigerians must be worried about it. The DSS is saddled with the onerous responsibility to secretly protect the country without Nigerians being aware. Therefore, one is nonplussed to hear the same DSS announce that they uncovered a plot to install an interim government in the country. If there is any iota of truth in the assertion, the DSS should quickly arrest the plotters of the national tragedy. Failure to do this means that the DSS has failed in its duties. Or perhaps, it is all a hoax. There is no plan to install any interim government – the DSS is slumbering in the ritual of nostalgic remembrance of the Babangida-Shonekan era. 

The DSS interim government ethico-political misadventure reminds me of a popular Igbo lore about Ofeke the drunk. The story has it that in Ofeke’s bid to acquire many jars of palm wine, he decided to steal the intoxicating liquid from palm wine tappers. However, to prepare the minds of the villagers or possibly preempt their reactions, he announced his awareness of a plan by some rascals to steal palm wine from the tappers. Many people believed him, praising him for his foresight. However, the town crier confronted Ofeke and admonished him thus – “Ofeke, there is no plan by any rascal to steal palm wine. If any palm wine is missing, then you stole it. You are the drunk and know where all the palm wine are kept. We are not deceived by your false alarm. If you know some rascals planning to steal palm wine from the villagers, mention their names, lead us to them quietly and they will be apprehended”. Ofeke, like the proverbial tortoise whose antics were exposed by the hen, quietly withdrew into oblivion, and no one heard from him again. Need I say more? It all sounds familiar. 

Before his retirement, former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai woke up one morning and decided to do what the DSS has done now. Buratai announced to a bemused populace that he had uncovered plots to overthrow Buhari’s government through a coup de tat. He sternly warned persons involved in the putsch scheme to desist from the act because democracy has come to stay. Buratai was torn to shreds by the media, writers and columnists who accused him of plotting to overthrow the government but was only testing the waters. In the current era, we can interpret the DSS alarm of interim government in two ways which correlate with the principle of reverse psychology. We must, as a mark of responsibility, establish a parallel between Buratai’s reverse psychology tactics and the current DSS mind games or we infer that the DSS has unfortunately assumed the role of political characters in the hands of the ruling APC. They do this by flying a kite to have reasons to arrest persons spuriously deemed to be plotting to install an interim government. In that case, the opposition presidential candidates are their targets. It can never be far from these two scenarios.   

Obviously, the DSS is populated by distinguished people of pristine professionalism and equitable disposition. However, the state security apparatus must realize that times have changed and Nigerians are informed enough to identify subtle acts of dubiety from afar. Interim government can only be installed in any country by two sets of people – either the commander in chief, in our case, the president or military/security personnel. The last time Nigeria experienced an interim government, it was willfully installed by the then maximum ruler, Ibrahim Babangida. An elder statesman of blessed memory, Earnest Shonekan benefited from that political contraption. However, it did not take long before the power-hungry, desperate despot Sani Abacha sacked Shonekan in a palace coup. It is therefore, improbable that an ordinary citizen will be planning to install an interim government. Or is the DSS alerting Nigerians that Mr President is planning to install an interim government to protect what remains of the image of Nigeria in international politics following Bola Tinubu’s disreputable victory in the last presidential elections? The preceding analogy interfaces with a recent rumour reported in the media that Buhari confided in some people about his unwillingness to hand over power to Bola Tinubu. Although the presidency has issued a statement denouncing the rumour, Nigerians are more sensible than that.  

Some people will argue that the DSS is currently enmeshed in a double standard regarding its duties as a security outfit. Before and after the recently concluded general elections, certain persons made statements capable of throwing Nigeria into turmoil. MC Oluomo, the crude, enfant terrible of Lagos thuggery, threatened a whole ethnic group and went on to make good his threat. The police, in a show of gross infamy, called the threat a joke. Afterwards, some Nigerians were maimed in Lagos, and their businesses burnt to ashes. While it lasted, the DSS lulled into inexplicable inertia even as the international community condemned Oluomo’s genocidal utterances. Bayo Onanuga, an otherwise renowned journalist and proponent of the rule of law, turned sixty degrees and embraced the things he fought against in the past. Mr Onanuga threatened the Igbo people in Lagos, making inflammatory statements that could compromise state security, leading to the loss of lives. On that occasion, the DSS relapsed into monumental hypnosis and looked away. There must be something opaque about state security to laymen like us. In the same vein, the foul-mouthed, garrulous FFK, although with four children that share Igbo heritage, spewed hate and incendiary comments against the Igbo capable of provoking violence and loss of lives across the country. Yet the DSS in apparent dissociation with equitable judgment, looked away, nosing for inconsequential psychological abstractions to feather their cap as a security service sector. 

Nigeria is presently hovering on the proverbial precipice even though it appears that all is well. It is obvious that the ruling APC is leaving nothing to chance to plunge the country into chaos, exploding all barriers of state unity and oneness. The information minister Mr. Lie Mohammed, a man famed for his ability to defend the absence of water in an ocean, is currently in the US trying to convince the world to accept the last electoral charade as a democracy. He has, while reincarnating treachery, accused Peter Obi and Datti Ahmed, both presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the Labour Party of treason. However, he failed woefully to explain the treasonable contents and how these two gentlemen are culpable. It is either because Mr Lie Mohammed does not understand the meaning of treason or he was in a hurry to redeem a globally acclaimed flawed electoral process that has exposed Nigeria to ridicule across the world. Security agencies in Nigeria should live up to their responsibilities and not become pawns on the chessboard of desperate politicians. History never forgets. The DSS, Military, Police and other affiliate security apparatuses should be professional and act in the interest of all Nigerians. The APC slide to an Orwellian, atavistic dominion of Nigerians using every underhand, conniving means will only provoke retaliatory vengeance the geography of victims, no one can decipher. 

Promise Adiele PhD teaches at  Mountain Top University Ogun State 

Twitter: @Drpee4 


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