I wrote in one of my opinions during the 2015 electioneering campaign that history will never forgive Buhari, and that he will go down in history as the worst President Nigeria ever had if he betrayed the trust reposed in him by the good people of Nigeria. Few months after swearing-in, he started exhibiting the tyrannical tendencies he is embedded with, ranging from his flagrant disobedience of court orders all in the name of fighting corruption to the harassment of dissenting voices with the DSS amongst other waves of illegalities.
No doubt, Buhari is a man on whom we can write volumes without making reference to any library. He is a man who has all the opportunity in the world to write his name in gold, but chooses rather for selfish reasons, to write it on marble of infamy. On swearing-in, Maj. Gen. Buhari was quick to forget that democratic dividends is a function of the ability of the State to maintain law and order, which, no doubt is one of the traditional roles of government. He also forgot that he requires the support of every Nigerian irrespective of their political affiliation to successfully pilot the Nigerian State to a successful field.
It is agreeable that there is a need to wage a decisive war against corruption in order to put Nigeria on the global map of business-friendly nations, which will ultimately earn the country prosperity, but, the fight must not be selective and it must be fought in strict adherence to the rule of law. Unfortunately, Maj. Gen. Buhari has scant regard for the rule of law. Maj. Gen. Buhari has also proven on many occasions that he is intolerant of opposition considering the manner in which opposition is being suppressed and repressed in the country with the use of brute force.
Is it possible to follow the tenets of democracy without opposition in a State? And, could progress be achieved and stability maintained by the government in a State where opposition is suppressed? This is not to even say that the Holy Prophet Muhammed (SAW) admonished us in one of his Hadiths that “whoever amongst you sees something wrong should endeavour to correct it with his hand (by removing it). If he is incapable of correcting it with his hand, let him correct it with his tongue (by condemning it). If he is still incapable of doing so, let him effect the correction with his mind (by praying for its stoppage). However, the last option is the weakest of all.”
The message being passed by the Holy Prophet is simple, clear and unambiguous and, it shows that the Holy Prophet is in support of all action that can bring about a real and genuine change in all form, be it protest, revolution, etc., not a cosmetic change of name and colour being marketed by the APC as a political party. Also, Section 39 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which provide for the right to Freedom of Expression has given the Nigerian people an inalienable and undeniable right to show dissatisfaction.
It is quite unfortunate that Maj. Gen. Buhari and his band of wreckers running this government have lost all instinct for democratic values with the power and responsibility that has been placed on them by the good people of the country to the extent that they view all opposition as illegitimate. This is evident in the manner in which protesters are being exposed to brute force by State agents, and, all efforts to justify these by the pro-Buhari elements in the society including those at the corridor of power at the ‘rocky height’ (majorly sycophants) points to the fact that this government has lost any sense of balance or argument.
Few days ago, it was all over the news that the Federal Government had some sort of negotiation with the bandits that invaded a school in Katsina where over 200 students were kidnapped during the day, through the use of motorcycles. While it is not out of place to negotiate with bandits, you don’t expect a people that have been so psychologically defeated by a government they voted for not to raise eyebrow as its been done by the people because, this is a government that will mobilise all its arsenal to ensure that protest is repressed. The message being passed with the negotiation that was carried out by the Federal Government with the bandits is that of State failure to secure her people and that the only language the government understands is violence when considering the treatment protesters are given in relation to that of bandits.
Rather than make banditry a lucrative business, the issue must be treated fundamentally by addressing the root-cause of banditry in the North, which is basically under-development. It is instructive to note that if the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy had been adhered to since 1999, we would not be here debating banditry and other evils we are confronted with as a people.
What we were taught about democracy is that it helps settles disputes, enables power to change hands without bloodshed, and allows citizens of wildly opposing beliefs consent to be governed, policed and taxed. Meanwhile, in the case of Nigeria as an entity, it is important to reiterate that ours is a failed State. And, no thanks to the APC/Buhari government that has made a 360° u-turn from all its promises in securing the good people of Nigeria. Therefore, there is an urgent need for well-meaning Nigerians to rise against this challenge in every way possible in ensuring that the government wake up to its responsibility.
Kazeem Olalekan Israel writes from Ibadan, Nigeria via firstname.lastname@example.org