Of Presidential Orders and Enforcement

Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari only give orders backed by no force, writes Olawale Olaleye

President Muhammadu Buhari recently gave the Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) a marching order to dislodge Senate President Bukola Saraki from Kwara State in 2019. Buhari, reports said, issued the said order during a closed-door meeting with leaders of Kwara APC in the State House, including its governorship candidate, Mr. Abdulrahman Abdulrazak.

As if charged by Buhari’s prodding, Abdulrazaq too boasted that the era of Saraki’s dominance in Kwara politics was over, adding that “Kwara has become a battleground and as you can see, we have come here to see Mr. President, having gone through a hectic process of primaries. We went through direct primaries, in which about a 100,000 party faithful voted.

Addressing State House correspondents, he added: “We had our difficulties but we have come to see the president to tell him that all is well and we are in unison and he has given us marching orders to go and take Kwara. He (Saraki) is history; we have gone past him and we are looking at the Government House.”

Ironically, Buhari’s orders these days, apart from the now-vanished body language harassment at the inception of his government, are no less insipid. It is becoming the joke of the new political age that when the Nigerian president gives an order, people go ahead and do that which they reckoned was the best and in whatever interest. It does not have to be of collective concern.

Some months back, in the light of the New Year killings in Benue State, which claimed about 73 lives, President Muhammadu Buhari, had reportedly given an order to the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris to relocate to the state and address the security challenge in that part of the country.

Idris though went to the state, however, left on the same day. And when the president eventually came to the state and was told his order was not obeyed by the IG, he merely expressed shock and it ended there. It was bad enough that the IG boasted nothing would happen and nothing indeed happened.

Talk about the current crisis rocking the APC in many states, post the party primaries, truth is that the APC is fast becoming a shadow of itself simply, because not only is the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, causing so many problems, he has refused to carry out direct instructions handed him by the president on how to address some of the challenges.

Ironically, here was Oshiomhole, who immediately on assuming office sent a very humiliating but subliminal message to the president when he told some ministers that he would not condone disrespect of his office if the president did, a statement believed to have been received by Aso Rock with so much disdain and disappointment.

But since the culture is that of silence, he seemed to have gotten away with it without even realising the import of what he said. It was not surprising, therefore, when the APC party primary crisis started and the president allegedly spoke to him altogether for about 11 times, giving direct order and he did nothing.

It is also the same presidential disposition that has informed why those under him carry out many actions in the guise that it was the president that ordered such actions and yet no one dares to question or verify the claims.

The recent siege laid on the National Assembly and which led to the sack of the former Director-General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Lawal Daura, is a case in sight. Many of such high-level decisions had been taken in the name of the president and yet, those who take these decisions go scot-free, the same way those who disobey the president bear to sanctions.

Beyond the joke of the direct order to take over Kwara from Saraki is the need to review the presidential institution as currently constituted and breathe life into it. The goings-on in that corridor are a proof of the assertion that there is a government inside this government and that a certain group of people otherwise referred to as the cabal appears to hold this country hostage and helplessly so.

Therefore, it is not enough to give orders in the name of being president, what is more, important is living the orders and putting force to the powers that the office is endowed with.