Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
Crisis Of Tyranny
- A Monumental Collapse and Eclipse of Democratic Values
April 1, 2006
As one begins an X-Ray of the midwifery, birth, nurturing and inculcation of Democratic values in our body-politic, some dangerous and disturbing trends begin to manifest especially as the searchlight beams on His Excellency President Olusegun Obasanjo who hitherto remains the current tenant and occupier of Aso Villa, Abuja - Nigeria’s Seat of Government.
Political Philosophers and Scholars define Democracy as “Government of the people, by the people and for the people”. This entails the resting of De-facto Powers on the Citizens that constitute the Electorate. Such De-facto powers sacrosanct as they are consummate in the Sovereignty of the citizens of any given Nation State. This metamorphosis in the Supremacy of the Law as guaranteed by the Rule of Law.
“Everything I do now is to protect Nigeria’s interest and if that will cost me my life, so be it”.
The above veiled venom of perpetuity is credited to His Excellency President Olusegun Obasanjo in a determined resolve to unleash Machiavellian apparatus in a desperate attempt at crushing dissenting voices. This machination analytically remains a hallmark of this crisis of tyranny, authoritarianism and despotism.
A tendency to clinch on as Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces has thus thrown open an inordinate ambition deeply enmeshed in a bullish penchant for political intimidation. As the Zion train blazes through the existence of His Excellency’s allergy to opposition in whatever form throws to the wind any previous credential of trustworthiness and Transparency in Governance.
During his recent trip to the United States local and international pressure seem to be impacting positively as President Obasanjo told the VOA in response to a question over his tenure elongation bid that
"For now, it is not on the cards".
When queried in another interview by the Cable News Network (CNN) his Excellency had this to say,
"I am not a manoeuverer, I am not a manipulator. I am a democrat."
This volte-face and macabre dance predicted earlier in my previous article is a fallout from both local and international pressure. These responses still appear to be pregnant to a larger degree.They are not as categorical as Nigerians expected.However,Mr.President’s earlier response in the White House to President George Bush’s prompting over alleged Self Succession dream came closest to the anticipated categorical response.
The media in the White House reported that during the visit and following prompting from the U.S Commander-in-Chief on the third term brouhaha, Mr.George Bush -
" was reassured by President Obasanjo's candor in rejecting an extension of his current term even if approved by Nigerian lawmakers".
President Obasanjo reportedly told Americans that as a democracy, Nigerians are free to comment on the third term issue but that does not mean he harbors such plans.No doubt,as his visit continues,the Western Media will continue to extract more responses and all his Excellency’s statements shall be pieced together and used in evidence against him in the international court of public opinion.
While some may question whether President Obasanjo still qualifies to be profiled as a Democrat, others may query whether he has ceased being the leader of the “largest political party in Africa”. The present Executive Administration of our Federal Republic may deduce answers to these queries from a highlight and illumination of the following actions of Governance:
· The intimidation of political opponents using the state instrument of force and coercion as shown in the recent arrest of the 74 years old Lawal Kaita by the SSS coming barely 72 hours after police savagely disrupted the ACD rally in Dutse (Jigawa State) and the arrest of other leaders of the Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD). The political air as we speak is ridden with repression and muzzling of contrarian political voices.
Section 40 of our great constitution provides that:
“Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests.”
When Ex-Governor Ladoja of Oyo state was impeached in January 2006, Moshood Erubami, President of Oyo state chapter of the Campaign for Democracy, (CD) and others were arrested following a peaceful protest. Such peaceful protests oil and lubricate the engine of democratic culture; they definitely in no way pose a threat to National Security.
· The recent detention of a Printer on March 10,2006 by the State Security Service (SSS) is very disturbing as the nation begins to witness a slide towards a police state, authoritarianism and a despotic curtailment of civil liberties. Free speech, freedom of association and other Civil Liberties, are continuously being eroded. The crime the printer committed was to print copies of an anti-third term material written by a university professor.
· Politically motivated killings by the government or its agents, the use of excessive force to apprehend and disperse protesters as evidenced in the brutal attack of defenseless Nigerian women who protested against the malaise in the aviation industry. The ridicule exhibited by the claim of the police that the crowd was perceived as possibly likely to become violent is the height of executive mediocrity. May we go back memory lane and conjecture how Bola Ige, A.K. Dikibo, Harry Marshall and Chuba Okadigbo were murdered, all during Obasanjo’s regime and under his watch. Who killed these Nigerians? Answers are required as the passion begins to escalate.
· The report by Mr. Philip Alston a United Nations Special Rapporteur who visited Nigeria in 2005 has this to say,
“… there remain serious problems in relation to extra-judicial executions… widespread procedural irregularities, including the use of torture by the police to extract confessions; the lack of legal representation in capital cases, atrocious death row conditions and an unacceptable average twenty-year stay on death row”.
Ironically and incidentally too, President Obasanjo was sentenced to 25 years in prison in July 1995 by a Secret Military Tribunal for an alleged participation in a phantom coup attempt to overthrow the government of the late junta- General Sani Abacha.
· The just concluded Public Hearings to amend the Abubakar’s Constitution chaired by Senator Ibrahim Mantu is a direct obliteration of the inalienable rights of Nigerians. Citizens were denied their civic duties and responsibilities. Others were assaulted. arrested and detained by the police at venues earmarked for the hearing. Some Senators and federal lawmakers were refused entry into their constitutional place of work; the National Assembly, by the State Security Services (SSS) operatives. There offence was wearing anti 3rd term stickers . Is this not shameful and out-rightly despicable?. In an even playing field, will mere politically partisan stickers bite?. Reported also was the situation in Lafia, where the North Central geo-political zone public hearing took place, “one had to pass over 11 check points before one got to the venue of the event. Security agents turned a lot of people back; is that not a big joke? is that not a shame and an aberration?
· Following this despotic,fascist,and dictatorial culture in the country the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) President, Dr. Abdullahi Sule-Kano had this to say,
“The conspiracy going on to manipulate the constitution sponsored by the Presidency, for the purpose of extending the tenure of the President's office, is the height of contempt for democratic governance… ASUU wholly supports the NBA in its defense of the rule of law and democratic governance. ASUU urges all organizations that cherish democratic governance to support NBA and join the struggle to defeat the emergence of dictatorship in Nigeria ”.
The Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) a few weeks ago in a show of disgust at the wanton breach and disregard for the judicial process downed tools for two working days, the first of it’s kind that I can remember in recent political history.
· When in 1999 President Obasanjo marshaled out Nigerian soldiers to annihilate, obliterate.and the ethnic cleansing of Nigerian Citizens in the ill-fated Odi Massacre in Bayelsa state, some pleaded that he should be tolerated since Democratic culture was still under tutelage; today, rather than the much toothed dividends of Democracy, Nigerians remain at home and alive with this mass of Olusegun Obasanjo’s Dictatorial Octopus veiled and clad in a very deceptive Democratic civility.
· The kidnapping of Ex-Governor Chris Ngige of Anambra State supervised by now inglorious Tafa Balogun (Obasanjo’s man Friday) has refused to go away from our psyche. Even the recent enthronement of justice by the swearing in of Mr. Peter Obi as the legitimate Governor of Anambra state will not in any way stop the clamor for the prosecution of the self confessed rigger and President Obasanjo’s in-law Chief Chris Uba.The Presidency has failed to get Uba arrested by the Police and prosecuted by the Attorney General of the Federation. Not until Uba is put behind bars, and not until his crude oil blocs are withdrawn and, he is removed as PDP’s Board of Trustee member, the Godfather Syndrome will continue to blossom under Obasanjo’s watchful eyes.
· Within his ruling party the PDP,President Obasanjo has systematically eliminated all credible opposition to his Machiavellian project of political aggrandizement, fraudulent conversion, and Self-actualization. One political commentator had this to say
“I have never heard of a party that woke up one morning and deregistered all of his members. You call people to revalidate their membership and not to deregister them. The trick was to make sure some people do not come back. It was too cleaver but too cheap…?”
· When one critically looks at the President’s consistent attempts at re-engineering of Plateau State’s Governance since the ill-fated State of Emergency, one begin’s to unravel strict Machiavellian disposition as his Excellency attempts all forms of imaginary paradigms in an attempt to truncate and jeopardize governance in one of the hitherto peaceful states in our Political Geography. We remain keen observers of the Presidency’s political roller-skating in Plateau state, stomping one political group against the other with the sole aim of achieving his end result no matter the means used in attaining such primordial goals; it does not matter whether civil servants in the state receive their monthly emoluments or not. The end justifies the means no matter how ruthless these means might be.
Let us not misconstrue this to a suggestion of a clean bill of health for Governor Joshua Dariye, however, a nation that is governed by laws must be seen to allow every law and I mean every law take it’s due course via Due Legal Process. This is a quintessence of a Democratic Culture; a prerequisite that all Democrats have no choice but to obey. Ten years as Commander-in-Chief Mr. President is still a student of Democratic Studies. He is still learning the curves of Civil Governance. What a brilliant student he is.
· The withholding of Statutory Funds meant for Residents of Lagos State remains a shining case of this Crisis of Tyranny. Let his Excellency realize that Beneficiaries of the allocation being with-held are Lagosians; Governor Bola Tinubu is one out of the near 13 million residents of Lagos.
· Also the shameful closure of the Bayelsa Radio Station typifies anachronistic fascist manoeuvre. The brutality meted out to 10 journalists by the police who covered the Peoples Democratic Party meeting in Abuja is another sordid example of flagrant violations of civil liberties.
"A climate of political intolerance and repression has assumed a new and frightening dimension”,
as the Federal Government only recently closed down Freedom Radio in Kano.Freedom Radio is alleged to have broken the NBC communications code, especially as it concerns Political Programs and Live Talk Shows. The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), has directed that Freedom Radio, Kano, suspends broadcasting forthwith, between 5p.m. and 10p.m. daily, knowing that that was the period when political and people-oriented programs are produced and aired. In addition, the station was fined N200,000.00 to be paid within 48 hours, failing which its license will be revoked. The NBC also banned the station from airing political programs.
· The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is an invaluable unit and it’s positive activities remain welcome by law abiding Nigerians, however, there is no need to use the (EFCC) to harass Governors or Nigerian Citizens who do not hero worship President Obasanjo.Using this instrument of state coercion to freeze Governor Orji Uzor Kalu’s campaign and personal funds is ludicrous and unacceptable. The same goes for the freezing of Plateau State’s Bank Accounts. These activities by the federal government are criminal. When one applies Common Law Legal System both in Nigeria and elsewhere, individuals and organization’s Banking Instruments enjoy the full protection of the law.
“Property rights ensure that government cannot arbitrarily take away a person's property (whether corporate or individual), without due process of law, or a full judicial process,"
Is it a crime for a Nigerian citizen to aspire to the Presidency of one's own country?. Is it a crime to create employment opportunities by operating an airline? Is it equally a crime for a Nigerian citizen to own majority shares in the distressed Hallmark Bank that equally employed many Nigerians? Does President Obasanjo’s assault on Governor Orji Kalu not tantamount to a systemic elimination of unfavorable elements for the 2007 presidential race? The fear of populist opposition precipitated the Presidency’s misadventure on the person of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu over a phantom allegation that the Igbo leader was masterminding the operations of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).This pitched the State Security Services (SSS) against Chief Ojukwu.The continued detention and prosecution of a non-violent MASSOB Leader Chief Raph Uwazuruike for treason is one such example of the abuse of dictatorial instruments of state power.
Nigerians previously had to live under dictatorships of Jack Yakubu Gowon, Murtala Mohammed, Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida, Sanni Abacha, and Abdusalam Abubakar with President Obasanjo being the only junta to have graduated to the campus of Presidential Democracy. This mandate was re-knewed in 2003. For 11 years out of the Nigeria’s 46 years checkered political history, General Obasanjo has spent more time than any other in both Dodan Barracks and Aso Villa combined thus finding it difficult to quit.
Mr. President, Nigerians do not want you to get used to the Villa environment for too long so as to avoid a life presidential project with it’s attendant fascist,authoritarian,despotic and Machiavellian Crisis of Tyranny.
© 1999 - 2006 Segun Toyin Dawodu. All rights reserved. All unauthorized copying or adaptation of any content of this site will be liable to legal recourse.
Segun Toyin Dawodu, P. O. BOX 710080, HERNDON, VA 20171-0080, USA.
This page was last updated on 10/27/07.