By Bayo Oluwasanmi
Is Nigeria an evil empire? Yes! In my own opinion, President Muhammadu Buhari has turned Nigeria into evil empire. Since Buhari’s arrival in Aso Rock, the evidence that he has turned Nigeria into evil empire grows every day.
The barbaric clampdown on critics of Buhari’s evil regime makes Sani Abacha, Nigeria’s erstwhile brutal military maximum dictator, a ‘progressive democratic president’. Buhari as president in a democratic government has taken over all the three branches of government- executive, judiciary, and the legislature. He now controls all the three branches of government. Separation of powers, checks and balances have been completely wiped out.
Judges now wait on Buhari to write their judgment. The National Assembly has been pocketed. The legislators are as good as dead. The military and the police have become sniffing dogs for Buhari to hunker down critics of his evil rule.
Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare (Mandate) were abducted 100 days ago in the wee hours of the night in their hotel suites without warrant for being part of a peaceful protest tagged #RevolutionNow. Buhari ordered his secret police DSS to keep Sowore and Bakare in detection for 45 days without bail and without trial. At the expiration of 45 days in solitary confinement, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) the attorney for the duo petitioned the court for bail. Justice Taiwo Taiwo the presiding judge, granted the defendants bail. In his characteristic manner of defying court orders, Buhari directed DSS that the defendants should not be released.
Mr. Falana went back to court to seek order to compel the government to obey Justice Taiwo Taiwo’s bail order. Meanwhile, Buhari in his mischievous desperation to keep Sowore in detention, transferred the case to Justice Ojukwu. As expected, Justice Ojukwu didn’t disappoint Buhari. She granted Sowore and Bakare bail with conditions literally impossible for the defendants to meet. Again, Mr. Falana was back in court. He asked the court to relax the bail conditions. Justice Ojukwu agreed to liberalize some of the conditions. Yesterday, the full trial of trumped up charges of treason, money laundering, and insulting Buhari against Sowore and Bakare began in federal high court Abuja.
But the hearing didn’t go far because Buhari had directed DSS that government witnesses will testify with masks over their faces. As expected, Mr. Falana kicked against masked witnesses. Mr. Falana said he would not agree to “secret trial.” Masked witnesses? Only in a Zombie nation ruled by Zombie President and with Zombie citizens could that happen! Mr. Falana said all conditions for bail for his clients had been perfected and that they would be released yesterday. Justice Ojukwu approved the bail. But when Mr. Falana got to DSS office to secure the release of his clients, Buhari had instructed DSS not to release them. DSS explanation was the office had closed for the day. The case has been adjourned until December 5 and 6.
The violent violation of press freedom and rule of law by Buhari is an uncomfortable reminder of Decree Number 4. Decree 4 is a media-gagging rule imposed by Buhari when he was a military ruler. It criminalized the publication of “any message, rumor, report or any statement” that brought the government or any public officer “to ridicule or disrespect.”
Under Buhari, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) documented detentions, assaults, and harassment of the press. Jones Abiri, editor of the Weekly Source was detained without charge in 2016 and denied contact with his family or a lawyer for over two years. Samuel Ogundipe Premium Times reporter was detained and prosecuted for refusing to reveal a source. In 2017, four Nigerian journalists- Famous Giobaro desk editor with the state-owned Glory FM 97.1 in Bayelsa State, Lawrence Okojie of NTA in Edo State, Ikechukwu Onubogu a cameraman with Anambra Broadcasting Service, and Abdul Ganiyu Lawal a freelance broadcast journalist in Ekiti State were all shot dead by unknown gunmen.
In 2018, Tony Ezimakor the Abuja bureau chief of Daily Independent was arrested and detained by DSS for a week without charges. Chido Onumah on his arrival at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Abuja was whisked away by DSS for wearing T-Shirt with inscription “We Are All Biafrans.” The list is growing everyday.
It’s no secret that even before the end of his first term, Buhari has become deflated, depressed, paralyzed, powerless, and disillusioned about his own leadership. Here we have a president who lost the air in his sails because he has no vision, no purpose, and there is no progress. Leadership without visionary perspective is meaningless. Buhari should be reminded that brutality, despotism, and cruelty do not make a leader. A leader must give up the pursuit of wickedness and revenge. Buhari missed so many opportunities to define his core values as a leader. The example of a leader determines the experience of the people. A nation’s leadership determines the direction of the whole country. Now we know why Buhari is so handicapped to fight corruption and other problems facing the country.
Nigeria’s history of corruption is long and benighted. Why is the president so impotent in dealing with brood vipers of his administration? The scale and scope of graft on Buhari’s watch are unbelievable for a “government of change” supposedly led by a “man of integrity.” His administration serves as a repository for professional crooks, experienced rogues, and born-again thieves.
More evidence of grand-scale graft in Buhari’s administration continues to defy reasoning and explanation. In the face of all these graft and greed, the president is criminally quiet and self-possessed and maintains a starchy reserve. He’s never been outraged by the brazen crookedness of his cabinet members on corruption. His trajectory crusade against corruption has been jagged. Instead, he derives joy and satisfaction in arresting and jailing critics of his barbaric regime.
It bears repeating that Nigeria and Nigerians are going trough troubling times under the despicable, primitive, and oppressive Buhari. Buhari has taken away our freedom of press, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association Welcome to the newest evil empire of the 21st century!
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