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The highest duty of citizens (2)

Civilised and prosperous societies are governed by rule of law, not rule by law

As the World Health Organisation predicts that the case of those infected with COVID-19 will rise to 10 million in a week’s time, it is cheering to know that trial tests are ongoing in many countries in order to have a vaccine to combat the dreaded virus. The number of those infected and victims is increasing because most people did not stay at home during lockdown.

Life goes on. Although Nigeria is not looking for saints in the society, all we ask is that decent men and women who will respect the rule of law must be in the majority. “Naira Marley is unfazed by criticisms coming after a show in Abuja…. Amid criticism, the singer has remained fearless, taking to social media to speak about the effect of his song.” Hear him: “I can drop a new song now and scatter everywhere.” Scatter everywhere? One can see youthful exuberance arrogantly displayed by the young musician. He cannot “scatter” everywhere as Nigeria will not validate his rascality.

It is politics that is scattering everywhere at this moment. What is disturbing as usual is the conduct of some politicians and their followers. Powerful politicians have warmed up the polity because there is going to be gubernatorial elections in Ondo and Edo States. The atmosphere is charged with accusations and counter accusations between political contestants who go to any length to occupy public office.

As predicted, the battle for political power in Edo State is fierce. Drawing inspiration from Albert Einstein, politics in Nigeria can be likened to compound interest which is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it…he who doesn’t pays it. With politics in Nigeria, anything can happen.

Politics in Edo State is laughable. Oshiomhole’s “removal vehicle” was in full throttle as he drove Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki out of the All Progressives Party (APC) in the State. Before the party primaries, the adamant rival gubernatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)in Edo State, Kenneth Imasuagbon swore that he would not forfeit his 16 years of waiting in patience, anxiety, hope and prayers just like that, in favour of a novel contestant. The novel contestant referred to is incumbent Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki.

Old habits die hard. Imasuagbon spoke passionately as he declared: “I am ready to die. Let them kill me if they want to kill me. I will not step down.” In addition to expressing his readiness to die, Imasuagbon declared: “The rumour is from fake politicians, fake news media. I remain in the race. I am not going to step down and I am going to win tomorrow by God’s grace.”

Every man has his price. Party bigwigs who know the price of Kenneth Imasuagbon negotiated with him behind closed doors. So, Kenneth Imasuagbon has confirmed his decision to step down for Governor Godwin Obaseki in Edo State PDP Primary Race.

Often, violation of party rules and regulation is very rampant in our country. Most of our politicians are not used to obeying their party’s constitution as they are laws unto themselves. These politicians behave in an independent manner, ignoring their political party constitutions, Electoral (Amended) Act, 2010 and the 1999 Constitution (Amended). Additionally, they ignore conventional ways of resolving party issues because of their quest for power.

Political godfathers want to bend the law at all costs. Most politicians with their godfathers have constituted themselves into law. This has led a rise in the spate of litigation because some party members still believe in the rule of law. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed concern over the spate of litigations in the country.

Some political affairs analysts say that the race for the year 2023 has started. Politicians have started strategising. Ondo State deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi has left the APC for the PDP. Instead of party supremacy, it is the supremacy of personal interests. Political godfathers set their own rules and they want these binding on all members of their political parties.

Since some APC members cannot control themselves in an orderly fashion, President Buhari has dissolved the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC. Police had to seal the APC Secretariat amid fierce battle for the soul of the party. So, everywhere will not scatter! But the NWC of the APC has threatened to take President Buhari to court over its dissolution. Who says they should not go? The courtrooms are open for litigations. But whether politicians will always obey court injunctions is another matter entirely.

Rivers State was not left out of the political drama. Suddenly, a faction of All Progressives Congress (APC) loyal to the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi in a video that went viral, threatens to burn down River State. Burn down River State? Maybe these men do not know that they simply displayed their intention to commit a crime. What has been done by the security agencies on this matter? We need to know what security agencies have done because the threat by these “supporters” will compromise the peace and order of River State if it is not nipped in the bud.

In a counterattack, one Chibuike Ikenga and members of his group rejected the threat of violence by those claiming to be loyal to Rotimi Amaechi. But Rotimi Amaechi was widely reported to have cautioned his supporters and River State people to steer clear of violence as that is not the best way to resolve any issue.

Rotimi Amaechi cautioned his supporters that, “first, if you say you’re my supporter, you will know that I don’t just respect the law, I fear the law. Breaking the law can put you in jail. Because of the kind of words used in that video, I may have to address it.”

 Political godfathers want to bend the law at all costs. Most politicians with their godfathers have constituted themselves into law. This has led a rise in the spate of litigation because some party members still believe in the rule of law

“I believe that no matter how angry you are, no matter how institutions are manipulated, a judge once said, ‘I’m allowed to be wrong, that’s why you have the court of appeal, that’s why you have the Supreme Court.’ So, if you think that the state judiciary is doing what is wrong, then you go to the court of appeal, you go to the Supreme Court and ensure you exhaust the due process. No matter your frustration, you don’t have the right to take the law into your hands.”

Some Nigerian men in Jakarta, Indonesia took laws into their hands-on June 25,2020 when they forcefully entered the Nigerian Embassy, removed the national flag, and exhibited disgraceful criminal behaviour. What a pity? Violence is not the solution to whatever grievances they have with the Embassy. Why pull down the flag of our country? The nation’s flag was almost set ablaze but for divine intervention. We must be law abiding citizens at home and abroad.

It must be the rule of law. To survive the new normal, Nigerians at home and abroad must be law abiding citizens. No nation can develop politically and economically by allowing its people to repeatedly exhibit acts of barbarism or disregard for the rule of law. Regrettably, most of our elites and governments have perfected the act of disobeying Supreme Court orders. Where do we go from here? (To Continue)

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