I have found it absolutely necessary to write again after a long while having patiently and anxiously watched distressing events as they marvelously unfold in the course of our nation’s history. I had before now not thought as complex as Nigeria is that one day a man who seemingly wields absolute powers would emerge using coercive state agents to crush dissenting voices such as we hear and experience today.
We only read in history books about men who had and used absolute powers and one never thought it would be possible again after standing toe-to-toe with the military which ruled over Nigeria with a caprice but little did one know one was wallowing in the pool of ignorance. In fact, what I thought would never be possible in my homeland is what is playing out today under the guise of prosecuting a selective anti-graft war.
Despots the world over often adduce reasons for their despicable actions and that is what is at play in Nigeria today. Some Nigerians now live in perpetual fear not knowing on whose turn the big stick wielded by Buhari would crushingly descend under the guise of cleansing the proverbial Augean Stables.
Casting a cursory glance at the legendary Solon who lived between 640 and 560 BCE, one would doubtless take his warning to heart about the ‘Signs of Dictatorship.’
”The power of hail and snow springs from a cloud,and thunder from the fire of lightning.
Strong men destroy a city and a tyranten slaves a people through their ignorance.
A ship once out of port is hard to capture:
know this now before it is too late.” Near the end of his life, we read, Solon warned the citizens that Peisistratus, the General in the final War for Salamis and leader of northeastern Attica, was becoming tyrannical. Yet Solon’s warnings were dismissed with a trivial hand as the rantings of a raving lunatic. But over time events proved him right when Peisistratus did show his true tyrannical colors.
A similar scenario is dangerously unfolding in Nigeria, President Buhari has been found consistently flouting the Nigerian law to favour him and members of his immediate constituency as he is often caught pants down on several occasions abusing political powers. He has made dangerous incursions lately on the legislative arm of government for the devil to pay and this is what we all resolutely resisted in the dark days of military rule in Nigeria that necessitated our sudden flight from our homeland as the state coercive agents were sent after us at the period under sad review.
Many of us were cut down and some of us that survived that brutal repression who I had thought would chart a new course for Nigeria only returned to scatter with a rake what took us oceans of time to gather with a spade by using state resources to enthrone a government whose coercive sword now hang over our heads like the ancient sword of Damocles.
What is more disturbing under the existing circumstances is that Nigeria and its pro-government media outlets consistently disseminate falsehood which their diehard partisans and apologists fall for hook, line, and sinker from their mine of inexhaustible lies.
I would start here by drawing Nigerians’ attention to Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was one of NADECO chieftains. The National Democratic Coalition, (NADECO), a pro-democracy group fought to end the tyrannical rule in Nigeria and Tinubu was at the forefront in the dark days of this prodemocracy struggle. As luck would have it , the forces of light triumphed and we carried the day. Tinubu fought doggedly to the admiration of all and shortly after that fight began to yield the desired dividend he entered a political alliance that brought about a change of government in Nigeria. We had hoped for a better life but only to discover that we have been caught in an agonizing web of an egocentric loner who is bent on none other than personal aggrandizement.
In an attempt to cover up his misdeeds and irredeemable mortal sins against Nigeria, we often see Tinubu running here and there justifying many harrowing blunders capable of triggering off a revolution knowing full well he would be hard hit as many Nigerians are tacitly filled with resentment for his culpable and ignominious role in the obviously sad situation Nigerians find themselves today.
I wonder how he will ever extricate himself and escape when this brewing resentment harboured against him eventually snowballs into a full-blown political crisis in Nigeria. Homer, they say, sometimes nods. Much as this writer believes that Tinubu is human and could err in some of his actions , it is for him to openly confess his mistakes which now tell ominously on everyone and Nigerians in the Diaspora inclusive. The cost of running our homes in Nigeria has tripled with little or nothing left with us here to settle our bills. Life has never been the same again over here since Buhari assumed the reins of power through the agency of Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Tinubu has made many provocative statements lately to cover up his culpable misdeeds against Nigeria via clever blame game of the Jonathan administration. He has held that the previous administration is one vast empire of corruption. Casting a glance at Corruption Perception Index, many advanced nations still fight corruption to this day but that does not bring government business to a standstill without viable economic policies to reconstruct the country.
Before the advent of PDP in 1999 Nigeria had been rocked by a massive corruption scandal which Buhari denied calling to mind the statement credited to him about the billions of our taxpayers’ money Abacha stole and stashed away in foreign bank vaults. Buhari did vehemently say Abacha did not steal but one wonders how he often comports himself when Abacha’s loot is increasingly being released by foreign governments and returned to the country.
In advanced democracies, that is enough for him to resign, if you ask me as that makes him an accessory after the fact of money laundering operations. How many Nigerians have dared chided him for this? No one has certainly done this for fear of being thrown in stir on some trumped-up charges.
Most disturbing is the fact that Nigeria has never been this polarized before Buhari assumed office as Nigeria’s democratically ‘elected’ civilian president. Only recently it made news headlines when the Sultan of Sokoto raised an alarm that the ban on imported rice should be urgently lifted as hunger ravages Nigeria, Tinubu has never lent his voice to calls like these but often makes statements to assuage the ruffled feelings of the pauperized masses that Jonathan is responsible for the ”0-1-1, 0-0- 1, and sometimes 1-0-1 frequency” on which many homes operate in Nigeria these days but we never had it this bad during Jonathan days!
Tinubu would sooner attribute this to the money stolen from the public till by the immediate past PDP government than incompetence and mediocrity of the ruling All Progressives Congress. Who were these politicians, if one may ask? Over 75% of them make up the ruling All Progressives Congress today. Little wonder the outgoing British Prime Minster described Nigeria as ”fantastically corrupt”. These same men dine and wine with Buhari who is laden with an over inflated sense of self-worth.
If Buhari is genuinely fighting corruption, the likes of Amaechi, Tinubu, Fashola , Okorocha and Oshiomhone, his Chief of Army Staff, to mention but a few have no business being in a government that is supposedly prosecuting an anti-graft war if we need reminding.
The primary duty of any government is to develop the country by formulating viable economic policies. We have had economic recessions in the past when the price of crude oil fell sharply as a result of a glut in the international market. Nigeria returned to civil democratic rule in 1999 after the prodigal years of military rule. Obasanjo inherited a country saddled with a massive debt burden and without apportioning blames delve into work immediately by assembling an economic team made up of competent technocrats, paid off Nigeria’s debts and built up the foreign reserves up to the tune of over $40 billion before President Yar’Adua came to power who unfortunately died with his boots on.
Jonathan took over and carried on from where his predecessor stopped but that government was hijacked by tacit threats from every quarter so much so that serving Ministers often refused orders from the man supposedly at the helm as part of the covert operations to unseat an ”iniquitous regime” which was eventually achieved through the instrumentality of the ballot box via doctored election results particularly from the desert city of Kano allegedly masterminded and hatched by former Governor Rabiu Kwankwanso. This makes him an accomplice with Bola Tinubu for actively partaking in the ill-conceived plot to upturn and eventually bastardize the sovereign wishes of the Nigerian people which, I dare say, is tantamount to a civilian coup d’etat.
There is no denying the fact that Nigerians lived better lives under the PDP-controlled federal government. Buhari had before now asserted that no Nigerian is above the law which he probably drew from his leftist ideology but we have learned to our dismay that he lied yet again because events playing out push us dangerously close to total despotism because disingenuously he claims that all is equal, but he actually decides who should establish the rules for this equality as he singlehandedly controls the courts and all the security apparatuses. I wish to draw your attention to a book entitled ”A Splendor of Letters”, authored by Nicholas A. Basbanes which reminds us of the totalitarian world of Orwell’s 1984 that, ”a morally corrupt government maintains absolute power by systematically depriving its subjects of their identities and by denying them any hope of a cultural legacy.”
Today in Nigeria , it is no news that we have lost the brisk pace of diversity and the genius of individual creativity. A pauperized and hunger nation blessed with human and natural resources only prods a pace set by centralized planning, red-tapism, rules without responsibility, and regimentation without recourse.
Many people have been arraigned by Nigeria’s anti-graft body, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) for diverting the money meant for arms procurement and for funding PDP campaign with public funds in the run-up to the 2015 general election. While I support and throw my weight behind the ongoing anti-graft war , I insist with all the emphasis at my command that this fight must be all inclusive if it is anything to go by. The source of Buhari campaign fund I had written before now must be probed in the true spirit of equality before the law, for everyman, they often say, is born free and therefore equal in right and dignity.
Our patience has been tested and over-stretched for too long and the need for the Buhari regime in Abuja to do the needful keeps on coming like a recurring decimal no matter how surreptitiously he tries to suppress this. If Buhari does not do it today , another person will certainly revisit this crying ”sin” when Buhari leaves office before long for the power you hold today is like a transient cold spell. There is no restating the obvious that over 65% Nigerians whose votes installed this government has been ruefully forced into a volte face.
Nigerians cannot live normal lives, some have become endangered species in their places of nativity, since their whole existence is disrupted day by day by the perverse nature of a regime which employs the propaganda machinery and the impunity of the political police, in a despotic version of socialism typical of a totalitarian State that ends up destroying private lives.
We have had armed invasion of communities by armed herders leaving behind scenes of sorrow , tears and blood and media campaigns to denounce these culpable acts spark off ill-feelings from natives of the region in power calling to mind the recent invasion of Benue and Enugu communities where many villages were sacked and resident murdered in cold blood.
There is no denying the fact that they are emboldened to commit the dastardly acts because that who is ”our own” is at the helm . I remember the police anywhere in southern Nigeria pull the trigger once they discover you are in possession of a firearm during their routine ”Stop and Search” operations without waiting for any explanation. But these nomadic herders go about armed with automatic rifles and carry out crimes of varying degrees including armed robbery on which the police often turn a blind eye because ”their own” is at the helm.
The Nigerian gullible public has been fed with heinous lies to extenuate their inability to perform. Like I said before at the beginning of this piece the Buhari-led government has resorted to playing the blame game to misrepresent facts employing the lying lips of Alhaji Lai Mohammed. The fact is that he finds himself failing at every turn because he has woefully failed to employ competent economic managers to run the economy. Buhari is a man bound by oath to avenge the wrongs inflicted on the north and, in pursuit of revenge, he will stop at nothing to until every dissenting voice is brutally crushed.
You know as well as I know that for every lie told today to cover up one’s misdeed or incompetence, there is always an ‘expiry date’ and the propaganda machine becomes seized up once the ‘expiry date’ appears on the horizon.
If we must live together as one there are many ways to avoid conflicts but the black man’s language is a life characterized by political turbulence and violence like such we have in Nigeria today. Little wonder President Botha gave a graphic picture of the black man which people referred to as a hate speech. Be that as it may , what is playing out in Nigeria today is not different from the surreal imagery employed by the late white South African leader to describe the black man.
Below is the speech allegedly made by former White South African President P.W Botha to his cabinet over two decades ago.
The speech below:
” We are not obliged even the least to try to prove to anybody and to the blacks that we are superior people. We have demonstrated that to the blacks in 1001 ways. The Republic of South Africa that we know of today has not been created by wishful thinking. We have created it at the expenses of intelligence, sweat, and blood……We do not pretend like other whites that we like the blacks
”The fact that, blacks look like human beings and act like human beings do not necessarily make them sensible human beings. Hedgehogs are not porcupines and lizards are not crocodiles because they look alike. If God had wanted us to be equal to the blacks, he would have created us all of a uniform colour and intellect.
”But he created us differently: Whites, Blacks, Yellow, Rulers and the ruled. Intellectually,we are superior to the Blacks; that has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt over the years. I believe that the Afrikaner is honest, God fearing person, who has demonstrated practically the right way of being. By now every one of us has seen it practically that the Blacks cannot rule themselves.
”Give them guns and they will kill each other. They are good at nothing else but making a noise, dancing, marrying many wives and indulging in sex. Let us all accept that the Blackman is a symbol of poverty, mental inferiority, laziness and emotional incompetence.
….. The average Black does not plan his life beyond a year”.
….. The average Black does not plan his life beyond a year”.
How many Nigerian leaders , both past ,and, present , genuinely have the intention to lead? How many Nigerian leaders, both past, and present , have the will to render selfless service to regenerate the country? How many Nigerian leaders are genuinely committed to the unity of Nigeria? What we see is a particular region and tribe assuming superiority over other regions while they forget Nigeria was welded together by the amalgamation of different ethnic nationalities which of course, have the right for self-determination should they be no longer comfortable in the contraption.
As powerful as the Soviet Union, it broke into fragmentary Republics when they discovered they could no more stay together. You can not assume the role of a dictator and an overlord because you are in command of the nation’s armory. Many dictators have their places in history and we know what befell them at various points in time.
Without pause, President Buhari deliberately and willfully undermines the Constitutional rights of Nigerians that he has sworn to preserve, protect and defend. Until we truly understand that his lawlessness will lead to the complete dismantling of our rights, we will not be able to keep our liberties from being ravaged. Buhari convicts people from the Villa and thereafter dishes out orders to the Judges like the late Idi Amin Dada which they only read while giving their ruling calling to mind some detainees who have in fact been granted bail by courts of competent jurisdiction.
Once this pattern of lawlessness becomes entrenched we can no longer “continue to be a Republic under the rule of law.” Rather “we will be subject to Presidential Whim” and abuse by any future leader of any political party. This is the true legacy of Buhari but it has become increasingly necessary to read him the Riot Act by taking up the gauntlet and fighting back to resist his presidential Whims and Caprices before we all find ourselves in dishonorable graves.
*Why does Buhari persist in this feudal and backward way of thinking as soon as it turns to talking about restructuring Nigeria…….? Find out in part 2 of this article.
*Iyoha John Darlington is a social critic, political analyst, and public commentator on national and global issues.