One prominent point that must be established at this crucial time in the political history of Nigeria is the clear fact that Nigeria’s major problem is the National Assembly – the House of Representatives and the Senate, whose members were elected from different parts of Nigeria, not just to pass bills but to also keep an eye on the possible excesses of the executive. This is in recognition of the doctrine of separation of powers and checks and balances. But are there checks and balances in present-day Nigeria? If I may be permitted a little liberty, I will return to this crucial question in due course as some of the issues I intend to raise will provide a fertile ground for any answer that will come forth.
After 22 years since Nigeria claimed to have embraced uninterrupted democracy, Nigerians should have learnt all through the journey that there is no such thing as democracy in their country, but this has even been worsened by the Buhari dictatorship, a desperate and dangerous regime which has strangled both the judiciary and the legislature so that the executive wield dictatorial powers with absolute recklessness knowing that other organs of government have been paralysed and safely squeezed into dictator Buhari’s pocket.
Dictator Buhari, whose repressive and anti-people regime is governed by fictional press statements whose existence he isn’t even aware of, has failed in the most spectacular fashion. He has failed to guarantee the protection of citizens, which is the primary objective of any responsible government. Section 14b of Nigeria’s Constitution provides as follows:
“The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.”
If the constitution by virtue of which dictator Buhari is recognised as “president” says the security and welfare of the people shall be the PRIMARY PURPOSE of government, why should the tyrant remain in power when he has failed to carry out the primary objective for which he was elected?
In fact, sections 17B and C of the constitution further provides as captured below:
(b)“The sanctity of the human person shall be recognised and human dignity shall be maintained and enhanced.”
(c)“Governmental actions shall be humane.”
There is nothing in the Nigerian Constitution that the Buhari dictatorship has not destroyed with its violent desperation to hold on to power by all means despite its historical incompetence after only few years in power.
Contrary to the provisions of the constitution, the sanctity and dignity of the human person are non-existent in a country where the killings of human beings no longer elicit the faintest of public outcry since it has become a norm under a regime that has no respect for human lives.
Although the Nigerian tyrant may have chosen the path cruelty and total abandonment of the duties for which he was elected, the blame is not entirely his.
At this point, I will now return to my earlier question on whether or not the doctrine of separation of powers truly exists in Nigeria’s democracy.
In democracies across the world, the legislative branch of government is so powerful that it is armed with all the tools with which to remove any burdensome and clueless president like dictator Buhari. But Nigeria operates a strange form of democracy, one which serves as the direct antithesis of America’s, where Nigeria copied its own democracy word-for-word but decided to practise same selectively.
The truth which need not be dressed in fanciful clothes is that dictator Buhari is a catastrophe and clearly has no plans to stop his kinsmen who hide under the veil of cattle rearing or Boko Haram to kill innocent people. But what is the role of the legislators in all of this?
Well, I have read numerous commentaries asking that Nigerian legislators commence impeachment proceedings to remove dictator Buhari from office, which is good for anyone who does not want the country to tear into tiny shreds. But I am sorry to say that this is not going to happen! Beyond the public drama of threats and whatnot, no Nigerian legislator will sincerely move or support a motion demanding the removal of dictator Buhari, before or even after Nigeria must have burnt to ashes, as they want it to. They don’t care. They are a group of bodyguards protecting their principal, and it doesn’t matter the magnitude of the crimes he commits.
The fraudulent imposition of Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila to lead the Senate and House of Representatives was a grand scheme by the executive to ensure absolute “security” for a disastrous president whose incompetence has never been in doubt. In fact, Nigeria’s senate president Ahmed Lawan confirmed this in November of 2019 when he said that any request that comes from dictator Buhari is good for Nigeria, and that he would not hesitate to approve same.
“I want to assure you that any request that comes from Mr President is a request that will make Nigeria a better place in terms of appointments or legislation and the Senate will act expeditiously to ensure that we play our part in the confirmation or passing of legislation appropriately.”
This is a dangerous remark for any democratic nation, where a president and his requests from parliament, some of which are fraudulent, are not scrutinised by members of that parliament. So, wherein lies the checks and balances that should be the strength of democracy?
Ahmed Lawan has kept his promise since 2019 when he declared it. For instance, when EFCC Chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa was recently sent to the National Assembly for the staged screening despite the heavy allegations of corruption hanging on his neck, was he not told to bow and go? When Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami was sent to the National Assembly for the staged screening, was he not told to bow and go? When military officers who supervised the Lekki Massacre retired when they desired, were they not compensated with ambassadorial appointments as dictator Buhari wanted? Who approved the over N18 trillion loan that presently threaten to drown the future of several unborn generations?
To be clear, it is a measure of our self-delusion that we can claim that present-day Nigeria under dictator Buhari is a democratic nation. It is not and will never be until he leaves! The men and women who occupy the National Assembly are actors whose principal role is to advance that deceptive impression. They are not working to advance the interest of Nigerians and Nigeria, but to protect their individual interests and that of an incompetent “president” who would have been kicked out by a serious parliament elsewhere.
Besides his first-class incompetence and his fascist reign, dictator Buhari is the most insecure man in the world. This is why to him and members of his insensitive regime, peaceful protests and criticisms are labelled an attempt to overthrow his disastrous regime. For instance, they have consistently said: #EndSARS protest is an attempt to overthrow dictator Buhari. #RevolutionNow protest is an attempt to overthrow dictator Buhari. #PantamiResign is an attempt to overthrow dictator Buhari. Protest against insecurity is an attempt to overthrow dictator Buhari. Anti-fuel hike protest is an attempt to overthrow dictator Buhari. Father Mbaka’s protest against insecurity is an attempt to overthrow dictator Buhari. IPOB demand for Biafra is an attempt to overthrow dictator. Shiites protest for the release of their leader is an attempt to overthrow dictator Buhari. Criticisms against killer herdsmen is an attempt to overthrow dictator Buhari. Bishop Kukah’s call for good governance is an attempt to overthrow dictator Buhari. Pro-democracy activities or conferences are an attempt to overthrow dictator Buhari. Criticisms against high cost of living, corruption, executive rascality, inflation, wretched economy, accumulation of foreign loans which are obtained and embezzled, high electricity tariff, electoral malpractice with the complicity of INEC, unemployment, human rights violations, etc are all attempts to overthrow dictator Buhari. Even this essay is an attempt to overthrow dictator Buhari.
Well, one can understand why dictator Buhari has remained insecure approximately 40 years after leading the coup d’état that led to the illegal removal of a democratically elected government of Shehu Shagari on December 31, 1983. This has given our tyrant the false impression that everyone else is a coup plotter – like him!
Terrorists and killer herdsmen attack, kidnap, destroy properties and kill innocent people on an hourly basis across Nigeria, but all that the man who claims to be president does is to sit inside the Presidential Villa like a statue whilst innocent people he swore under oath to protect die in their numbers. The National Assembly, now a group of errand boys and girls, look sheepishly at a clueless tyrant who has no legitimate right to continue his stay in office after failing so spectacularly in what is the most crucial responsibility of government.
More nauseating is dictator Buhari’s arrogance. In spite of the killings, terrorists invasion, daily abductions of innocent and law-abiding citizens, destruction of properties etc, dictator Buhari carries himself as though every other Nigerian is beneath him and therefore unworthy of his attention or explanations. So, his noisy media aides assume his role, releasing press statements and quoting dictator Buhari to have said this or that when the dictator isn’t even aware of saying any such thing. What this means is that Nigeria is the only country in the world where the president is a shadowy figure and where government is run by press releases. Sometimes it takes a protest before he addresses the nation via a recorded video, which is released only after it must have been thoroughly edited.
I am not going to beg members of the National Assembly to stop being errand boys and girls. They can continue to applaud the dictator whilst flames precariously gather to swallow up the country, and when everything is done, they will go to the ashes for their outrageous and illegal allowances.
Elias Ozikpu – protest writer, human rights activist, playwright, novelist, polemicist, citizen journalist, arch-enemy of the oppressors.