Buhari is the custodian of
Nigeria’s democracy. He may
also be the greatest threat
facing that nascent democracy.
The pillars of democracy are
individual freedoms, rule of
law, people’s involvement in the
decision making process either
directly such as in referendums,
or petitions or indirectly through
their elected representatives.
Any other form of governing
that is not built on these pillars is
not democracy. I am afraid that
this administration is moving
away from these fundamental
Take the case of Nnamdi
Kanu. All the principles have
been violated. The leader of
Indigenous People of Biafra,
IPOB, was arrested and
charged to court. The court
with jurisdiction ruled that he
be immediately released. The
Department of State Services,
DSS, that arrested him held on
to him, thereby violating the
principle of the Rule of Law. An
appeal court reached the same
verdict but nothing came from
The alleged villain has
since declared that he has no
confidence in obtaining justice
in Nigerian courts. Who can
blame him? The government
has since been shopping for a
friendly judge and searching
for criminal activities to bring
against him. In other climes you
observe that a crime has been
committed, then you conduct
an investigation to identify the
culprit and arrest him/her and
then you charge him/her to
court. Under PMB the opposite
is done: get a culprit, charge him
to court and then conduct any
investigation to find what crimes
may have been committed. This
is too complicated.
May be a simpler case is that
of firing Vice Chancellors. It
takes about 40 years to become
a president of a university from
birth to primary schools, to
high schools to undergraduate
and graduate schools to post
doctorate education and writing
and publishing. University
president are highly skilled
personnel and recruiting one
takes a minimum of 18 months
search. And when found, they
are valued and given tenure
which is assurance that they
would not be relieved of their
duties on flimsy excuses. The
purpose of tenure is to assure
that they can speak freely and
write freely. Their loyalty is to
the institution that hired them
and to the pursuit of learning even heretical learning. I am
not aware of any place or time
when an entire class of university
presidents were retrenched. And
just in the same breath another
batch were conscripted and put
in place. We are not making a car
on an assembly line. We should be
looking for “fitness for a particular
purpose.” That is reason it takes
18 months to find a match. A Mr.
Aluko may be good at Otueke but
not for Ibadan or Nsukka even
though they are all universities in
In the case of VC’s we have also
the abuse of laws and contracts.
And humane touch. I do not know
the details of the contracts of these
VC’s but I expect that during their
performance evaluations there
would be indications that their
contracts would not be renewed
because of poor performance. But
given the surprise they display
and the protest from their unions,
one gets the impression that
this process was not followed.
If the sacking was reckless the
replacement is even more reckless.
It is not sufficient to check the
academic degrees of an individual
the fitness for a particular purpose
must be taken into account.
The case of VC’s too is getting
too complicated.
Consider the case of Directors
Generals of government
corporations. At one fell swoop
25 of them were asked to clear
their offices. DG’s case and VC’s
case and Nnamdi Kanu’s case all
have one thing in common. You
get the person/people and then
start searching for the crimes they
might have committed. We get
the information that these senior
officers have been relieved of their
job and sometime in the future
we will hear why. In the interim
rumours, gossips, speculations,
and innuendos will be used to
ruin their reputations. These
would make it difficult for them
to resume their previous jobs or
find new ones. Except for those
who had been entrenched in their
past positions, others would be
asked the inevitable question: why
did you leave your latest position.
They would probably reply that
their contracts ended to which the
interviewer would add “and it
was not renewed?” This rejoinder
is a code.
The implications of these PMB
moves are grave for the individuals
involved and perhaps worse for
The potential replacements
for the “sacked” officers will
realize that their fate is tied to the
success of this administration as
strong possibilities exist that any
incoming administration would
follow PMB’s footstep. With this understanding they will do
whatever is necessary to keep the
administration going for ever. Not
just those immediately impacted
but those who managed to escape
the axe this time. Election rigging
cannot be a stretch. One can see
why some political leaders do not
give up the presidency in many
African nations. The consequences
are too grave for them and all who
served under them. It is possible
that GEJ might be regretting
getting out without a fight. His
people are paying huge prices for
having worked for him. They may
feel betrayed.
People who are truly qualified
and secure in their current posts
would be less eager to accept
offers to come home and serve.
Dr. Kenneth Dike was the head of
the Institute of African Studies at
Harvard, a very prestigious and
secure position when he left it to
become the president of Anambra
State University of Technology
As for the direct victims
of power gone amok, they
should chock it up as another
experience. Those who are
not too traumatized should
consider the experience still
useful: their motherland called
and they answered. That is the
highest level of patriotism.
Nigeria must go forward.
If there are some who have
PMB’s ears they should caution
him on absolute powers and
its corruptive tendencies; that
riding roughshod over the
constitution is never a good
thing; that temporal powers are
just that: temporal. There will
be other presidents in the future
and that he should try to not
set a bad example for there is
measure for measure; and that
man’s inhumanity to man is a
dead end.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba is a
public affairs commentator
(now ESUT + Unizik) under
Governor Jim Nwobodo. If this
condition existed then he would
have chosen to retire from Harvard
and stay in Cambridge while
Nigeria suffers. There are many
Dike’s around the world now who
cannot be attracted back to PMB’s
Nigeria. In which case only those
who are desperate would apply.
Brain drain continues.
A good servant must be bold to
tell the king that the king has no
clothes on. But if he thinks that
he might pay a huge price for his
honesty he might chose to go along
to get along. This is the risk PMB
is running. Loyalty to him might
supersede loyalty to the country. It
was rumoured that after the 2015
election that some of the GEJ’s
ministers including Ms. Ngozi
Okonjo-Iweala advised GEJ to
concede to PMB. Under the present
environment PMB may not get
such advice and Nigeria would be
the worse for