Friday, 9th June 2023

Between the Supreme Court and Buhari/Emefiele

By Abiodun Olusoga Fanoro
22 February 2023   |   3:46 am
President Muhammadu Buhari last week Thursday broke his own record when against his tradition since he assumed office, he made a sudden nation-wide broadcast on crisis, suffering, violence and blood-letting that accompanied the ill-timed Naira redesign and its twin brother...

President Muhammadu Buhari last week Thursday broke his own record when against his tradition since he assumed office, he made a sudden nation-wide broadcast on crisis, suffering, violence and blood-letting that accompanied the ill-timed Naira redesign and its twin brother, artificial fuel scarcity; all induced and imposed on hapless Nigerian masses by the president and his kitchen Cabinet.

The Naira re-design from conception to implementation has been suspect and shadowy, pointing to the presence of a hideous sinister motive other than what Nigerians were told. If Nigerians, particularly lawmakers in the National Assembly had been discernible enough, they should have noticed this in the secrecy with which the exercise was conceived without carrying along some principal officers of government who should statutorily make inputs and whose inputs may have saved the country, the attendant violence, arson and killings of innocent Nigerians only akin to the killings during 2021 EndSars riots, which Buhari and the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele should be made to account for. The manner in which the document was hidden from even the Finance Minister who statutorily should superintend the CBN, no doubt raised suspicions and confirms the existence of sinister motives. The minister was stunned and lost her composure at the National Assembly when lawmakers threw questions at her on the policy. She denied knowledge of the document.

In other climes, a policy that is as sensitive and central to the security, welfare, economy as well as our democracy, ought to have been tabled at the levels of all critical institutions of governance, such as the National Economic Council, National Council of State, the Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly for constructive inputs by opposition parties because its effects, good or bad will be on all Nigerians as it has turned out today. But that was not to be because the protagonists were clearly beclouded by the sinister and the “timed-bomb” contents of the document which they valued much more than the deadly effects it would bring to the over-pauperised Nigerian masses.

As it is in the tradition of shielding government from blames when it misfired, some political pontiffs around the President have tried albeit woefully to exonerate Buhari and blamed it on aides and his unofficial henchmen within the dis-united APC. This is merely begging the natter and further proved the failure of control mechanism in Buhari himself and his administration, because his honest advisers (if he has one) ought to have let him know the grave security and economic implications of a sensitive policy such as this.

For Mr. President himself who had the last responsibility to un-press the matter immediately having noticed the do or die reactions of Nigerians during the first days of implementation and the rain of plea from patriotic leaders and groups, he clearly demonstrated that he suffered insensitivity, because no responsive Nigerian leader now or in the future would adamantly stick to a policy capable of replicating or re-igniting the historic EndSars riots. Sadly that is the case now, history is repeating itself just a little over two years!

Now that the scenes are unfolding, it is time for Nigerians to rewind to activities of Emefiele on the heel of the presidential primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), when against all professional, moral and ethical norms, through proxies, the CBN governor did not only openly identify with the APC, he allowed himself to be enrolled as a presidential aspirant under the party and President Buhari pretended he was not aware!

In a sane clime, a president who does not have anything to hide or who is not in cacoot with the national treasury guard, would have either told Emefiele to resign with immediate effect or got him suspended/sacked with immediacy because he had compromised the main condition for engaging him; not to be partisan. So in this unfolding drama, certainly the scenes dated back to far 2022.

At this juncture, it is very important to make it unambiguously clear that no patriotic Nigerian will oppose a transparent policy of fiscal sanitisation and use of fiscal measures to fight banditry, terrorism or electoral crimes. The worry however is why at this crucial transitional political period; meaning that it is ill-timed. And more importantly why were the new currencies not allowed to be used parripasu with the old notes while phasing them out gradually.

The ill-timing will definitely make even the best friend of Buhari and irredentist bigots of this administration conclude without equivocation, that the document contains apparent plots and is weaponised for other unstated purposes. If Emefiole and his cohorts want Nigerians to think otherwise, then it becomes very imperative to ask if Emefiele would have wanted the policy introduced if he had emerged as the presidential candidate of APC, or if Buhari would have approved it if Emefiele or any preferred candidate had clinched the party’s ticket?

As it is the character of government to resort to name calling when it suffers policy Summersault, it is not surprising that Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai and some of his colleagues as well as some other patriotic Nigerians are now being badly labelled to get alibi to hang them. The bitter truth however is, why did Buhari and his advisers fail to listen to voices of reason when the governors, who are closer to the people called for caution, even before heading to court. In the United States where we imported federal governance, for a very sensitive matter like this, the President would not have taken a unilateral decision as done by Buhari without taking into confidence/ cognisance state governors and other critical security and economic advisory institutions. Another hard fact President Buhari and others before him, had failed to be conscious of is that collectively, though un-official, the 36 states’ governors are powerful as him, if not more powerful. So if they agreed to boycott all meetings and engagements with him the way he treated all of them with disdain in the ongoing matter.

The only place the President could run to if matters got to such level is the Supreme Court which currently is receiving its own dose of disdain and contempt. If in a move to preserve its integrity and sanctity as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution to say enough is enough, the Chief Justice of the Federation and his colleagues summoned the courage to boycott the court and go further to return all case files involving the Presidency to the Office of the Minister of Justice, what a good legacy Buhari would have left!

In this hypothesis, the worst scenario may not be over yet; if for instance someone who lost election went to court and the court ruled in his/her favour but the defendant refused to obey judgment of the court following the good example of the Presidency. Have we forgotten the position of our great father in the human rights community, Chief Gani Fawehinmi of blessed memory who once said, “It is illegal to be obedient in a state of lawlessness, where the state refused to obey its own laws”

Finally, nothing could be more treasonable than the one Mr President arrogantly visited on the judiciary at the highest level and on the supposedly sacred Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; it is a rape, no more no less!

Who ever emerged as Nigeria’s next President must be prepared to set up a Panel of Enquiry to probe the roles of Buhari, Emefiele and others in this orchestrated exercise, like EndSars, that has been used to kill innocent Nigerians and bring un-ending tears and suffering to hundreds of families.

Fanoro, a journalist, is the national president, Congress for Rights Of Yoruba Nationalities (CROYN)