Sovereignty of Wickedness and Life Imprisonment of Blaise Compaore: The Lessons for Nigerian Leaders

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INTERNATIoNAL

 

Bola A. Akinterinwa 

Forgetfulness and selfishness constitute a major bane in the conduct, management, and development of good human and inter-governmental relations. Forgetfulness drives selfishness and selfishness also drives forgetfulness. The quest to be selfish naturally arises when one forgets the goodness of the past and this is very common with wicked leaders who do not often remember that there is tomorrow that inevitably will come. A juju music maestro Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey, who turned eighty years old last April 4, has said that ‘òsìkà gbàgbée òola, ógbàgbé ójó ìkéhìn,’ meaning that the ‘wicked forgets tomorrow, he forgets the last day.’ This is one philosophy that cautions against bad behaviour and unnecessary acts of wickedness and selfishness to the detriment of collective security, development, and survival.

Wickedness and selfishness raise the issue of sovereignty of power and sovereignty of wickedness in political governance. The notion of sovereignty in international law and relations underscores self-independence or self-autonomy. It implies untouchability in terms of external rapports. For instance, it is because of the consideration that Member States of the international community are sovereign that Article 2 (7) of the United Nations provides for non-intervention in whatever falls under the exclusive jurisdictional competence or domestic affairs of another State. This is to underscore the point that all countries are sovereignly equal and should be so respected. Thus, a leader or president of a State derives limited sovereignty from this and enjoys it on behalf of the people that entrust it in the leader.

Put differently, sovereignty, in whichever way it is defined, always belong to the people who delegate it to elected representatives. However, the elected principal representative, the president or prime minister, often forgets that he holds sovereignty in trust for his people. He acts contrarily to the interest of the people. In fact, internal wranglings are frequent in many governments because of selfish interests. It is the urge of selfishness that quickly prompts people to believe in sorcerers and satanic prophets who tell their clients that they would be Mr. President of their country one day but would not tell them how and when. 

When the witches in Shakespearian Macbeth told Macbeth that he would be King of England but not how and when, Macbeth thought that if he was to become the king of England, it could only be by killing his valiant cousin, King Duncan. This story is not different from the relationship between Blaise Compaoré and Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara who were bosom friends and came to power in a 1983 coup d’état to foster the development of their country. But Blaise Compaoré planned a coup and got Thomas Sankara brutally killed in 1987. In 2021, Compaoré was militarily tried and convicted in absentia for the murder of his friend.

Sovereign Wickedness and Conviction   

Under the umbrella of sovereignty, there is nothing a government cannot do for as long as the interests of other sovereign States are not threatened. It is also based on what is done by a government that defines the extent of public support or public opposition. But more often than not, it is because of inordinate ambitions and selfishness of leaders that always prompt forceful change of government in Africa. The murder of Thomas Sankara by Blaise Compaoré, as well as his trial in absentia in Burkina Faso is not in any way different. 

True enough, Thomas Sankara came to power in 1983 through a coup d’état and he was similarly removed from power through a coup d’état, but a very bloody and wicked one. The wickedness of the coup should be appreciated against the background of Sankara’s patriotism. He loved his country tenderly. In the period from 1983 to 15 October 1987 when he was brutally murdered, he made strenuous efforts to reduce his country’s dependence on France, the former colonial master. As reported by the BBC, the court prosecution of Blaise Compaoré revealed that ‘Sankara was lured to his death at a meeting of the ruling National Revolutionary Council. He was shot at least seven times according to ballistic experts who testified during the trial.’ In fact, he was shot in the chest at very close range more than seven times. He took over power at the age of 33 and killed at the age of 37.

Thomas Sankara showed unprecedented commitment to the education and health sectors before he was killed. He changed the name of his country from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, which means ‘the land of honest men.’ By so doing, he seriously campaigned against corruption and promoted honesty of purpose as a principle of political governance. Being a Marxist revolutionary, he was, by force of necessity, always in defiance of supranational instructions from the West. He fought imperialism in various ramifications.

He put in place a programme of nationalisation, mass social welfare and land redistribution. He was against development aid from the Breton Woods institutions. His anti-imperialism prompted the French president, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, to threaten in 2017 to declassify information on alleged Killings. Sankara was very critical of France.

Besides, Sankara, who was the youngest president in Africa when he was president of Burkina Faso, not only cut his salary and that of top civil and public servants, but also did away with the use of luxurious cars when he was in power. He promoted Pan-Africanism and philosophy of self-reliance and self-sufficiency. He did so well that he was referred to as the ‘Che Guevara of Africa. His defiant anti-imperialist attitude left many questions unanswered: was his brutal murder sponsored by imperialist stakeholders? Was France, to be specific, involved? Why should patriots be sacrificed at the altar of imperialism and coups d’état? Why should the Côte d’Ivoire refuse to extradite Compaoré when the crimes he committed took place before the acquisition of his Ivoirian nationality? Why should crimes be protected by African leaders who are purportedly seeking to free the African continent from toga of irrationalities and insecurity?

The coup that ousted Sankara took place on 15 October 1987. As noted earlier, it was very bloody. Blaise Compaoré, either for his inordinate ambition or he was used by external forces, got Sankara removed from power. He succeeded Sankara as Head of State. Probably but apparently for fear of avoiding being given the same bloody treatment in the event he too would be a victim of a possible countercoup, he set up a new presidential guard, comprising 1,300 soldiers. The soldiers were specially trained and well equipped. It was an elite group well indoctrinated to be very loyal to President Compaoré.

Without doubt, the goodness in a presidential guard is only helpful if the protégé is doing well in terms of good governance. The president cannot but be well protected in the continuation of promotion of good governance. And if the president is engaged in bad governance, the same presidential guard will only strengthen the president in further engaging in his bad governance. Thus, having a presidential guard is basically meant for the protection of the individual leader. It is therefore not surprising that President Compaoré was not doing well for most of his 27 years in power and was only forced out of power in 2014. He was able to stay for as long in power because of his presidential guard, but which cannot override the decision of the people who were no longer comfortable with the mania of Compaoré’s political governance.

Blaise Compaoré was suspected to have instigated the murder of Sankara and had to be forced out of power in 2014, following massive public street protests against his government and Compaoré’s intention to extend his stay in power. He sought refuge in the Côte d’Ivoire where he acquired the Ivoirian citizenship and was enabled to escape justice being sought by the Burkinabé. 

The choice of refuge in the Côte d’Ivoire is quite understandable. When President Alassane Ouattara whose origin is partly traceable to Burkina Faso and which reason largely explains why there was strong opposition to his presidential candidature in Côte d’Ivoire, President Compaoré came to Ouattara’s aid. It is therefore normal to reciprocate a good turn, in addition to the fact that one of Ouattara’s parents was a Burkinabé, an honest man.

What is noteworthy in this case is that refuge in Côte d’Ivoire does not obliterate the anger left behind in Burkina Faso. Thirty-four years after the murder of Sankara, a military prosecution of the murder began.  The transitional government that took over power following the ousting of Compaoré renewed the investigation into the murder of Sankara in 2015. This led to the issuance of an international warrant of arrest by the Burkinabé government in 2016. The Ivoirian government refused to extradite Compaoré based on the consideration that he had acquired the nationality of the Côte d’Ivoire. After investigations, the trial began in October 2021 and was concluded in March 2022.

Even though Compaoré argued the case of innocence, the military tribunal found him guilty of ‘attack on state security, concealment of a corpse, and complicity in a murder, ‘and sentenced him to life imprisonment in absentia. General Gilbert Diendéré, who took active part in the 1987 putsch against Sankara and is serving a 20-year sentence for leading a coup attempt against the transition government in 2015, was also convicted for the same offence. Mr. Hyacinthe Kafando, who was suspected to have led the commando that murdered Sankara and who was also the commander of Compaoré’s presidential guard at the time of events, was convicted for murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. In the eyes of the wife of Sankara, Mariam Sankara, the judgment was an expression of ‘justice and truth.’

Admittedly, the verdict can be an expression of truth and justice, but many are the unresolved issues that are not covered in the verdict of justice and truth, and which raise the question of good governance in the whole of Africa. First, why did it take 35 years before the trial could take place? There is no disputing the fact that Compaoré was in power for 27 years before he was similarly removed forcefully. During his tenure, it can be logically posited that it could never be in his interest to seek the trial of Sankara’s murderers. In this regard, it clearly shows that governance is not driven by institutional standards but by strong individuals. Africans do not have strong institutions but strong selfish individuals. It was after the departure of Compaoré that the idea of trial and quest for justice could be considered.

Secondly, how do we explain the commission of crimes in one African country and the protection of the criminals in another African country? Should the sharing of Burkina Faso as heritage, fully for Compaoré and partly for Ouattara be sufficient a reason to condone Compaoré’s crimes in Burkina Faso? Explicated differently, why should Compaoré be given accommodation in Côte d’Ivoire following his sentence of guiltiness? Does Compaoré being an Ivoirian imply his non-extradition to serve his jail term in Burkina Faso? 

If we admit that the verdict is justice and truth, what impact is the verdict if Compaoré will not be available to serve any punishment? Admittedly too, his record has, at least, been tainted and cannot speak well of him in the distant future. In other words, his record for life and for his descendants is that of a brutal criminal. The convicts have fifteen days within which to appeal. But pending the outcome of the appeal, what are the implications for Nigeria?

Lessons for Nigeria

There are many lessons to ponder on. First, it is not simply the prayers sought by plaintiffs that judges can limit themselves to in the quest for justice. In the trial of the murder of Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso, the military prosecutors asked for thirty years imprisonment for Compaoré and Kafando and only twenty years imprisonment for Diendéré. In the wisdom  of the court, the convicts merited life imprisonment and that was the judgment given. While Blaise Compaoré argued right from the beginning of the trial that the trial was political and that it was before ‘a court of exception’ considering that the procedure ‘is worthless,’  Sankara’s lawyers and family made it clear that they did not want revenge but justice. They were quite happy with the verdict but only regretted that none of the convicts confessed or repented. Consequently, leaders engaging in acts of brutalisation in political governance may one day suffer the same fate, regardless of preparedness to confess and repent.

Related to this first point of observation is the long period of delay of trial. The brutal murder of Sankara took place in 1987 but investigations would not begin until 2015 and trial would also not begin until 2021. This means that, no matter for how long the perpetration of brutalities will be delayed, justice cannot but be reserved for one day to come. Therefore, seeking refuge outside the place of commission of an offence or hiding under the rule of non-extradition does not, and cannot solve the problem of criminal convictions. At best the convicts can only live under fears abroad, fears like in the mania of kidnapping and crating Alhaji Umaru Dikko in London as a diplomatic baggage.

Secondly, the Burkinabé verdict reflects poor governance under President Blaise Compaoré, especially for making the exhuming of Sankara difficult, and by so doing, delaying the trial. In Nigeria, in the way there are civil and public servants who unduly are accomplices of Blaise Compaoré in covering up the murder of Sankara in Burkina Faso, so are many civil and public servants similarly aiding and abetting the perpetration of boko haramism in Nigeria. They have much delight in making political governance patriotic services very difficult. This should not be for many reasons. There is no way Nigeria can develop and have an enduring peace with crises and conflicts. 

In this regard, the extent to which government agents can continue to aid and abet the Boko Haram and the jihadist insurrection is a matter of time. As reported in the ThisDay of last Friday, 9th April, Nigeria has replaced Iraq in playing host to the highest number of Islamic State terrorist attacks. The statista.com has submitted that ‘Nigeria has one of the highest terrorism threat levels in the world. Despite a general decrease in terror-related deaths, the country recently recorded the second highest number of people who dies  in terrorist attacks worldwide, after Afghanistan.’ This means insecurity is deepening in Nigeria. In the manner the Burkinabé were compelled to force out Compaoré in 2014, the same can happen in Nigeria, even before the 2023 programmed general elections.

Thirdly, in the event of a popular uprising in Nigeria as noted in the second observation, the elected government of President Muhammadu Buhari may be forced out of power through a people’s coup à la Mali and the quest to quickly return to civilian and democratic rule may be quite difficult the way it is in both Mali and Burkina Faso. In the specific case of Burkina Faso, in March 2022, the military junta in power said it would return the country to democratic rule in three years’ time, that is in 2025, to enable the junta first to secure the country from the jihadist violence in which about two million people have been displaced and thousands of people had also been killed.

This proposal is not well received by the ECOWAS of which Burkina Faso is a founding member. The ECOWAS, operating under the rule of subsidiarity, has demanded that the junta should, by 25 April 2022, propose a shorter time for a return to democratic rule or accept to be given economic and financial sanctions. This is what the ECOWAS may also do in Nigeria if the PMB administration is pushed out forcefully and replaced by a junta. 

And perhaps more disturbingly, if the PMB administration is forced out of government, the agitation for self-determination cannot but be quickly strengthened and the ultimate outcome may lead to national disintegration by manu militari or by outright use of force. Consequently, the situation coups d’état in Francophone world, especially the 1987 Compaoré against Thomas Sankara and the eventual trial of Compaoré should be a special food for thought for policy makers in Nigeria.

Fourthly, and most importantly, “there is a disconnect between the situational reality of problems in Nigeria and the attitudinal disposition of the managers of the situational reality. The managers behave as if the situation does not even exist. For instance, Nigeria accounted for 27% of the global cases of malaria in 2021 and 31.9% of malaria in Africa according to the World Health Organisation. Nigeria is a member of the 30 high burden countries which accounted for 86% of new cases of tuberculosis in 2020. Insecurity wise, there is the challenge of many theatres of battles: increasing gunmen attacks even on military institutions, armed banditry, Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping unlimited, herdsmen and farmers imbroglio, setting houses of opposition elements on fire, and frequent collapse of the national grid. There are also conflicts of interests over whether Local Governments, State legislatures and judiciary should have autonomy. It is corruption by seeking to allow people to simultaneously hold on to political appointments and seek election. The pettiness of the sacking of the Imam of the Apo Legislative Quarters Juma’at Mosque, Sheikh Khalid, for speaking truth to power clearly shows how much dishonesty drives governance. In fact, agitations for separation, politicians’ greater concerns for election to the detriment of national security, and political governance driven by chicanery, toga of irrationalities and shameful open display of dishonesty cannot but be catalytic agents of national disunity and disintegration. Thus, Nigeria must learn lessons from other climes.”

INTERNATIoNAL

Bola A. Akinterinwa 

Forgetfulness and selfishness constitute a major bane in the conduct, management, and development of good human and inter-governmental relations. Forgetfulness drives selfishness and selfishness also drives forgetfulness. The quest to be selfish naturally arises when one forgets the goodness of the past and this is very common with wicked leaders who do not often remember that there is tomorrow that inevitably will come. A juju music maestro Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey, who turned eighty years old last April 4, has said that ‘òsìkà gbàgbée òola, ógbàgbé ójó ìkéhìn,’ meaning that the ‘wicked forgets tomorrow, he forgets the last day.’ This is one philosophy that cautions against bad behaviour and unnecessary acts of wickedness and selfishness to the detriment of collective security, development, and survival.

Wickedness and selfishness raise the issue of sovereignty of power and sovereignty of wickedness in political governance. The notion of sovereignty in international law and relations underscores self-independence or self-autonomy. It implies untouchability in terms of external rapports. For instance, it is because of the consideration that Member States of the international community are sovereign that Article 2 (7) of the United Nations provides for non-intervention in whatever falls under the exclusive jurisdictional competence or domestic affairs of another State. This is to underscore the point that all countries are sovereignly equal and should be so respected. Thus, a leader or president of a State derives limited sovereignty from this and enjoys it on behalf of the people that entrust it in the leader.

Put differently, sovereignty, in whichever way it is defined, always belong to the people who delegate it to elected representatives. However, the elected principal representative, the president or prime minister, often forgets that he holds sovereignty in trust for his people. He acts contrarily to the interest of the people. In fact, internal wranglings are frequent in many governments because of selfish interests. It is the urge of selfishness that quickly prompts people to believe in sorcerers and satanic prophets who tell their clients that they would be Mr. President of their country one day but would not tell them how and when. 

When the witches in Shakespearian Macbeth told Macbeth that he would be King of England but not how and when, Macbeth thought that if he was to become the king of England, it could only be by killing his valiant cousin, King Duncan. This story is not different from the relationship between Blaise Compaoré and Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara who were bosom friends and came to power in a 1983 coup d’état to foster the development of their country. But Blaise Compaoré planned a coup and got Thomas Sankara brutally killed in 1987. In 2021, Compaoré was militarily tried and convicted in absentia for the murder of his friend.

Sovereign Wickedness and Conviction   

Under the umbrella of sovereignty, there is nothing a government cannot do for as long as the interests of other sovereign States are not threatened. It is also based on what is done by a government that defines the extent of public support or public opposition. But more often than not, it is because of inordinate ambitions and selfishness of leaders that always prompt forceful change of government in Africa. The murder of Thomas Sankara by Blaise Compaoré, as well as his trial in absentia in Burkina Faso is not in any way different. 

True enough, Thomas Sankara came to power in 1983 through a coup d’état and he was similarly removed from power through a coup d’état, but a very bloody and wicked one. The wickedness of the coup should be appreciated against the background of Sankara’s patriotism. He loved his country tenderly. In the period from 1983 to 15 October 1987 when he was brutally murdered, he made strenuous efforts to reduce his country’s dependence on France, the former colonial master. As reported by the BBC, the court prosecution of Blaise Compaoré revealed that ‘Sankara was lured to his death at a meeting of the ruling National Revolutionary Council. He was shot at least seven times according to ballistic experts who testified during the trial.’ In fact, he was shot in the chest at very close range more than seven times. He took over power at the age of 33 and killed at the age of 37.

Thomas Sankara showed unprecedented commitment to the education and health sectors before he was killed. He changed the name of his country from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, which means ‘the land of honest men.’ By so doing, he seriously campaigned against corruption and promoted honesty of purpose as a principle of political governance. Being a Marxist revolutionary, he was, by force of necessity, always in defiance of supranational instructions from the West. He fought imperialism in various ramifications.

He put in place a programme of nationalisation, mass social welfare and land redistribution. He was against development aid from the Breton Woods institutions. His anti-imperialism prompted the French president, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, to threaten in 2017 to declassify information on alleged Killings. Sankara was very critical of France.

Besides, Sankara, who was the youngest president in Africa when he was president of Burkina Faso, not only cut his salary and that of top civil and public servants, but also did away with the use of luxurious cars when he was in power. He promoted Pan-Africanism and philosophy of self-reliance and self-sufficiency. He did so well that he was referred to as the ‘Che Guevara of Africa. His defiant anti-imperialist attitude left many questions unanswered: was his brutal murder sponsored by imperialist stakeholders? Was France, to be specific, involved? Why should patriots be sacrificed at the altar of imperialism and coups d’état? Why should the Côte d’Ivoire refuse to extradite Compaoré when the crimes he committed took place before the acquisition of his Ivoirian nationality? Why should crimes be protected by African leaders who are purportedly seeking to free the African continent from toga of irrationalities and insecurity?

The coup that ousted Sankara took place on 15 October 1987. As noted earlier, it was very bloody. Blaise Compaoré, either for his inordinate ambition or he was used by external forces, got Sankara removed from power. He succeeded Sankara as Head of State. Probably but apparently for fear of avoiding being given the same bloody treatment in the event he too would be a victim of a possible countercoup, he set up a new presidential guard, comprising 1,300 soldiers. The soldiers were specially trained and well equipped. It was an elite group well indoctrinated to be very loyal to President Compaoré.

Without doubt, the goodness in a presidential guard is only helpful if the protégé is doing well in terms of good governance. The president cannot but be well protected in the continuation of promotion of good governance. And if the president is engaged in bad governance, the same presidential guard will only strengthen the president in further engaging in his bad governance. Thus, having a presidential guard is basically meant for the protection of the individual leader. It is therefore not surprising that President Compaoré was not doing well for most of his 27 years in power and was only forced out of power in 2014. He was able to stay for as long in power because of his presidential guard, but which cannot override the decision of the people who were no longer comfortable with the mania of Compaoré’s political governance.

Blaise Compaoré was suspected to have instigated the murder of Sankara and had to be forced out of power in 2014, following massive public street protests against his government and Compaoré’s intention to extend his stay in power. He sought refuge in the Côte d’Ivoire where he acquired the Ivoirian citizenship and was enabled to escape justice being sought by the Burkinabé. 

The choice of refuge in the Côte d’Ivoire is quite understandable. When President Alassane Ouattara whose origin is partly traceable to Burkina Faso and which reason largely explains why there was strong opposition to his presidential candidature in Côte d’Ivoire, President Compaoré came to Ouattara’s aid. It is therefore normal to reciprocate a good turn, in addition to the fact that one of Ouattara’s parents was a Burkinabé, an honest man.

What is noteworthy in this case is that refuge in Côte d’Ivoire does not obliterate the anger left behind in Burkina Faso. Thirty-four years after the murder of Sankara, a military prosecution of the murder began.  The transitional government that took over power following the ousting of Compaoré renewed the investigation into the murder of Sankara in 2015. This led to the issuance of an international warrant of arrest by the Burkinabé government in 2016. The Ivoirian government refused to extradite Compaoré based on the consideration that he had acquired the nationality of the Côte d’Ivoire. After investigations, the trial began in October 2021 and was concluded in March 2022.

Even though Compaoré argued the case of innocence, the military tribunal found him guilty of ‘attack on state security, concealment of a corpse, and complicity in a murder, ‘and sentenced him to life imprisonment in absentia. General Gilbert Diendéré, who took active part in the 1987 putsch against Sankara and is serving a 20-year sentence for leading a coup attempt against the transition government in 2015, was also convicted for the same offence. Mr. Hyacinthe Kafando, who was suspected to have led the commando that murdered Sankara and who was also the commander of Compaoré’s presidential guard at the time of events, was convicted for murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. In the eyes of the wife of Sankara, Mariam Sankara, the judgment was an expression of ‘justice and truth.’

Admittedly, the verdict can be an expression of truth and justice, but many are the unresolved issues that are not covered in the verdict of justice and truth, and which raise the question of good governance in the whole of Africa. First, why did it take 35 years before the trial could take place? There is no disputing the fact that Compaoré was in power for 27 years before he was similarly removed forcefully. During his tenure, it can be logically posited that it could never be in his interest to seek the trial of Sankara’s murderers. In this regard, it clearly shows that governance is not driven by institutional standards but by strong individuals. Africans do not have strong institutions but strong selfish individuals. It was after the departure of Compaoré that the idea of trial and quest for justice could be considered.

Secondly, how do we explain the commission of crimes in one African country and the protection of the criminals in another African country? Should the sharing of Burkina Faso as heritage, fully for Compaoré and partly for Ouattara be sufficient a reason to condone Compaoré’s crimes in Burkina Faso? Explicated differently, why should Compaoré be given accommodation in Côte d’Ivoire following his sentence of guiltiness? Does Compaoré being an Ivoirian imply his non-extradition to serve his jail term in Burkina Faso? 

If we admit that the verdict is justice and truth, what impact is the verdict if Compaoré will not be available to serve any punishment? Admittedly too, his record has, at least, been tainted and cannot speak well of him in the distant future. In other words, his record for life and for his descendants is that of a brutal criminal. The convicts have fifteen days within which to appeal. But pending the outcome of the appeal, what are the implications for Nigeria?

Lessons for Nigeria

There are many lessons to ponder on. First, it is not simply the prayers sought by plaintiffs that judges can limit themselves to in the quest for justice. In the trial of the murder of Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso, the military prosecutors asked for thirty years imprisonment for Compaoré and Kafando and only twenty years imprisonment for Diendéré. In the wisdom  of the court, the convicts merited life imprisonment and that was the judgment given. While Blaise Compaoré argued right from the beginning of the trial that the trial was political and that it was before ‘a court of exception’ considering that the procedure ‘is worthless,’  Sankara’s lawyers and family made it clear that they did not want revenge but justice. They were quite happy with the verdict but only regretted that none of the convicts confessed or repented. Consequently, leaders engaging in acts of brutalisation in political governance may one day suffer the same fate, regardless of preparedness to confess and repent.

Related to this first point of observation is the long period of delay of trial. The brutal murder of Sankara took place in 1987 but investigations would not begin until 2015 and trial would also not begin until 2021. This means that, no matter for how long the perpetration of brutalities will be delayed, justice cannot but be reserved for one day to come. Therefore, seeking refuge outside the place of commission of an offence or hiding under the rule of non-extradition does not, and cannot solve the problem of criminal convictions. At best the convicts can only live under fears abroad, fears like in the mania of kidnapping and crating Alhaji Umaru Dikko in London as a diplomatic baggage.

Secondly, the Burkinabé verdict reflects poor governance under President Blaise Compaoré, especially for making the exhuming of Sankara difficult, and by so doing, delaying the trial. In Nigeria, in the way there are civil and public servants who unduly are accomplices of Blaise Compaoré in covering up the murder of Sankara in Burkina Faso, so are many civil and public servants similarly aiding and abetting the perpetration of boko haramism in Nigeria. They have much delight in making political governance patriotic services very difficult. This should not be for many reasons. There is no way Nigeria can develop and have an enduring peace with crises and conflicts. 

In this regard, the extent to which government agents can continue to aid and abet the Boko Haram and the jihadist insurrection is a matter of time. As reported in the ThisDay of last Friday, 9th April, Nigeria has replaced Iraq in playing host to the highest number of Islamic State terrorist attacks. The statista.com has submitted that ‘Nigeria has one of the highest terrorism threat levels in the world. Despite a general decrease in terror-related deaths, the country recently recorded the second highest number of people who dies  in terrorist attacks worldwide, after Afghanistan.’ This means insecurity is deepening in Nigeria. In the manner the Burkinabé were compelled to force out Compaoré in 2014, the same can happen in Nigeria, even before the 2023 programmed general elections.

Thirdly, in the event of a popular uprising in Nigeria as noted in the second observation, the elected government of President Muhammadu Buhari may be forced out of power through a people’s coup à la Mali and the quest to quickly return to civilian and democratic rule may be quite difficult the way it is in both Mali and Burkina Faso. In the specific case of Burkina Faso, in March 2022, the military junta in power said it would return the country to democratic rule in three years’ time, that is in 2025, to enable the junta first to secure the country from the jihadist violence in which about two million people have been displaced and thousands of people had also been killed.

This proposal is not well received by the ECOWAS of which Burkina Faso is a founding member. The ECOWAS, operating under the rule of subsidiarity, has demanded that the junta should, by 25 April 2022, propose a shorter time for a return to democratic rule or accept to be given economic and financial sanctions. This is what the ECOWAS may also do in Nigeria if the PMB administration is pushed out forcefully and replaced by a junta. 

And perhaps more disturbingly, if the PMB administration is forced out of government, the agitation for self-determination cannot but be quickly strengthened and the ultimate outcome may lead to national disintegration by manu militari or by outright use of force. Consequently, the situation coups d’état in Francophone world, especially the 1987 Compaoré against Thomas Sankara and the eventual trial of Compaoré should be a special food for thought for policy makers in Nigeria.

Fourthly, and most importantly, “there is a disconnect between the situational reality of problems in Nigeria and the attitudinal disposition of the managers of the situational reality. The managers behave as if the situation does not even exist. For instance, Nigeria accounted for 27% of the global cases of malaria in 2021 and 31.9% of malaria in Africa according to the World Health Organisation. Nigeria is a member of the 30 high burden countries which accounted for 86% of new cases of tuberculosis in 2020. Insecurity wise, there is the challenge of many theatres of battles: increasing gunmen attacks even on military institutions, armed banditry, Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping unlimited, herdsmen and farmers imbroglio, setting houses of opposition elements on fire, and frequent collapse of the national grid. There are also conflicts of interests over whether Local Governments, State legislatures and judiciary should have autonomy. It is corruption by seeking to allow people to simultaneously hold on to political appointments and seek election. The pettiness of the sacking of the Imam of the Apo Legislative Quarters Juma’at Mosque, Sheikh Khalid, for speaking truth to power clearly shows how much dishonesty drives governance. In fact, agitations for separation, politicians’ greater concerns for election to the detriment of national security, and political governance driven by chicanery, toga of irrationalities and shameful open display of dishonesty cannot but be catalytic agents of national disunity and disintegration. Thus, Nigeria must learn lessons from other climes.”