By Jude Ndukwe
A statement issued recently by one Taiwo Olatunbosun, the Ekiti State Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), labeling the governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, a threat to national security because of the governor’s statements and posture to the leadership style of the Buhari-led federal government is not only ridiculous and hypocritical, it is risible and shocking. It goes a long way to further prove the well known fact that this government is not only intolerant of dissenting views, it would do all and anything to quell them even if it means applying “extreme measures” against vocal individuals and institutions of the opposition.
In a democracy where the Akwa Ibom State government house was invaded by security agents with much bravado and recalcitrance, claiming to have found a cache of arms and stockpiles of dollars there without any evidence to show for it till tomorrow, is the real threat to democracy and our nation.
A situation where Mr Kayode Are, former Director-General of the DSS, and his family, were forcefully and violently evicted by men of the DSS under the leadership of Lawal Daura despite a subsisting court order to the contrary, is the real threat to our democracy and national interest.
A country where court orders are flagrantly disobeyed and bails granted by competent courts of our land are denied the beneficiaries contrary to the rule of law and the norm in a democracy just because the president and his security agents wish so, is the real threat to our society. Fayose is not.
A situation where judges and justices of even the Supreme Court are freely and blatantly insulted, intimidated, harassed, embarrassed, wrongly accused just because they decide to uphold the tenets of truth and justice irrespective of even if the ruling party’s ox is gored, is what is the threat to our nation. Fayose is not.
A situation where the much mouthed anti-corruption war is waged only against members of the opposition party, perceived political enemies and vocal activists, while those who belong in the ruling party are rewarded with exalted appointments, is what is threatening our democracy and nation.
Since May 29, 2015, elections conducted have had their results continuously and deliberately declared inconclusive as a strategy of attempting to manipulate the process to favour the APC and their candidates. This is what is threatening our national security. The excessive militarization of the processes and its attendant violence orchestrated by self-empowered state actors from Aso Rock as were the cases in Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers States, are the real threats to our nationhood.
When harmless men stage peaceful protests in other democratic climes, the worst that could be used against them for the purpose of dispersing them is water cannon, or rubber bullets in extreme situations, but in Nigeria and under President Buhari, the military embark on the sickening rambunctious but unenviable revelry of murdering defenceless protesters as were the cases with IPOB members in Aba and Onitsha recently!
The same fate befell the Shiite Muslims who had hundreds of their members who are also citizens of the Federal Republic and whose rights especially to life were guaranteed and protected by our constitution cut down in a carefree shooting spree. About four months after that incident, the leader of the Shiites who was humiliatingly wheeled away in a pool of his own blood, is still being held by security agents and like many others, denied access to his family and or associates. If he has done anything wrong against the state, he is yet to be charged, and even if he is charged and the courts grant him bail even with stringent conditions, the most likely thing to happen is that he would still not be released should he meet his bail conditions. It is a norm with this government. Ask Nnamdi Kanu, ask Sambo Dasuki, ask others!
These, coupled with the speedily deteriorating state of the socio-economic fabric of the nation that has led to the worst power situation and fuel crisis, inflation etc we have experienced in decades, are what have given rise to the equally worsening security situation in our country today.
Governor Fayose is only being courageous to say what every Nigerian knows but is afraid to say. Just like Okonkwo said in Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”, we cannot continue to reason like cowards. “If a man comes into my hut and defecates on the floor, what do I do? Do I shut my eyes? No! …These people are daily pouring filth over us, and Okeke says we should pretend not to see”.
You invaded the hallowed chambers of the Ekiti State House of Assembly and indiscriminately arrested some of the members, keeping one of them incommunicado for eighteen good days despite the action being against the constitution and a court order to the contrary, only for the security agents to release Hon Afolabi Akanni after having become so ill he could die in their custody. Yet, the APC want Fayose to keep quiet about these injustice and many others because we have a man who must not be talked to as president? What nonsense!
Let me remind Taiwo Olatunbosun and his co-travellers that contrary to their belief, Fayose is not alone in this struggle against dictatorship. A majority of Nigerians deeply appreciate the role Fayose is playing and align themselves with him. They see him as their new-found hero. They see him as one of the very few men who are courageous enough to this administration’s dictatorial tendencies.
Fayose has become the beacon of light in a nation caught and overwhelmed by the preponderance of sudden darkness. He and Chief Femi Fani-Kayode have always warned that nothing good could come out of an APC administration. At that time, some Nigerians saw these two men as rabble-rousers, but less than a year into the life of this administration, the two men are now seen as heroes, every of their predictions about Buhari’s syle of leadership coming to pass, regrettably.
Fayose is not the threat to our nation. Those who are threats to our nation are those who rode to power on the flapless wings of sophistry and are maintaining that power even with more sophisticated mendacity mixed with brute force. Those are the ones who are a threat to our nation, and they are the ‘change’ agents parading themselves as ‘chain’ agents that they truly are.
If the APC does not retrace its steps of hounding opposing figures, their weakness would soon graduate to wickedness, and like every dictator, their end is not only imminent but also greatly unpleasant. They must learn to engage citizens fruitfully and constructively. They should focus on governance and bother less about those who are serving them the same dose of opposition they served the Jonathan administration.
People like Fayose can never be a threat to governance; they can only be a threat to dictatorship!
Ndukwe, wrote from Abuja. Vanguard