Upon the perceived weakness of the Goodluck Jonathan administration, nay the 16-year rule of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the air was agog with the cry of change. Change as the slogan of the mega party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), coupled with the ceaseless criticisms of the Jonathan administration by the APC, were all the immediate past administration needed to be booted out of office through the ballot box.
It is, therefore, natural that no sooner had the Muhammadu Buhari–led APC government settled down that Nigerians expectedly put the administration on its toes. Yes, the helmsman has been threatening fire and brimstone and mouthing his readiness to deal with corrupt elements within and without.
Again, Nigerians are not averse to this position as returning the nation to the path of sanity after over 50 years of rot, is a task that must be done. Readily, he is assured of the people’s support in this respect.
Curiously, however, rather than the positive change anticipated by Nigerians who gave the Buhari’s APC their nod during the 2015 general elections at both the legislative and executive levels, the reverse is what the citizens are getting.
No matter the level or amount of successes (even when some are wrongly credited) linked to the administration, targeting the perceived enemies under the guise of fighting corruption is one that won’t do Nigerians any good. The ongoing militarisation of our democracy is one thing men and women of goodwill must rise up to challenge and quickly nip in the bud.
Initially, it was the erstwhile National Security Adviser (NSA), Col Sambo Dasuki, who was being hunted for multiple allegations ranging from the absurd to the imagined. The Gestapo style with which his residence was raided by personnel of the Directorate of State Security Services (DSS) and the attendant trauma its occupants were made to pass through, was the least expected under any democratic dispensation. Succinctly put, this is an aberration in our democracy.
Similarly, the current dilemma Senate President Bukola Saraki faces is another brute show of force in the nation’s current democratic system. Let it be noted that this writer is not a Saraki fan because he never agrees with his style of politics for some obvious reasons. But it must be stated very quickly that the current travail of the Kwara-born politician is not all about him, but the rule of law. Again, it is not in contention that Saraki was a major vanguard and platform of change, so he should know the consequences of his actions and coup against the PDP, the party that generously made him.
For once Saraki had suddenly become a Mr. Clean accusing the Jonathan administration of ineptitude and crass corruption. One must also add that there is no law that says an offence cannot be investigated in retrospect. That the embattled current Senate resident is facing some 13-count charge retroactively goes to undermine an adage that a pounded yam of ten years can still hurt the palm.
In the light of this, the rule of law, just as rightly observed by a foremost human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Olisah Agbakoba, must be rightly adhered to. Standing the law on its head will be an anathema to this not too-solid democracy. I think this is time to really bring up the goodness in the ‘clueless and meekness’ Jonathan administration. A comparison between the immediate and present administrations suffices, using the same Saraki as a case study.
You will recall that as a major actor in the nPDP, he literally spat on the president, even when the former was vice president to the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. He was no doubt a cult figure whose role in the dying days of the Yar’Adua administration was highly despicable. And as if that was not enough, Saraki went into contesting the 2011 presidency with Jonathan and hauling invectives at the then president. And in a badly thought-out angst, he ignominiously dumped the then fragile ruling PDP to team up with the supposed mega APC. The result is what we have confronting us today as a nation.
And despite all of this, the Jonathan administration would still not be vindictive, even in the build-up to the 2015 election. So, if we ask ourselves, what shit, if you like, had Buhari taken from Saraki whose penchant and trait is political treachery? That he ‘usurped’ power and sidelining his party in the (s)election process of the APC in the Upper Chamber is not strange .
So, how can Buhari remove the role played by Dasuki in ousting him as Head of State in 1983 from the current trouble of the Sokoto prince? Nay, one needs not be a soothsayer to know that Dasuki’s call for an extension of the 2015 general election (rightly or wrongly) is another major cause of his dilemma in the hands of the present administration.
My worry here is that yes, our dear nation needs a change, but certainly not that which will see us sliding into crass abuse of power and unmitigated dictatorial tendencies. For any Nigerian that thrives on the rule of law, the troubling change we are witnessing today was never our covenant with APC while campaigning for candidate Buhari. It will be uncharitable, therefore, for a President Buhari to tell Nigerians that there is no hand of Esau behind the voice of Jacob in the current politically stage-managed trial processes of some public officials.
–Abdulazeez wrote in from Ilorin