Have Nigerian lives lost meaning under Buhari?

By Sunny Igboanugo on 20/12/2015

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El-Zakzaky

My ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. These were the words, which signposted the attitude of former President, Goodluck Jonathan’s official and public disposition to politics throughout his residency in the Aso Rock Villa, particularly in his last days and more particularly, during the election that saw him booted out of office.

Of course, the jury is still out on, not only how he gave direct effect to this statement, but how his political fortunes and or misfortunes, took its course from it, given the diverse and divergent interpretations it has been subjected to.  

There are those, for instance, who see this attitude as part of his weakness and cluelessness, which a President, particularly, an African President, should never harbour, not to think of adopting. It is simply not African for a President not to shake some people in order to remain in power. A snake must act like one, else, children would use it to tie firewood, they stress, most fervently.

For many of the events in which his enemies had taunted and obviously dared him to action, some had expected the Odi or Zaki-Biam example of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo days, to protect his presidency.

Not only was there not such an extreme case, but there were no sad events similar to Bola Ige, Aminisoari Dikkibo, Harry Marshal, Funso Williams, for which Prof. Wole Soyinka’s depicted then Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as harbouring a nest of killers.

Yet, on a more serious and perhaps, sinister note, some argue also that had he acted like his peers in Africa, he would have wiped Boko Haram, their patrons and progenitors off the surface of the earth before the phenomenon developed limbs and grown into such a huge monster.

On the flipside, some posit that it is because of this “meekness” that the enclave called Nigeria is still intact today and not gone the way of Burundi or worse still, South Sudan. Had he replicated Odi or Zaki Biam, which he had ample and good reasons to at various points, particularly when he was physically attacked, in Katsina, Bauchi and Damaturu, during his campaigns, just to prove the Strong President stature, Nigeria might be telling a different story today.

Of course, the icing on the cake in this regard, was the manner he threw in the towel, in the presidential contest, when the country was practically on the edge, with the likes of Godsday Orubebe, already gathering the petrol to ignite the fire, that might still have been burning till date.

Slain IPOB members

Now, it is not that the former president did not have his own dose of impunity, the major affliction of African leaders. In fact, if anyone were to join the group that sees him as clueless, ample evidences abound.

For one, he practically murdered sleep the moment he decided to contest the 2011 presidential election in disregard to the zoning arrangement of his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Nobody has ably adduced a convincing evidence otherwise that, that singular decision was not the beginning of his eventual failure. Not with the sworn determination by those who eventually vanquished him, to make the country ungovernable.

It is a pity that those who goaded him into that terribly fatal decision, including the Aremu of Ota, apologies, Theophilus Danjuma, are now his greatest enemies, basking in his failure whist brushing off the obvious vicarious responsibility they deservedly share.

Add this to the early signs of his vendetta, such as exhibited against Chief James Ibori, former Governor of Delta State, who, taken as a sworn enemy, purely for primordial personal animosity, was virtually hounded out of the country into the hands of his jailors.

 

Till date, nobody seems to have produce evidence of how that totally wasted venture has impacted positively to any meaningful Nigerian project, apart from providing sport for the white man and bespattering other Nigerians with the paintbrush of infamy, as criminals not fit to enjoy equal dignity and respect with the rest of mankind.

Add it to the way he took out Vincent Ogbulafor, former National Chairman of the PDP, for daring to infer that the zoning arrangement must remain in the party, Ayo Salami, former President of the Court of Appeal, for supposedly procuring judgements for then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Timipre Sylva, former governor of Bayelsa State, ostensibly to please his missus or Rotimi Amaechi in the neighbouring Rivers State for the same purpose. Clearly, the former President was never a saint.

But his supposed infractions in office pale into insignificance side by side with what the country is witnessing today in terms of the scandalous and utterly discomfiting wastage of human lives.        

Since the change of guards at the seat of power, it is no longer the dreaded Boko Haram that Nigerians now have to contend with, but a totally new phenomenon of security operatives turning their weapons against the civilian populace in apparent rabid desire to establish a new sheriff coming to town mantra, being bandied everywhere.

The attempt to drive home this point, in the last fortnight or so, has been as disastrous as it is disturbing.

At a point when the Nigerian police was about to have its cap decorated in beautiful feathers as an institution that has amply learnt and imbibed internationally recognised best practices, in the way its personnel conducted themselves during the pro-Biafra agitations in parts of the country, the entire essence was destroyed by the shooting, killing and maiming of scores of defenceless and the usually unarmed protesters in Onitsha. It did not matter that these youths, among whom could be the inventors or economic brains with the talisman for the transformation of Nigeria into the giant of many peoples’ dreams, were actually demanding the release of their leader, as ordered by a competent court of the land. It did not matter that by ignoring the court order and keeping that leader in detention, a vital foundation to and requirement of a modern society – respect for the rule of law, was being destroyed. What mattered was perhaps the abiding message that nobody must ever poke a finger in the eyes of a king. Pity.

Few days after, it was the turn of Zaria, Kaduna State, where personnel of the Nigerian Army turned the nozzles of their guns towards a crowd of religious worshippers killing many in what seemed a sheer replication of the Chinese Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.

Now, assuming the victims in these two incidents brought the calamity on themselves for provoking the soldiers and caused them to act in anger and self-defence, as many argue, what could justify the follow-ups?

In the case of Kaduna, the rampaging soldiers were to return the next day to invade the headquarters of the Shiite sect, unleashing a far worse ferocious brutality, in attempt to arrest their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

Less than one week after, another gory report detailed how soldiers shot and killed about five unarmed youths in Onitsha, who were celebrating the order for the release of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by a Federal High Court in Abuja.

However, the gorier part was that the raging soldiers, apparently unsatisfied with this mayhem, returned the next day and began to comb hospitals to take away the wounded to undisclosed destinations. Now, what could be gristlier?

If this is not a pointer to an ominous future for Nigeria, one nurtured and groomed on the fertile soil of dictatorship and fascism, why must recourse to guns be the first option of Nigerian security operatives in the engagement with, especially unarmed civilians? What are the place of rubber bullets, tear-gas, pepper sprays, hot water and other riot control mechanisms? Why must the President particularly, keep silent at this time?

What would have happened if he was Jonathan that was physically chased and attacked by irate youths in Katsina, Bauchi and even bombed in Kebbi? Would the fate of Hiroshima and Nagasaki been visited on them?

Granted that Jonathan is not a soldier and may shudder at the sight of blood. But must we decorate our land with so much blood? Is this part of the change? Have Nigerian lives lost meaning under Buhari?      

 

Source Whirlwindnews.com

Posted on December, 20 2015

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