Nigeria: A country divided under President Muhammadu Buhari – a unifier needed

July 7th, 2019

By Prof. Chiweyite Ejike

Alienation of fellow-feeling

Our dear country Nigeria is being choked by divisions at a level never experienced before the coming of President Mohamadu Buhari in May 29, 2015. This derives essentially from alienation of fellow-feeling among large segments of the population caused by President Muhamadu Buhari’s:

a. unfair favouritism of his own Fulani ethnic group,

b. Undue identification with his own section of the country, namely the Northern Nigeria.

c. And his passion to uphold the supremacists’ pretentions of the Islamic Religion throughout the country by means of Jihad.

The foregoing factors illuminate the search for our understanding of the actions, utterances and postures of President Muhamadu Buhari since May 29, 2019 such as:

i. President Muhamadu Buhari has thoroughly jettisoned the principle of inclusiveness in making strategic appointments especially in the security sector where nearly all the appointees came from the Northern Region, many of them from President Muhamadu Buhari’s village, Daura and the vast majority of holders of these strategic appointments are Muslims, as if the country belongs to his favoured groups alone.

ii. Available evidence derived from President Muhamadu Buhari’s utterances, postures and actions points to his identification with Fulani interests in the matter of the herdsmen menace which has resulted in mass killings and massacres of thousands of people, sacking of villages and occupation of ancestral lands going on in Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Kaduna, Nassarawa, Kogi, Kwara, Adamawa, and Enugu states among others. It would appear that the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association enjoys the patronage and support of President Muhamadu Buhari.

iii. It is public knowledge that President Muhamadu Buhari, a Fulani as well as a cattle breeder himself, is the patron (or grand patron) of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, an organisation known by its statements on the media to be responsible for the killings of hundreds of persons and destructions of property by the Fulani herdsmen. It is therefore not surprising that no actions were taken by the Federal Government against the militia herdsmen by proscribing that body as a terrorist organization or against its leadership by arrest or prosecution.

iv. By President Muhamadu Buhari’s patronage of Miyetti Allah, he has “put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities as President and Commander-in-Chief” in breach of the provisions in paragraph 1 of the Code of Conduct and his Oath of Office, which is an impeachable offence under section 143 of the Constitution, taken concurrently with section 172 of the Constitution

v. A group of Northern Youths that went by the name of “Arewa Youths Coalition” had served a quit notice to Ndiigbo to leave the Northern Nigeria by 1st October, 2017. This group had followed up the quit order by hate speeches and songs which they produced and marketed far and wide. This irresponsible action by the Arewa group, an expensive act of rascality was met by an equally reckless and lawless act of quid-pro-quo by the Niger Delta Avengers to northerners to leave the south within three months. These detestable acts which threatened the co-operate existence of our country amounted to treason against our Constitution as well as represent acts of terrorism. All these and many more ominous events which threaten the co-operate existence of Nigeria occurred under the watch of the Commander-in-Chief and were only possible from a reading of President Muhamadu Buhari’s body language by which the perpetrators felt protected because they were certain of the inability or unwillingness by the Federal Government under President Muhamadu Buhari to invoke the law against them.

vi. Regrettably, the policies and style of leadership of President Mohamadu Buhari would appear to have re-enforced the unfortunate dichotomy of “Northern Nigeria” and “Southern Nigeria” each tendentiously claiming distinct “common destinies” resulting in detrimental impact on the unity of Nigeria. President Buhari’s style of governance has thus driven the people of Nigeria deeper to the rigid postures of North-South divide.

The division in the polity is fully replicated in the broken relationship between the three arms of government –the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. This unsatisfactory situation has inevitably led to a broken government in Nigeria under President Muhamadu Buhari. There is disharmony and lack of unity of purpose, both basic ingredients in successful democratic governance, a government under the rule of law, thus:

vii. The presidency has never been at peace with the two other arms of government nor with the people since the inception of President Muhamadu Buhari’s administration in May 29, 2015.

viii. When President Muhamadu Buhari assumed office in 2015, he literary considered Nigerians as fools as it took him six months to select and appoint his cabinet members.

ix. The Presidency has made unrelenting efforts to prosecute, humiliate, and remove the Senate President and some other Senators.

x. There have been reports of mid-night raids and searches on houses of Supreme Court judges and attempts made to arrest some of them.

xi. The Chief Justice of the Federation, (only reluctantly appointed some months ago) was arraigned before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

xii. Regarding this unfortunate development, it is necessary to point out that the Chief justice of Nigeria, as the Head of the Judiciary, incarnates the Judicature, i.e the Judicial Arm of Government, just as the President, as Head of State, incarnates the Nigerian State. So does the Senate President incarnate the Legislature. The Heads of each of the three arms of government is entitled to and must be accorded all the rights and dignity appertaining to their offices.

xiii. The question of what is considered to be in public interest appeared to have been largely ignored in the exhibition of disgrace, degradation and embarrassment brought upon the office of Chief Justice of Nigeria. Was the issue of public interest taken into account by the Presidency in the decision to arraign the CJN or, for that matter, in the case of the abortive arraignment of the Senate President? To say that President Muhamadu Buhari was not aware of the said arraignment before it took place would seem to indicate a broken government at the Federal level. By the event of Friday, January 25th, 2019, on the on-going saga for the prosecution and now, removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria by President Muhamadu Buhari, a red line might have been crossed!

*Prof. Ejike, former Vice-Chancellor of the Anambra State University of Technology (ASUTECH), is the Deputy Chairman, Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT).

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