Nigeria is vastly populated by a mass of cerebral palsies. Nigerians are reeling in their faeces and at the same time smiling in the fashion of the worst form of schizophrenics. And there appears to be no healing in sight. The country has been reduced to a huge psychiatric hospital even with the physicians equally afflicted with the advanced form of dementia praecox. The national situation is truly pathetic.
It is the height of perfidy to conjure a Nigeria not heading for the rock. Optimists would opt for the learning process even when it is clear that there has been nothing learned and still nothing to learn. A colleague in the defunct African Concord newsmagazine cast a headline: ‘Americans put Bushman in the White House’ when George Washington Bush was elected President of the United States of America in the 1980s. Though he was playing with words, yet, it was a parody of the American situation. Nigeria, conversely elected Major-General Muhammadu Buhari into the Aso Rock Villa in 2015, capping the search for an effective or maximum leader, thinking that leopard could erase its spots. The president is today a dictator writ large, having growm much bigger than his country and the electorate that voted him into power.
Nigeria runs a tripedal system of government believed to be made up of three independent, though cooperating, components. The so-called supreme statute book, the 1999 Constitution, elaborated on the three estates of the realm which encapsulated separation of powers. But that is on paper. Reality hammers on arrogation of power to the president.
A Roman Catholic Pope in antiquity had summoned the Roman Emperor on the basis of superiority. The emperor’s snide riposte was: “how many combat soldiers would the ecclesiastical authority muster and deploy for war? None, of course. The insulting insinuation being that the Pope should shut his trap.
The Nigerian situation is curiously similar. The second and third estates of the Nigerian realm are supine, powerless in the face of executive bravura. The head of the executive arm is the sovereign lord of the system – commanding an array of weapon welding security agencies which he whimsically deploys. The problem becomes compounded when the same head is an embittered retired military personnel who once successfully spearheaded a coup d’etat against a democratic government. He was however repaid in his own coins months later and abandoned to brood like a bruised python that recoiled to strike back. Yoruba would call that ageku ejo, tin soro. Please remember that under the military, either in uniform or kaftan, security of the leader is national security and the primus therefore brooks no opposition. Hence, even perceived opposition within Buhari’s own party must be brought low: down to their knees..
That is why targeted members, irrespective of station, of the National Assembly are being dressed for the anti-corruption guillotine or hounded down like scoundrels. It is as if the National Assembly should either be scrapped or be made a parastatal in the sprawling executive estate, thus swaying to the whims and caprices of some executive appointees. And since the National Assembly’s bones keep masquerading as flesh, peace will continue to be elusive.That has being the case, where the headship of the national legislature, supposedly an equal partner in governance, is being harassed and persecuted with fiendish gusto.
Very recently, the spokesman of the police said the agency would never brace up to investigate the President’s appointees. Yet it could breach the sacrosance of the National Assembly and treat elected representatives of Nigeria as pawns in the security agencies chessboard. The same Nigeria Police finds it easy to lay siege to the National Assembly and peremptorily ordered the Senate President ‘to see’ its inspector general (president’s appointee) over an armed robbery incident in his home state.
There have been several attempts to bulldoze the National Assembly to rubles. The Senate Presidency is just another game before hounding security forces under presidential omnipotence. Presidential appointee to the Justice Ministry has the temerity to hail the head of the Federal Legislature from one tribunal to another and from court to court and the demented pro-establishment citizenry could harp on ‘No-one being above the law’. Hogwash! How about presidential appointees who could not even be investigated?
The ubiquitous EFCC could only see state governments not in the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, as flies in the anti-corruption ointment while patently and more overly corrupt ones latching onto APC are as saintly as Sani Abacha, untouchables. All the security agencies in Nigeria have become APC appendages. They are however at liberty to hunt down perceived disloyal ones, those who refused to be in the president’s pocket. The entire paraphernalia of Nigerian statehood have been abridged and compressed into PMB’s lean figure, beyond which there can be no country called Nigeria.
The beheading, decapitating herdsmen ravaging the country’s Middle Belt are not, repeat NOT, terrorists by being of the same stock with PMB while card welding IPOB members in the Igbo ethnicity are. It is not selective branding but subsumed in the reducio ad absurdum hypothesis.
It is doubtful if there is any judiciary (third estate) left since Buhari has arrogated the power to jail corrupt individuals to himself. He made this clear in his after 10-day vacation in his more favoured home, London, that he himself would jail more corrupt persons. If the judiciary is not subjugated, then nothing else is. Retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki is still being incarcerated despite several court of competent jurisdiction’s decisions admitting him to bail. The omnipotent Department of State Security is palpably securing Nigeria for its President and his atavistic proclivities. The rule of law is no longer pleaded against the Presidency with the highest ever propensity for self-adulation, self-preservation and self defence.
The general election next year is already determined and no Jupiter, not even the gods, would be able to wrest power from the potently and ominously qualified PMB. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, would have to shed its independent toga and also diminish the inclusion of National in its nomenclature to give the government in power a leeway to resounding electoral victory. Other agencies with security prefix have proven to be anything but national and I cannot see how INEC would retain its independence and not stuff its abridged nationalism in the face of prancing Python dancing military, hooded DSS, rationalised Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, FSARS. EFCC would make hay to freeze INEC bank accounts the way it did with Ayodele Fayose”s Ekiti State and, of recent, Benue State when it’s sitting Governor Samuel Ortom, had the effrontery to dump the APC life jacket for jaded, torn and worn PDP umbrella.
Other things being equal, Buhari’s re-election next year is fait accompli. My prayer is that Buhari should not try to erase the global record of Liberian President Charles King who, in 1927, secured a resounding electoral victory with some 234,000 votes from his country’s 15,000 registered voters. Buhari has won the coming electoral courtesy of rudicio ad Absurdum but should please restrain Kano State voters to shield their gerrymandering swords come next year.
Tragically, Nigeria as a country could not even attain the Samsonic status of its septuagenerian, hopefully I too have joined the club, ailing and London-loving President. And that is the comical fact that has stuck like the grim death.
The position here is not canvassing a better alternative to Buharism. It is clear that the PDP is not it. Neither is Obasanjo’s new political contraption. God’s Kingdom is coming and since the True God does not allow vacuum, man must continue to rule man to his (ruled’s) injury. All hail Buhari the President, probably till God’s Kingdom comes.
*Mr. Owolabi is a Lagos based veteran journalist.