By Tochukwu Ezukanma
The Igbo delight in the feeling that they are universally hated in Nigeria. We dwell on the hatred of other ethnic groups of Nigeria for us, and make our endless list of Igbo haters. The longer the litany of our inexhaustible haters, the better we feel; it gives us psychological satisfaction because it panders to our self-deceit and provides us culprits for our blame game. No Nigerian ethnic group is totally devoted to hate and none is totally consumed by love. All of them have the capacity to hate and love. In their hate, greed and violence, every major ethnic group of Nigeria, Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo, have contributed to the problems of Nigeria. So, when we, the Igbo, blame other Nigerians for hating us, but refuse to acknowledge that we have also, at different times, acted out in hatred for others, we are lying to ourselves.
When, on January 15th 1966, four Igbo majors and one Yoruba major, in a coup attempt, murdered the innocent in cold blood, the two most important northern Nigeria political leaders (Ahmadu Bello and Tafawa Belewa) and the four highest ranking northern army officers, it was an act of love by an Igbo-dominated group of coup plotters. But, when in reprisal to the lop-sided killings in the coup and the obvious Igbo insensitivity to the sensibilities of the aggrieved northerners, northerners killed Aguiyi Ironsi, hunted down Igbo soldiers and mass-murdered Igbo civilians, it was an act of hate by murderous “vandals” driven by their implacable hatred for the Igbo. At the end of the civil war, the Nigerian government, in its hatred for the Igbo and planned extermination of the Igbo race, released many Biafran prisoners, both soldiers and civilians. But the Biafrans had no prisoner to release because, in their saintliness, godliness and unconditional love for all, they had killed every Nigerian soldier they captured. What nonsense? How can a people be lying, so brazenly, to themselves?
For our own good, we must stop lying to ourselves. The worst thing anyone can ever do to himself is to lie to himself. It is our lying to ourselves and its attendant self-deceit, self-pity and culture of victimhood that is holding us down in Nigerian politics. It make us nostalgic for that suicidal escapade, Biafra; fuels the neo-Biafran insanity; makes us believe the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) nonsense that the Igbo are enslaved in Nigeria; and makes relevant that confused confusionist that is disturbing the peace of Nigeria and endangering Igbo lives, Nnamdi Kanu. It has been said that, “madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”. Our self-deceit, blame game and victimhood approach to Nigerian politics have, for so long, undermined our progress in Nigeria politics. It is high time we snapped out of this debilitating mindset.
Most of the times, a man’s problems are not caused by his relatives, neighbors, friends, and even, enemies, but himself. Therefore, progress and success in any sphere of human endeavor usually demand that the individual cast a critical eye on himself and have the courage to tell himself the truth: that he has caused his own problems. Those that lack the courage and gumption to do these refuse to take responsibilities for their actions; they blame their blunders and failures on others. Taking responsibility for your actions is unpleasant but most helpful. On the other hand, blaming others for your problems is gratifying but most destructive.
By the time of the 2019 presidential election, it was obvious that the Mohammadu Buhari presidency was detrimental to the Igbo. He had already dramatized his anti-Igbo bias in his political appointments. For example, no Igbo made the list of his thirty eight appointees to head the different Nigerian security agencies. Secondly, his administration’s tacit support for the murderous binges of Fulani herdsmen has left a trail of death, destruction, pains and sorrow across parts of Nigeria, including the Igbo states. In their periodic blood-spattered sorties into Igbo land, the killer herdsmen raped women; killed men, women, children and even babies; and ravaged and pillaged communities. Therefore, the Igbo should have labored assiduously for the electoral defeat of President Buhari. Paradoxically, the majority of Igbo governors campaigned for the re-election of President Buhari.
The opposing presidential ticket, Atiku Abubakar/Peter Obi, provided a refreshing alternative to Buharism and its attendant obscurantism, nepotism and blunders. Its victory would have brought an end to Buhari-emboldened Fulani irredentism and its associated herdsmen butchery of the innocent in Igbo land. In addition, it would have made Peter Obi the vice president, and positioned him for the presidency in the very near future. Perplexingly, Igbo governors rallied against the Atiku/Obi presidential ticket. These are a few examples of how we, the Igbo, cause our own problems and bungle up our political opportunities, and, in our self-deceit, blame them on the Yoruba, Hausa/Fulani and other “Igbo haters”.
Was it not supremely ironic that the governors of a people that have been victims of the killings of killer herdsmen campaigned for the re-election of a president that is supportive of the herdsmen’s bloodshed? Was it not tremendously contradictory that despite our long-running cries of marginalization, Igbo governors worked against the possible emergence of an Igbo vice president? To shoot ourselves in the foot and blame “Igbo haters” for it is self-deceit. To lament the murderousness and criminality of Fulani herdsmen in Igbo land and the dwindling political lot of the Igbo in Nigeria, but campaign for a president that supports the herdsmen and undermines the political significance of Ndi Igbo is political schizophrenia.
Tochukwu Ezukanma writes from Lagos, Nigeria. You can reach him via email: [email protected] or phone call: 0803 529 2908
Oraifite Mayhem: Police ‘Cut-&-Join’ Account And 24 Questions For IGP & COAS
The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law [INTERSOCIETY] has in the past 48 hours been bombarded with calls, text messages and emails by well meaning and deeply concerned citizens of Nigeria and nationals of other countries. The call bombardment was to ascertain the true situation of things concerning the Monday afternoon, early and late evening mayhem in the ancestral home of Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor (Onowu) in Umunakwa, Ifite-Orafite, Ekwusigo Local Council of Anambra State in old Eastern Nigeria.
The bombarded calls came when Intersociety leadership was still battling to tidy up its recent advocacy against threats of extinction facing Igbo-Southeast senior police officers and possible others. The detailed advocacy projected, started since past two weeks, was finally tidied up and transformed into three letters sent to PSC, NPF, NAF and NCS. Below are the detailed background of the dastardly act and twenty-four questions arising from the Nigeria Police “cut-and-join” account. This statement is signed by Uju Joy Igboeli, Chinwe Umeche, Esq., Esq., Ndidiamaka Bernard, Esq., Samuel Kamanyaoku (Comrade) and Emeka Umeagbalasi (a Criminologist & Security Studies Graduate); all principal officers of Intersociety.
Right Of Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor As A Legal Practitioner In Nigeria
Recall that Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor is a Nigerian practicing lawyer of 15 years standing. He was called to Bar in 2004. Under the Nigerian legal practice and legal system, every licensed legal practitioner including Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor can practice law anywhere in the country; and under ‘human rights legal practice’ in the country, any licensed legal practitioner including Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor can defend any citizen falsely or legitimately accused of breaking criminal law of the country or any part thereof.
This is irrespective of the gravity of the accused crime(s) or whether his client(s) is falsely or validly accused of “acts of terrorism and terrorism financing”. In doing so, such lawyer, by practice and profession, is shielded from being accused or made a party to the crime. It must also be pointed out here that the Nigerian Bar Association; not the Nigeria Police Force or the Army, is tasked with sole mandate of regulating the conducts of licensed practicing lawyers in Nigeria.
Specifically, the NBA’s Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee is charged with the responsibility of disrobing or suspending or fining a lawyer who is found, after proper investigation, to have engaged in unprofessional or unethical practices. In Nigeria, too, crimes are defined and categorized by penalties and generally categorized into: (a) felonies which carry capital punishment as maximum and three years as minimum; (b) misdemeanors which carry three years imprisonment as maximum and one year as minimum; and (c) simple offences which carry six months as maximum.Nnamdi
Detailed Background Of The Oraifite Police & Military Mayhem
Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor is bereaved and mourning till date; having lost his beloved elder step brother, late Rev. Louis Chukwukpelum Ejiofor. The Barr had relocated to Oraifite from his Abuja base since 24th Nov 2019 and on Tuesday, 26th, a night vigil was organized for his late brother. On Wednesday, 27th, his brother’s body committed to mother earth, followed by condolence visits till Sunday, 1st Dec when the family had a thanksgiving church service, after which the condolences continued till date. The condolences attracted present and past public office holders, senior lawyers; human rights leaders, pro Biafra and other regional activists, captains of industry and numerous others.
For purpose of ensuring security during the funeral, the Ejiofor Family secured the services of both conventional (police) and ‘unconventional (vigilante and unarmed private guards, popularly called “bouncers”). Under Nigeria’s Private Guards Act of 1986 (now Private Guards Act of 2004), any Nigerian citizen can seek and retain the services of such guards. Also by the Firearms Act of 2004, any Nigerian citizen can validly or by license, operate or seek, for purpose of personal security, the services of bearer(s) of ‘un-prohibited firearms’, provided their firearms fall under Pump Action or Double Barreled guns and not “prohibited firearms” such as assault or military rifles.
Apart from being the lawyer of the unarmed Indigenous People of Biafra, controversially proscribed by the Buhari and Osinbajo led Federal Government of Nigeria, Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor is also, professionally speaking, the legal adviser of ‘Otu-Eke Cultural Masquerade Group’ in his Oraifite hometown. Some time ago, the Masquerade group had issues among its members, leading to a split and formation of a rival “Otu-Afor Masquerade group”. The two rival masquerade groups derived their names from ‘igbo’s Eke and Afor market days’.
To forestall the repeat of what ignited the earlier dispute (i.e. unethical and violent conducts during ceremonial activities), Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor in his capacity as the former’s legal adviser was hired to trade-mark the group’s masquerade regalia at the Fed Ministry of Trade & Investment, so as to differentiate the ‘Otu-Eke Masquerade’ from their rival ‘Otu-Afor’. The said regalia were later trade-marked at the said Ministry. Since then the relationship between the two has remained cat-and-dog, with some troublesome rich men in the Community said to be fueling the crisis.
On Saturday, 29th Nov, there was a funeral outing in the town where the deceased was said to have belonged to the two factions of the Masquerade. The two factions were invited by the deceased family. Somewhere, a misunderstanding broke out leading to scuffles or fisticuffs; forcing ‘the Otu-Eke faction to leave the funeral venue in protest. In the process, a member of the ‘Otu-Eke Masquerade was attacked and taken to undisclosed location; angered by same, members of the group regrouped, stormed the venue of the funeral and scattered tents, chairs, foods and drinks mobilized for same. In the end, each faction had a member apiece attacked and taken to their respective chambers or hideout.
Not done, the factional ‘Otu-Afor Masquerade group’ lodged a complaint of ‘abduction’, ‘malicious damage to property’ and ‘assault-occasioning harm’ at the Oraifite Area Command/Divisional Police Station. Among those named as culprits by the ‘Otu-Afor faction’, Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor was included and roped in as a culprit. As early as 6am on Monday, 2nd Dec, the Oraifite Area Commander and his DPO, with 16 other armed police personnel had stormed Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor’s ancestral home and demanded to see him.
The lawyer’s elder brother was handy but the Lawyer was not around. As a matter of fact, Barr Ejiofor specifically left his house earlier for his Nnewi office for the day’s court session, but was put on phone by his elder brother to speak with the Area Commander, who spoke to him and claimed that ‘they were looking for one “Udene” being harbored as a bouncer-security’ and that he is wanted for offenses elsewhere. An agreement was reached and assurance given to the effect that Barr would come and see them before 11am same morning and sort out the issue including releasing the said wanted “Udene” to the Area Commander and his DPO.
Sadly, before the agreed time could come to pass, truck-loads of armed police personnel said to be led by the Oraifite Area Commander, ACP Oliver Abbey and the Ichi SARS Unit Commander, ASP Joseph Akubo, had violently stormed the ancestral home of the Ejiofors and forcefully broke into same. The police narrative was instantly changed from “looking for one “Udene” to “looking for one Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor for case of abduction, malicious damage to property and assault occasioning harm”.
On being told that the Barr was not yet back, the armed police personnel fumed and opened fire, shooting in different directions and at close range too. The Barr Ejiofor’s family compound was turned into a war zone. Targeting scores of co-mourners and bouncer-security guards left behind, numbering not more than twenty in all including house errand boys; bullets rained in different directions, with many scampering for safety including the widow of Barr Ejiofor’s late elder brother, who is still mourning. As if that was not enough, too, the riotous and culpable armed police personnel grabbed one of the unarmed bouncer-security guards and smashed his fore head with thick plank, forcing him to slump and die instantly.
The resort to lynching followed local bullet resistance charms used or worn by the unarmed bouncer-security guards when they were severally shot at. In the end, two bouncer-security guards and two ‘common’ others were killed on the spot, with others sustaining gunshot injuries. The two slain bouncer-security guards were rescued by their colleagues and hidden while two others were made away with by the police. Photos of the two slain citizens are attached below.
The controversially reported killing by “Ejiofor’s men” of “two senior police officers” inside the Barr’s family compound has remained independently un-authenticated; likewise reports of killing of more defenseless citizens when soldiers invaded the Family houses and set the six houses and properties ablaze. The Nigeria Police, Anambra State Command must proof that the duo died and got killed in the Barrister’s place by his loyalists or by himself. We have further checked the profile of the ACP which the Police said was “killed in Barr Ejiofor’s house by his loyalists or himself”. He is known to NPF as “Oliver Inoma-Abbey, with appointment number AP36037 (number 167 in the NPF list of ACPs), born in Bonny, Rivers State on 15th July 1963, joined NPF on 1st July 1986, promoted to ACP on 21st Nov 2016, retires on 1st July 2021, held HND in Estate Management and appointed Area Commander, Oraifite Area Command on Dec 11, 2017”.
Police ‘Cut-and-Join’ Account
The Anambra State Police had in later part of same Monday, 2nd Dec, issued a ‘cut-and-join’ statement, riddled with controversies and unanswered questions. The Command controversially said as follows: “on 2nd Dec 2019, at about 11.30am, there was a formal complaint against one Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor ‘m’ (a member of the proscribed IPOB) in Oraifite on alleged case of abduction, assault occasioning harm and malicious damage to property. Following the report, the Police patrol teams led by the Area Commander of Oraifite, ACP Oliver Abbey mobilized and rushed to the scene in order to arrest the suspect who declined Police invitation”. Recall that the same Area Commander and his DPO were in the same house of Barr Ejiofor before 6am of the said date.
The Anambra Police ‘cut-and-join’ account continued: “however, as soon as Police arrived the house, armed men suspected to be IPOB members descended on the Police, set ablaze one Patrol vehicle and attacked them with rifles and machetes. As a result of the attack, two police officers whose identities are being withheld were killed by suspected IPOB members while others were inflicted with machete cuts…”.
“Consequently, the Command deployed reinforcements from the State Headquarters comprising of PMF, SARS and Special Anti Cult units in conjunction with the Arm y/other sister agencies who cordoned off the area to fish out the culprits…”. The Police later issued another statement and gave the names of two officers it said were killed as “ACP Oliver Abbey” and “ASP Joseph Akubo”. The Command further issued arrest warrant against the chief victim and maintained criminal silence over the havoc it wrecked with soldiers in the Family of the Lawyer, his siblings and neighbors.
Burning Of Six Modern Houses & Other Atrocities: Moments after the Anambra CP’s ordered reinforcements arrived the said family houses, soldiers of 302 Artillery Regiment Onitsha and Police SARS and Anti Cult, joined by PMF personnel and others went on rampage and burnt to ashes not less than (a) ten ‘provision’ stores located close to the Family House. The burnt stores were stocked with goods valued at millions of naira.
Other properties burnt down were (b) six modern buildings located within the premises of the Family Home including house-hold properties and a storey building/house of late Reverend Louis Ejiofor and his widow, (c) a car and a motorcycle parked in the premises, (d) all livestock in the Family House including goats, dogs and fowls and (e) house of a neighbor who supplied music and entertainment during the funeral. Apart from rendering the mourning widow of the deceased and the aged mother of Barr Ejiofor and other members of his nuclear and extended family homeless, the total burnt properties are conservatively valued at over N100m. The owners of the ten burnt stores were also made destitute over night.
Suspicious Burning Of A Police Vehicle & Two Unknown Corpses: While the Anambra State Police Command claimed that “a Police Patrol vehicle was burnt together with two officers beyond recognition at Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor’s house”, findings showed that the said vehicle and two yet-to-be independently identified corpses were suspiciously set ablaze along “Nkwo-Oraifite to Nkwo-Nnewi (Nkwo-Nkwo) Road”; a far distance from Barr Ejiofor’s ancestral House.
24 Questions For Anambra State Police Command, IGP & COAS
- When has it become a crime for a lawyer to defend his or her client(s) in Nigeria no matter the offense gravity?
- Is there any law in Nigeria that makes a practicing lawyer a party (or a criminal) to an offence accused of committed by his or her client(s)?
- When have the Nigeria Police Force including Anambra State Police Command and the Nigerian Army become the NBA and its Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee and taken over their functions?
- Assuming, but not conceding to the fact that “IPOB is a terrorist organization”, when have it become the operational and law enforcement norms of the Police and the Army for a defense counsel of a “terror” suspect to be roped or violently treated as “a terrorist”?
- How many lawyers defending Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists or Herdsmen jihadists in the Northeast or North-central have had their houses and properties burnt to ashes by security forces anywhere in Nigeria?
- Assuming but not conceding to the fact that the said two police officers were “killed and in Barr Ejiofor’s house and by his loyalists or himself”, when has it become a police or military operational or law enforcement guide or ethic for service personnel that died in the line of duty to be retaliated by wrecking havoc such as burning down houses and other properties or shooting and killing at will?
- Are personnel of the Nigeria Police Force and the Military now created and catered for with tax payers’ resources to be saved from dying in the line of duty?
- Are they created to defend and cater for themselves or for purpose of securing vulnerable and defenseless general and individual citizens of the country?
- When has arresting a suspect of offences of “affray-abduction”, “assault occasioning harm” and “malicious damage to property”; turned into mindless burning of properties, shootings and killings?
- In the instant case, was the Nigeria Police hired to kill and destroy or invited to investigate and prosecute the three named lenient offences?
- What was the Oraifite Area Commander and his DPO doing in the Family House of Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor as early as 6am on Monday, 2nd Dec 2019, only to turn-coat and claimed that they “received a formal complaint at about 11.30am”?
- Were the said two police officers truly killed?
- Were they truly killed in Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor’s house “by his loyalists or himself”?
- If truly killed, who killed them and where, when and how were they killed and where are their corpses?
- Where are corpses of the two defenseless citizens (‘Mission’ and Mathew) shot and killed by the Police in Barr Ejiofor’s house?
- How come the “two senior police officers were said to have been killed in the Barr’s house and by his loyalists or himself, with a Police Patrol vehicle burnt”; yet the same vehicle and unknown two corpses were found burnt along “Nkwo-Nkwo Road”, far away from the Lawyer’s house?
- Was it a foul play or cover up attempt?
- Is it correct to allege that the vehicle was burnt by the culprit police personnel so as to maliciously rope in the chief victim?
- Is it also not correct to allege that the two corpses burnt beyond recognition were the same two slain bodies of innocent citizens shot, killed and taken away by the culprit police personnel from the Lawyer’s house?
- Is it not correct to allege that the mayhem in Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor’s house was the handiwork of service agents of the Federal Government in furtherance of their hate policy against the Igbo Ethnic Nationality?
- Is it not correct to say that what started as mere intra-communal misunderstanding was hijacked, fueled and escalated by the referenced so as to rope in the innocent Lawyer with spurious capital offense accusations?
- Why is the Anambra State Police Command shielding itself or keeping criminal mute over the mayhem its personnel and soldiers perpetrated including burning of six modern houses and other tens of millions of naira worth of properties as well as killing, maiming and traumatizing defenseless citizens including the mourning mother and the widow of the deceased?
- Where has the conscience of Police and Military personnel in Nigeria, including the referenced culprit service personnel gone, to the extent they no longer value and respect the dead?
- Are they not going to die someday and expect to be given befitting burials and funerals?
International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law [INTERSOCIETY]
Mobile/WhatsApp Line: +2348174090052
Email: [email protected]
Disclaimer: Opinion articles are solely the responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official standpoint of Oriental Times or any of its editor thereof.
The Regression Towards Dictatorship In Nigeria
By Tochukwu Ezukanma
President Buhari’s war on corruption struck a responsive chord in Nigerian minds because corruption has, for long, been the bane of Nigeria. It convoluted our value system and rendered every institution dysfunctional, and portends to unravel the social fabric of the Nigerian society. A successful war against corruption in Nigeria will nudge the country towards a renaissance and herald her joining the ranks of the prosperous nations of the world. So, we enthusiastically supported his determined assault on this national malady. Just, as we were ready to vote for him, even, if, “he presented a NEPA bill for his certificate”, we celebrated his anti-corruption fight, even, if, it breached the law.
Many Nigerians saw his administration’s disobedience to the law as a necessary evil in the fight against corruption. They felt that the subordination of justice to order, while undemocratic, was tolerable extremism in a laudable crusade against this most hideous national monster. After all, had earlier German political philosophy and jurisprudence not subordinated justice to order? And had that most famous Black American leader, Martin Luther King Jr., not distinguished between kinds of extremism, when he wrote, “the question is not whether we (are) extremists but what kind of extremists we (are)” – a logical parallel – to Barry Goldwater’s famous proclamation, “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice”.
Analogously, we thought that extremism in extirpation of corruption is no vice.
However, with time, it crystallized to Nigerians that Buhari’s defiance to court orders were not motivated by the public good. They were natural penchants of an inveterate dictator. By four years into his presidency, his dictatorial bent was rattling the institutional moorings of Nigerian democracy: the independence of the judiciary was compromised; freedom of the press and free speech, stifled; peaceful protesters, arrested and detained indefinitely; and the authority of the legislature, weakened. Evidently, in perceptible gradations, the country is regressing towards a dictatorship.
The unconstitutional replacement of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, with Ibrahim Mohammed paved the way for the emasculation of judiciary independence. Onnoghen put up a despicable defense because he came to equity with unclean hands. His hands were soiled by glaring acts of corruption, including feigned amnesia: he “forgot” to include a significant portion of his assets in his assets declaration. According to legal experts and other observers, the new Chief Justice, Ibrahim Mohammed, is unqualified for the job and totally, clueless; he can only function as a malleable tool of the presidency. Not surprisingly, the travesties of justice recently emanating from the courts, especially, in election petition cases have been repulsively evident.
Disappointed by unfulfilled electoral promises, and roiled by encompassing economic misery, more and more Nigerians are driven to protest against the government. Despite the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Nigerians to peaceful protests, the Buhari administration suppresses peaceful protests. On August 3 2019, the Directorate State Security (DSS) arrested Omoyele Sowore. His only “crime” was planning to lead his group known as “Revolution Now” on a peaceful protest. Paradoxically, he was charged for treason. In its distastefully colorful parlances, the DSS accused him of “threatening public safety, peaceful co-existence and social harmony in the country” and calling for a revolution – “forceful overthrow of government”. He remains in jail, even, after perfecting his bail conditions. To call a planned peaceful protest a revolution because the protesters gathered under the auspices of “Revolution Now” is nauseatingly disingenuous. The word revolution in this context is hyperbolic; to define it literally, as forceful overthrow of a government is Machiavellian humbug.
With the increasing Machiavellianism – unscrupulous despotism – of the Buhari administration, we are witnessing increasing repression of the press (harassment and arrests of journalists) across the country. For example, a journalist, Agba Jalingo, for writing an article accusing Governor Benedict Ayade and the Cross River Micro Finance Bank of corruption, was arrested and charged for treason and disturbing the peace. He has remained in jail since August 22nd, 2019. And the security detail of Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo beat up a photojournalist, Abayomi Adeshida, and damaged his professional camera. In the words of the journalist, “I was shocked when the DSS started beating me for no reason. They tore off my accreditation tag, and dragged me on the floor while hitting and kicking me”. He was hospitalized.
In his inexplicable ingratiation of the president, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, scandalized Nigerians by stating the willingness of the senate to grant all the president’s requests. He said, “Any request that comes from Mr. President is a request that will make Nigeria a better place …and the senate will act expeditiously to” grant his request. It was a statement that impugned the independence of the senate. It cast the senate as an obsequious institution willing to pander to the whims and caprices of the president. Constitutionally, the senate is a formidable bulwark against presidential excesses.
The social media provides a superb forum for the governed to express, and the governing to appreciate, the prevailing moods and sentiments of the masses. If the Nigerian political class is committed to democracy and its attendant sensitivity and responsiveness to the legitimate aspirations of the people, it would have been enthused by the social media. But consumed in their cupidity and sordid ambitions and totally unconcerned with the plight and yearnings of the people they were elected to serve; the Nigerian power elite are weary of the social media. This is because it provides unparalleled spaciousness for free speech.
Uncensored, it gives voice to even the dregs of the society and places no one, irrespective of his status, above criticism and censure. It allows even the forgotten destitute, at the bottom of the economic ladder, to take swipes and haul insults at the rich, famous and powerful. In addition, it is a potent instrument for mobilization and coordination of mass protests. It is a redoubtable safeguard against despotism, and all forms of abuse of power. Not surprisingly, the Buhari administration wants to gag the social media. It is angling for legislative enablement to muzzle the social media.
The attacks on free speech and the whittling down of the independence of the judiciary and legislature reinforce Buhari’s dictatorial powers. However, his dictatorship will remain circumscribed by that bastion of free speech, the social media. It will take a successful suppression of the social media to complete Buhari’s dictatorial grip on Nigeria.
Tochukwu Ezukanma writes from Lagos, Nigeria. You can reach him via [email protected]
‘Let’s Face It, Aisha Buhari Is A Hypocrite’
Nigeria’s political landscape is filled with stakeholders who have mastered the art of selling unreal versions of themselves to the public. And that now seems to include Mrs Aisha Buhari.
Aisha stormed the scene dishing out unflattering scorecards of a government over which her husband presides. But the gusty wind now gives us a clear view of what the bird conceals beneath its feathers.
I recall I friend telling me President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term would unveil the true faces of prominent Nigerian politicians. Aisha Buhari’s seeming duplicity proves his point.
To start with, the First Lady apparently runs an office her husband vowed to abolish. In 2014, Buhari promised to do away with the office of the first lady because such office was not recognised by the Nigerian constitution. That “unconstitutional” office is currently occupied by a woman who insists that the president must keep his word.
In January 2015, Aisha said she would stand by her husband’s decision to abide by the rule of law should he be elected president.
“When my husband is elected as the president of this country, he will rule the country within the rule of law based on the constitution of the country,” she said.
“If the office of the first lady is constitutionally recognised, he will not tamper with it, but if it is not that’s okay.
“For me, I will perform my duties and role as the wife of the President of Nigeria traditionally,” she said.
But in 2018, President Buhari appointed 10 aides to the “Office of the Wife of the President” and that of the Vice President’s wife.
News of the appointments became public several weeks after Aisha started complaining of the way her husband was running the country, even accusing him of failing to fulfil his campaign promises (except the one regarding the office of the “First Lady”).
Aisha Buhari seemed to be the only voice of reason as one cabal like that “hijacked” Aso Rock in the absence of ailing president. Nobody could speak up in the Buhari government but this brave woman would not be silent. She would have her say.
Aisha was so fearless that, in October 2017 and hours after the All Progressives Congress (APC) officially declared Buhari its candidate for 2019 presidential election, she threatened to work against her husband and the ruling party.
She was apparently unhappy that someone she wanted near the seat of power couldn’t get a ticket to contest a local election.
“Given this development, one will not hesitate than dissociate from such unfairness, be neutral and speak for the voiceless,” Aisha said in a statement.
“It is important for the populace to rise against impunity and for voters to demand from aspirants to be committed to the provision of basic amenities such as potable drinking water, basic healthcare, education within conducive and appropriate learning environments.
“Let us vote wisely,” she said and, like the duplicitous politicians before her, won our impressionable hearts.
Aisha was so adamant about exercising her right to free speech that some members of the cabal she was at war with reportedly nicknamed her “Adamawa Bomber”.
It is this same Aisha that just told Nigerians to shut up and accept the (anti) social media bill that is before the Senate. The odd thing about that bill, which “they” say is designed to fight hate speech, is that it doesn’t even capture the definition of hate speech.
Madam First Lady, who unloaded on the Buhari government over its failure to provide healthcare, potable water and qualitative education for Nigerians recently went to Kogi State to beg the electorate to forgive and re-elect Governor Yahaya Bello – a state executive that was owing workers for 30 months.
Hypocrisy much, Madam!
Disclaimer: Author of this article is Anonymous. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Oriental Times or any employee thereof.