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Your Lordship, Mr. President Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Steve, United Kingdom Mar 1, 2006
Human Rights   Opinions
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We all played our parts in the current political system existing in our country, Nigeria, today. While some may consider themselves the sole or principal architects of this system, the present writer is not concerned with such disputation herein. My present concern, and a crucial one for that matter, is with the existing political system that I have refrained in this article from categorizing as “democracy” herein.

A careful, not necessarily academic, investigation would easily reveal the rationale for my reluctance. What we have in Nigeria at the moment is akin to rulership in a kingdom. In political parlance, it could conveniently be termed dictatorship, neo-authoritarianism or ‘pseudo-militocracy’. I shall not engage myself in trying to find a justifiable basis for the present political system in Nigeria, as that is not of the moment here.

The pertinent issue that is completed for the present address is the manner in which Nigeria is being ruled, and what this may most likely portend for the immediate future. When the present President of our country, Nigeria, assumed that position in May 1999, many of us were most excited and believed that the development would augur well for the country –I, particularly—especially when we considered his direct antecedent, who was not so dissimilar to that of the revered former President of South Africa, Dr. Nelson Mandela.

Obasanjo talked of how he has been renewed into a better man in the personality of a Christian. Honestly, not a few of the electorate were swayed by that idea. But lo and behold, the picture has been repainted in—doubtless—everyone’s conception of Obasanjo, few years thereafter! What sort of a President do we have in Nigeria now - a leader or a ruler?

Personally, I am disappointed to admit this—having previously reposed some trust in him concerning Nigeria’s future—but the undiluted truth is that we have not a leader, but a ruler as our President in Nigeria. A leader is one who embodies the wishes and aspirations of ‘his people’. He “leads” them in what they advocate, or what their “popular” interest/demand is.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have a ruler who ‘rules’ his supposed people, irrespective of the people’s interests or demands. This latter paradigm represents Obasanjo’s current rule in Nigeria. In Obasanjo’s view, the people’s desires or interests have no place, or rather, should coincide with what he decides.

Without going into the merits or otherwise regarding the issues involved in some instances of Obasanjo’s display of his dictatorial whims, but for purely analogical purposes, let us reflect on the situation concerning Major Hamza El-Mustapha, Alhaji Asari Dokubo, Nwazurike, DSP Alamieyeseigha, Dr. Fasheun, Gani Adams and others . We all, I should expect, desire a united, corruption-free and prosperous Nigeria. But we will not achieve this by selective and vindictive “justice”.

The way Obasanjo is headed, he is going to create relative peace for his rulership and leave the country in turmoil at the expiration of his rule –yes, I heard you. But believe this (if it is the only thing you will believe), Obasanjo will leave, dead or alive.

Our ‘ruler’ does not tolerate opposition; he is impatient with trouble-makers; dialogue or compromise is alien to him; and he picks on those he perceives as troubling his reign, keeping them behind bars. There is a simple, peremptory solution! Please, disregard whatever ruse he employs through his various agents and agencies —legislators, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and so on. We know his antics extend to the judiciary; but if you allege a man has contravened the law, let him be tried and judged in a court of “law”, for goodness’ sake.

But, Obasanjo will not do the above, will he? No. These people are there because he perceives them as threats, or opposition to his rule. Or, does he mean to tell us that Sani Abacha’s family and ‘boys’ are the only living people who have committed the same societal ills and crimes that this particular set were/is persecuted for? Oh, it is alright, IBB is his friend (if you think IBB is guilty, then you have to produce the facts yourself, do not expect EFCC or Obasanjo’s ‘usual’ sources to avail you). Or, was/is Alamieyeseigha the only looter of public funds in government? If Obasanjo feels or felt so embarrassed by his shameful act, why has the man not been released to come and face the charges against him in the Southwark court, London? How come EFCC only chases and harasses those who do not dance to Obasanjo’s tune? Now, Obasanjo has done it again in Oyo State –the removal of Rashidi Ladoja.

Another ramification of Obasanjo’s rulership was the ludicrous tourism commercial he has on world television. I hope some of you have seen the shamefully embarrassing advertisement “our” President has on satellite Television in the UK. The man (personally!) is shown saying, “welcome to Nigeria, the heartbeat of Africa”, as if we do not have qualified people in charge of that aspect of tourism in Nigeria (or outside). Correct me if I am wrong, but he is the only President in the world personally doing such commercials. Does he think Nigeria is his house or kingdom?

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Barr. Stephen Edetanlen is a legal practitioner from Nigeria, currently living in London. He acquired his DSW, LLB and BL from Nigeria. He, also, holds an LLM in International Law from London. He has a passion for contemporary global legal issues and practising law. Many of his written online opinions can be found on his website www.steveinitiate.fusiveweb.co.uk. He likes an intercontinental life, and does not wish to confine himself to a particular country.
By the grace of God, he is a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He presently ministers to the Lord's flock in London.
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