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‘Impunity, propaganda order of the day now’

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Chief Gordy Uwazurike

I will always commend the former military Head of State Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar (rtd) for taking the giant step that returned the country to civilian rule in 1999. The new phase became a learning process. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, was elected president on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the expected turbulent tenure took off.

It was a time when the government didn’t understand that it was a civilian rule. Command and obey culture was alien to the people. But with time, the government understood that the three arms of government, executive, legislature and the judiciary are independent and not subservient.
The attitude of the First to the Fourth Republics is a study in contradiction. The First and Second Republics operators saw themselves as deriving power from the people. Others didn’t have that humility. To them, power derived from the military. The violence associated with the political parties today is a fall-out of that mental disposition.

The president of Nigeria and his party show all the attributes of the untouchable. The 16 years of former ruling Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) tolerance of the opposition has been wiped out by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) just in three years. Today, anybody, who was active in the PDP and has not defected to the APC, is facing trial or a threat. The level playing ground is gone. The thinking is that the APC government officials can do no harm. Yet, the incidents of crime are too obvious to be ignored. The various scandals are treated with air freshener. The much-avowed three-pronged direction of this government-anti-corruption, security and economy-has been lost in transit or sacrificed at the altar of power consolidation. The Biafra agitation is terrorism, the armed Fulani herdsmen are just communal agitators, and the PDP members are corrupt while members of APC are considered but yet the economy is galloping in the wrong direction.

The military can never be a realistic option. Military rule is one step forward, 10 steps backward. In a military government, the only acceptable law is what the Head of state and commander-in chief wants. President Muhammadu Buhari even referred to this military mentality a few days ago when he would lock up people until they proved their innocence. It didn’t occur to him that he grabbed power. In other words, he acted at the behest of a gang. When the same gang removed him, he also complained. Today, he has sworn to uphold the constitution of the country. Separation of powers and independence of the three arms are the key indices of a democracy. Any thing less is a dictatorship.

Impunity and propaganda have become the accepted behaviour. Look at the internal primaries of the two major political parties; it says a lot about what we should expect in the coming 2019 general election. With the outcome of the just-concluded ward, local government and state congresses of the ruling party, one could easily predict how 2019 election will go. Bamboozling the people is the thing now. Intimidating people is also a weapon of choice. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) goes after PDP members while the police are after APC dissenters. The blunt refusal to see the legislature and the judiciary as independent is nothing but impunity. This government has a strong hold on power but when will it have a good hold on governance?
• Uwazurike is a lawyer and former President of Igbo think tank, Aka Ikenga.


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