Unless the citizens resolve to prosecute an urgent rescue agenda, the nation’s hard-won democracy would collapse at the hands of President Muhammadu Buhari. And above the rubble would be autocracy and anarchy. These are not far-fetched. We already have their precursor in the now burgeoning militocracy whose chief promoter is Buhari.
Ever since Buhari succeeded in conning the citizens with his pretensions to being a born-again democrat, he has never hidden his contempt for the obligations of his newly-found calling. Yet, the citizens make allowance for the blossoming of the democrat in him. But the more they expect him to demonstrate the readiness to abide by the tenets of democracy, the more they are disappointed.
Instead of the democrat in Buhari unfolding, the passage of each day witnesses the manifestation of his autocratic excesses. Buhari obviously draws inspiration from the success of one dictatorial action to perpetrate a worse one. Now, he feels secure in the notion that no matter the abyss of autocracy he plunges the citizens, he would not suffer any inconvenient consequence.
Again, it is not that Buhari’s confidence is unfounded. He has as the foundation of his confidence a history of the dictatorial actions he has taken that have not successfully earned him a deserved comeuppance. Consider these: He has been keeping a former National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki and the Shiites’ leader Ibrahim El-Zakzaky in prison in defiance of court rulings. Thus, having brazenly violated court rulings without any effective sanction, Buhari decided to unleash his autocracy directly on judges. He has climaxed his assault on the judiciary with the whimsical suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen. Either through the hounding of journalists into detention or the clampdown on newspaper houses as in the case of Daily Trust, Buhari has extended his draconian tentacles to the media.
Buoyed by this state of citizenry’s incapacitation, Buhari continues to hew to the line of military dictatorship. It was thus not really surprising when Buhari sent soldiers to supervise the last presidential election. At the end, these soldiers perverted their role of securing life and the ballot boxes and rather became the sources of violence and rigging. Buhari has again readied his security operatives to replicate this violence in the coming elections. The ruling credo in the political party of Buhari is obviously that if they cannot win the elections through the ballot boxes, they must win through the barrels of their guns. Thus, on the watch of Buhari, democracy has taken a thousand steps backward. Yet, this is a person who benefited from another person who resolved that democracy must not die at his hand. In fact, for Goodluck Jonathan, the blood of a single citizen was not worth his political ambition. In this regard, Jonathan raised the bar of political maturation at which Buhari demurs. Buhari does not mind if the dogs and baboons are soaked in blood. If it is only ambition that drives Buhari, is it not self-delusion to expect that the next level he is taking Nigerians to is that of plenitude? How do we resolve the contradiction of killing those Buhari wants to serve? Worse, because of the prevailing ethical befuddlement that Buhari has nurtured, the beneficiaries of rigged and blood-smudged elections do not see anything wrong with going to church or mosque to declare before the whole world that their god has given them electoral victory. No, their god does not consider life precious. Their god considers their political ambition higher than the life of a citizen. This is why they would not even precede their testimony with remorse over the loss of lives during the elections.
But it is all quiet on the citizens’ front. Buhari is cheered on on this destructive militocratic path by his party supporters. Even other citizens who are not direct members of Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) have not seen any cause to complain as long as they live in the self-delusion of immunity to Buhari’s anti-democratic predilection. These latch on to the illusion of Buhari as an anti-corruption fighter for whom latitude must be given to violate the law in order to attain a graft-free society. In that case, no thought is spared for the members of the opposition whom Buhari is hounding into detention with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). They are all corrupt and they must pay for their fiscal indiscretions. Even lawyers, intellectuals and journalists who should constitute a redoubt of adherence to the imperatives of fair trial quickly align themselves with the verdict of guilt delivered by Buhari. And because this set of self-styled patriots are so blinded by the halo of the incorruptibility of Buhari, they do not bother to ask if these funds that have been recovered from the looters have been re-looted. Or is there manifest improvement in the lives of the citizens because billions of loot have been recovered? In what tangible ways have they been invested? Now, what we are told is that some poor citizens are the beneficiaries of the redistribution of the loot. These poor beneficiaries must be living in the very excluded parts of the society since other citizens hardly come in contact with them.
If the citizens would brook Buhari’s growing tyranny and his travesty of democracy, they might as well stop these cyclical elections. Let Buhari rule for life. And if he cannot defy death, let his wife or children or party rule. For before his departure he would have bequeathed to them that spirit of incorruptibility that makes him to place the interest of Nigeria before his. In that case, instead of wasting billions every four years on sham elections, Buhari should be crowned as a monarch to rule for ever.
But Buhari needs to be stopped now. The price that some Nigerians have paid for democracy that Buhari and his accomplices are trampling upon is too much to allow them on this perfidious path. For the sake of these patriots who shed their blood for democracy while Buhari was fraternising with tyrant Sani Abacha, Nigerians must warn him that he cannot continue to be a danger to democracy. In this regard, the victims of the Buhari’s violations of the democratic norms should not be further enraged by the emotive appeal that they should accept their fate.
For the sake of democracy, they should be encouraged to go the whole judicial hog to seek justice. In fact, these victims should be lauded for not taking the law into their own hands and triggering anarchy. The judiciary should be encouraged to be the bastion of hope against the oppression of Buhari. Thus, if the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, is convinced of the evidence he has to contest the electoral victory of Buhari, he should go to court. Instead of the PDP being vilified, it should be commended for not accepting what it considers a questionable defeat. After all, the leaders of the party have not called for war. In this regard, the PDP’s case is a test of both the integrity of the presidential election and the judiciary. Buhari should stop intimidating the courts; he should allow them to do their work if only to save the country from anarchy.
Such a recourse to a legitimate means of checking Buhari’s excesses is important in view of the level of authoritarianism to which he is ready to subject the country. This is why patriots who are concerned about the future of the country are alarmed that if Buhari gets away with this electoral perfidy, a grimmer electoral fiasco would befall the nation in 2023.
They have warned that if Buhari is not checked now and made to face the bleak consequences of his tragic deviation from the ethos of democracy, there would not be elections in 2023. Buhari and the coterie of his accomplices would just sit down in Aso Rock and write the results of phantom elections. By then, it may be too late to tame the monstrous tyrant that they have rapturously cuddled after being seduced with the canard of being in an embrace with a benign born-again democrat.
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