It is doubtful if there is anything that has cast a slur on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari like the flurry of flak it has drawn locally and internationally for what has been described as its undying penchant for brazen disregard for court orders.
Say what you may about the imperfections of democracy, it is unarguably the best form of government given its core elements like the rule of law, citizen participation and political freedoms.
Little wonder many Nigerians gave their all, including paying the supreme sacrifice to terminate the noxious and barbaric long reign of the military. It was a feat achieved on the blood and sweat of patriots who defied bullets and lethal weapons to chase the military back to the barracks.
They had envisioned and desired to install a system of government that allows for political tolerance and respect for the rule of law. But alas, except one elects to live in a fool’s paradise, there is currently an unceasing assault on the rule of law in Nigeria. Lawlessness reminiscent of the jackboot era is the order of the day.
Sadly, there may not be an end in sight to the gross violation of the rights of Nigerians anytime soon. Now, the danger here is the fact that we have a presidency that either pretends not to know what constitutes an assault on the rule of law or innocently ignorant of what the rule of law entails. Whichever the case, Nigeria will ultimately be the loser as more critics of the failings of the Buhari government stand the risk of being charged with terrorism or treason, or even jailed perpetually.
Amidst the hue and cry about the scant regard for the rule of law, Buhari had recently revealed his worry about the tardiness of the democratic system of government, fuelling speculations about his preference for militocracy. Despite the president’s claim of being a converted democrat, it remains to be seen if such claim can stand scrutiny going by the notoriety his government has gained for lawlessness and human rights abuse.
Those who make feeble attempts to exonerate the president from the excesses miss the point. When the history of this era is written, it will be recorded that on Buhari’s watch, lawlessness blossomed and was fiercely defended by Buhari and his men on the phony pretext that national security takes precedence over the rule of law.
They must also be reminded that some of us are not too young or politically naive to be oblivious of the fact that leaders in this part of the world influence processes or actions through their flunkeys but throw their hands up to feign innocence.
As things stand, there appears to be an unwritten agreement among the ruling class to foster a climate of fear to effectively neutralise the resistance against the excesses of those in the power loop using state agents.
It behooves the civil society groups, the press and ordinary Nigerians to save Nigeria from repression by exploring every legitimate means to ensure our right to dissent is not killed. Our leaders are our employees, they should not be emperors.