The method the federal government has chosen to run the country is beginning to generate nervousness and suspicion among many Nigerians. There is an increasing fear that the country may be gradually sliding into the kind of 1984 feral dictatorship if care is not taken.
Within the past three weeks, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has engaged in serious clampdown on officials that served under the immediate past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan over sundry alleged corruption or treasonable felony. Security agencies and anti-corruption agencies, especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, have suddenly become active.
It should be noted that the president had earlier praised the former president for his statesmanship, especially the role he played during the last general elections with a promise not to intimidate those who served in the last administration.
We, however, hasten to clarify that while we are not and will not condone any act of official malfeasances by any government officials; either serving or former, sweeping probe or investigations under such considerations should be defined by fairness across board. The rule of law and protection of the fundamental human rights of every Nigerian must apply accordingly. Interestingly, that is where we question the style of the current anti-corruption crusades of the present administration.
Homes and privacies of persons such as the immediate past National Security Adviser, Col. Dasuki Sambo (rtd) and former state governors belonging to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have been singled out for arrest and trial by security agents on purported ‘orders from above’.
For instance, last Friday, senators elected on the platform of the PDP led by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi representing Delta North Senatorial District have appropriately hit the nail on the head when they accused the EFCC of selective justice. According to the senators known as ‘PDP Like Mind Senators’, “Let us remind the EFCC that there are many leaders of the APC whose matter were well highlighted during the campaign period, yet the commission did nothing”.
Does that mean that there are no persons of questionable characters in the previous governments among those around the president and are even traveling with him all over the world?
Besides, the recent report credited to the president where he was quoted as saying that Nigerians cannot get equal share of governance since the result of the votes he got from across the regions are not the same in percent is worrisome. “I hope you have a copy of the election results. Literally, constituencies, for example, that gave me 97 per cent, cannot in all honesty be treated, on some issues, (the same way as) some constituencies that gave me five per cent. I think these are political realities. While certainly there will be justice for everybody; everybody will enjoy their constitutional rights, where the party in constituencies that by either sheer hard work made sure they got their people (to vote) and ensure their votes count, they must feel that the government has appreciated the effort they put in putting the government in place. I think this is really fair”.
If this statement is true, then there are reasons to be worried about the state of the nation under the present administration. Even though the president later tried to convince Nigerians that he would be fair to every segment of the country, he had already goofed. Such a statement ought not to have come out of his lips in the first place. President Buhari is a statesman and father of the nation, both to those who voted and for him and those who did not. Buhari is not a regional president; he is the president of Nigeria.
It is therefore a good statement when Buhari said he would not spare anyone found culpable, even if such persons comes from his ruling party, the All Progress Congress, APC. He should match action with words in order to give those in the opposition a sense of fairness.
Already, many observers have pointed out that the recent few appoints the president made so far have kind of confirmed this fear. We urge President Buhari to run an open and non-vindictive government in the interest of peace and stability. There should be equitable distribution of justice to all Nigerians, irrespective of regional, political, ideological, religious and ethnic differences. This is because the federal government is already seen by many Nigerians as creating divisions in the polity capable of derailing his government unless adequate care is taken in line with national interest.