By Casmir Igbokwe
President Muhammadu Buhari is gradually becoming a brutal husband who bullies his wife and concocts stories against her to divert attention. Last Friday, he flogged the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, with illegal suspension. This has prompted many Nigerians to ask, what is happening?
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) had commenced the trial of the CJN for alleged false asset declaration. Without following due process, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, ordered the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit to freeze Onnoghen’s accounts. The Nigerian Bar Association calls this “complete abuse.”
Last Thursday, the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, ordered the CCT to stay action on Onnoghen’s trial pending the determination of his application that the CCT had no power to try him. But Buhari’s government ignored this. Just as legal experts were still trying to fathom the reasons behind the Federal Government’s actions, the President announced the appointment of Justice Tanko Mohammad as Onnoghen’s replacement. Clearly, this is a constitutional breach. And it is akin to what Nicolas Maduro did in Venezuela, where, in clear breach of the constitution, he seized the control of the country’s apex court and appointed some ruling party members to the bench.
To rationalise this perfidy, the President said he acted on the order of the CCT. But is it the duty of the CCT to order the removal of a Chief Justice of the Federation? Where lies the separation of powers? Where lies our conscience? Where goes our democracy?
This dictatorial trend is really disturbing. Against court rulings, for instance, the government has refused to release the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, from detention. He was accused of mismanaging some $2.1 billion security funds meant to procure arms for the fight against Boko Haram. Just recently, the military raided Daily Trust newspaper over a publication considered offensive. And last year, operatives of the State Security Service invaded the National Assembly in a bid to change the leadership of the legislature.
The worst is that they lace their dictatorship with lies. The leader of the Shi’ite Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, has been in detention since December 2015. Even when a court had ordered that he be released and compensation paid to him and his wife, Zinat, the government ignored the order. Soldiers had reportedly killed hundreds of El-Zakzaky’s supporters after accusing them of blocking the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, from accessing a public road.
But about two years later, Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, said the Muslim cleric was not in prison, police or DSS custody. According to him, El-Zakzaky was in his house with his family and “this is the honest truth.” This same Lai, who claimed he had never lied before, told the world last November that Nigerian government spent N3.5 million monthly to feed El-Zakzaky.
Last Monday, the Information Minister again was at his element. He informed Nigerians that desperate opposition politicians had mobilised and armed Boko Haram and bandits to scuttle the general election. The reason for this, Lai claimed, was because the opposition had realised that their fortunes had dwindled badly ahead of the February polls.
“There is also an international dimension to the evil plan. Some armed mercenaries from Niger Republic have been contracted to attack top government functionaries, including state governors, across North-West between now and the elections,” Lai asserted.
Talk of twisting facts to confuse the public and make the victim appear to be the oppressor. Last week, President Buhari told his audience in Anambra that his appointment of security chiefs was based on merit not sentiment. What this means is that only northerners are qualified to head the security agencies. It is a pity.
I see in all this an opportunity for Nigerians to liberate themselves. As the saying goes, the death that will befall a young dog does not allow it perceive the smell of faeces. The Federal Government has been taking one faulty step or the other. Many Nigerians are angry and disgusted. The time for them to use their voting power has come. But the general fear is, will the votes count?
Re: Memory lane of a President’s memory losses
There is a constitutional provision to determine the mental and physical health of our President and other top political office holders. Unfortunately, in the black-man-country, we don’t obey most of our rules and laws. During the time of President Yar’Adua, an obviously moribund man was orchestrated by his people and supporters as fit as a fiddle! We know better now. For me, PMB is a good old man that has been hijacked by a cabal. At his age, senile dementia is a natural course of mental health decline and can be found in up to 30% of his age bracket. Any additional co-morbid condition could also worsen and accelerate the clinical outcome. According to elder statesman, Robert Clark (SAN), Nigeria has a rotten Constitution. I agree with him absolutely. Unfortunately, we have a National Assembly where the majority represents tribe and religion and money, not the masses and good people of Nigeria. Whether we admit it or not, things are so bad, and I see the vacuum busting in every direction. I agree with OBJ that PMB has tried and deserves some good rest! Let the Cabal speak up.
– Col. R.N. Oputa (retd.), email@example.com
I enjoyed reading your well-written piece with the above title. Your catalogue of President Buhari’s list of forgotten incidents is embarrassing and should be a source of concern to all well-meaning Nigerians. How can a person in such a critical position be so daft and yet continue to cling onto power? I was shocked the other day while reading The Sun newspaper to see a northern politician declare that the fact that Nigerians are killed in different parts of the country and a deteriorated economy is not enough reason for Nigerians not to vote for Buhari in the forthcoming election. This shows how tribalistic, myopic and unpatriotic some Nigerians have degenerated to. Imagine for once that an Igbo man is occupying Buhari’s position and committed just half of the commissions, omissions and memory losses he has displayed so far and guess what would have happened to him as a President.
For me and many Nigerians, Buhari’s last shot at the presidency has merely demystified him. We now know that his much touted integrity, incorruptibility and saintly demeanour are not only a sham but a fallacy. As such, only the daft, the illiterate, the unpatriotic and tribal jingoists would vote for him.
And it is in a country like Nigeria that a man of Buhari’s antecedents after his 2015-2019 outing would ever be considered as a presidential candidate for any party let alone being speculated to win a national election.
Only God will save this nation from this national disaster.
– Steve Odo, Ebonyi State, firstname.lastname@example.org
Once again, a beautiful write-up from you Casmir. It is a classic explanation of the hijack of Buhari’s administration by the cabals. He was not aware, and when he became aware, what subsequently happened? Nothing. Check out the selectiveness in his corrupt war on corruption. The issues of Kemi Adeosun and Okoi Obono-Obla’s certificate forgeries. Is it the full-scale nepotism and double standards inherent in the regime? Look at the 27 newly appointed court of appeal justices, only four from the south and 23 from the north. We need equal rights and justice for this country to be. With all these, we are wasting our time and we’ll go nowhere. My brother, any more four years will be a requiem high mass for Nigeria, serious doom. May God save us from dotage of the Buhari regime.
– Hofnar Alison Okon, email@example.com
President Buhari’s memory losses started many years ago. It did not occur to him that coup was a crime against the state before he toppled the elected government of Shehu Shagari on December 31, 1983. When he was head of state, it did not occur to him that people were suffering. It did not occur to him that those detained by NSO boss under Decree 2 were languishing in the cell. It is yet to occur to him that corruption is widespread under the APC government than the PDP govt. It has also not occurred to him that there is joblessness and frustration in Nigeria now, leading to many suicides. I reject hardship and APC.
– Mr. Chinedu Ekwuno, 08063730644
For the sake of the innocent, impoverished, slain Nigerians, I see God doing something great by His mercy. Nigeria has become a nightmare. God bless you for your courage.
– Kenneth, 08028623159
APC should put their house in order if they want to win again.
– Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535
Mr. Cashy, if your president is unaware of what is going on in the presidency or in the country, what’s his essence of still being there? Enough is enough. Please, let Nigerians flush him out with their PVCs come February 16th.
– Anonymous, +2348037989242
Only a bigot will say what you are saying about PMB. Do you need a prophet to tell you that PMB is firmly in charge, by God’s grace? I wonder if you can even manage a ward, if given the chance. It is PDP and your type that want to kill this country. Thank God for people like PMB.
– Anonymous, +2348034923344
Dear Igbokwe, your write-up in the Daily Sun of Monday 21/01/2019 paid off the cost of the paper. It was well analysed. Keep it up.
– Anonymous, from Sokoto, +2348036549459
- First published in The Sun of Monday, January 28, 2019.