By Charles Ogbu
A petition was written against the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), honourable Justice Walter Onnoghen on the 7th day of January 2019 by a former media Aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, one Mr Dennis Aghanya who is also the former National publicity Secretary of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), a party on which platform President Buhari contested the 2011 Presidential poll. The said Dennis is also the founder of a pro-Buhari group named The Buhari Organization (TBO). This petition was submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) two days after it was written which would be on 9th. On the same 9th, the Code of Conduct Bureau sent it to the Code of Conduct Tribunal which supposes that the CCB investigated the matter within few hours. On 10th, charges were filed against the CJN and he was served the following day being 11th with trial fixed the next working day being Monday the 14th of January 2019. Everything done within just one week.
With just 4 weeks to a make or mar general election widely expected to end at the Supreme Court headed by the same CJN and with the knowledge that there is a subsisting 2017 court pronouncement in Nganjiwa versus Federal Republic of Nigeria to the effect that a judicial officer cannot be prosecuted until such an officer has been investigated and found guilty by the National Judicial Council, President Buhari’s action is nothing but an act of desperation which reveals so much about the psychology of the President and his handlers:
1) The President is not the invincible Strategist some mistake him for. He’s but a desperate man living in perpetual fear. Perpetual fear of losing the election either at the polls or the Supreme Court where the case is expected to end up before the CJN. So it makes perfect sense hounding the CJN who is a southern Christian out of office knowing that next in line to the position of the CJN is a Northern Muslim. If I were a hopelessly desperate ethno-religious bigot afraid of having the Supreme Court upturn a victory I hope to secure through mindless rigging, I would behave exactly like President Buhari. But if I were a good Strategist, I would not do that because it will only end up winning more friends for the CJN and uniting the whole judiciary, legislature and those who ordinarily were not interested in the election against me. I will now be marked as a common existential threat who must be stopped at all cost. Indeed, the President and his handlers are not as sophisticated as we give them credit for. Their best take away from this is to scandalize the CJN and make him compliant but it is not even likely to work.
2) Nigerians are being ruled by a bunch of political terrorists whose madness has no known method. They are willing and ready to do just about anything to win re-election. Burning down the whole country won’t be a problem to them if only they could rule over the ashes.
3) Democracy, if not well guarded by men and women of conscience, can also be a victim of its own institutions. In a 2018 book by Harvard University political Scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt titled HOW DEMOCRACIES DIE, They wrote:
“The tragic paradox of the electoral route to authoritarianism is that democracy’s assassins use the very institutions of democracy—gradually, subtly, and even legally—to kill it”
This is exactly what we’ve been witnessing under Buhari.
The daura ex soldier is not sure of victory in the 2019 poll. Not at the polls. And certainly not at the court. All these his antics are aimed at just one thing: He simply want us to think he has already won. That way, many people won’t bother voting at all. With that, his plan to rig will be hitch-free and even the court will find it difficult upturning such fraudulent victory.
This is no longer a case of PDP versus APC. This is a case of Nigerians versus a dyed-in-the-wool Autocrat. Giving up is not an option. We owe it to ourselves to come out enmass and use our votes against this enemy of Democracy and leave cases of rigging to the judiciary to handle.
If we don’t stop this man, he will stop us.
In all these, one truth stands out: No matter how powerful Tyrants think themselves, they always fall. The masses always win in the end.