Buhari and Nigerian Institutions

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Elempe Dele

In 2018, a group called the Buhari Support Organisation (BSO) led by the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Col Hamid Ali, visited Buhari at the State House in Abuja. Among them was the reckless loud mouth hustler, Lauretta Anochie. During the discussion with the inmates and slaves and sycophants and praise singers and bootlickers, Buhari said he didn’t know what those who are in the National Assembly are doing there, among other things said and unsaid.(Unsaid because he didn’t tell them if Babachir was already jailed or if Maina had been captured or if Abba Kyari has returned the MTN bribe money or if Baru has been accountable in the NNPC contract scam)

That sorry statement ny Mr. President can only emanate from a man who is ignorant and ‘unaware’ of the workings of the three arms of government. That’s how village illiterates talk about not knowing what people go to do in school ‘just to learn how to speak big big grammar instead of joining their parents in the farm.’

First, the political consequence of such a thoughtless statement is that the National Assembly, which is as important as any other arm of government, is demeaned beyond human imagination. It can only be compared to a woman denying maternity of her own child. With that careless statement, that institution has been debased below any consideration.

Secondly, as an ordinary farmer, I do not know if it is constitutional for a head of a paramilitary to be actively involved in politics as Col. Hamid Ali did by leading delegates of a campaign support group to the president that has turned our official institutions into domestic and traditional institutions. But for me, in my own opinion, it is morally wrong and must be condemned by all. No wonder, the EFCC boss, who is also a serving police officer, has become part of Buhari’s campaign team, which he openly displayed on ChannelsTv a while ago. That’s why the IG of police is employed to do dirty jobs by framing up critics of the government. That’s why court rulings are disregarded with all measures of impunity. That’s why all institutions are now appendages of the campaign organization; they are no longer answerable to the people except Mr. President.

We have seen so much of the unusual and impunity that we have become so insensitive. We are now mostly silent in the face of absolutism and perpetuating autocracy.

No doubt, as confirmed through history, the first steps towards authoritarianism is shackling institutions to become incapacitated, to become appendages instead of being independent. The judiciary has been incapacitated ( I don’t know if it would ever be incarnated) by creating an atmosphere of fear around it when some serving judges were jackbooted in their sleeps while still in their pants. Now, the National Assembly is being incapacitated by framing up and humiliating those who are against Buhari there, and using reckless statements to demean their importance. No wonder, the president could withdraw and spend monies from the national coffers without consent and approval from the National Assembly. Nothing happened and he is not impeached. A senator, from Edo State, who raised the issue at the hallowed chambers to remind his colleagues of the likely consequence of that criminal action was mobbed by paid thugs at the local airport in Benin. Up till today, none of the known culprit has been brought to book.

I hope we are watching, I hope we are insensitive enough not to notice this mesh, I hope we know where we are heading towards, I hope we know the initial signs of dictatorship, I hope we know we are almost in captivity, I hope we know we are teetering towards a festering destruction. I hope we would find our collective voice when the time comes.

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