By Cyriacus Nnaji
Internationally renowned lawyer and Human Right Activist, Professor Ben Nwabueze has recommended Government of National Unity as panacea to save Nigerian Democracy.
Nwabueze made the recommendation at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) Victoria Island, Lagos on Thursday during the launch of two books which he authored.
While decrying insecurity ravaging the country and the refusal of the President to change the service chiefs Nwabueze said “President Buhari’s blunt refusal to resign, which is accompanied by the equally blunt refusal to change the service chiefs, raised the issue as to what alternatives are left for the Nigerian people in order to save themselves from the scourge of insecurity that threatens them with ruination.
“I venture to suggest that a government of National Unity composed of the candidates of the political parties, and headed by a person chosen by them, may be the alternative for us. The details of such arrangement will need to be worked out and will require compromises on all sides,” Nwabueze said.
In a paper titled “In a Situation of Worsening Insecurity Threatening the Lives and Property of All of Us and Where President Buhari has Bluntly Refused to Resign for Reasons Quite Untenable, What Alternative is Left for the Country to Save Itself?”, the erudite scholar decried a position where a call for the president’s resignation is treated with utter disdain and is scoffed as “foolish”.
He however sounded optimistic that the call for resignation received attention “The new position where the call is recognized as worthy of presidential response represents a certain progress.
“The response has come in the form of a categorical statement by the Honourable Minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to the effect that “Mr president will not resign”, because “he has the overwhelming mandate of Nigerians to preside over the affairs of the country till the expiration of his tenure in May 2023”
He stated that the reason given by the minister is untenable on two main grounds. “First the so-called overwhelming mandate derived from the February 2019 Presidential Election is disputed by European Union Election Observation Mission Report; International Republic Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) in their final report; It is also disputed by the Coalition of NGOs Report; and by the Centre for Democracy and Development post-mortem Report.”
Professor Nwabueze maintained that the Nigeria people themselves are not deceived by the rhetoric of overwhelming mandate.
“The reason given by Hon. Minister is untenable more because it ignores the obvious fact that the worsening incidents of insecurity as aggravated by the everyday and continuing holocaust of killings by Fulani herdsmen, kidnappers, bandits, armed robbers, and cultists not to mention the slaughter of thousands by Boko Haram terrorists is a post February 2019 presidential Election phenomenon,” he said.
Nwabueze said the aggravated insecurity occurring after the election could not have been mandated by the votes of the people cast at the said elections. “If anything, the votes cast at the election are a clear repudiation of the claim of mandate based on them,” he said.
He spoke further “What is happening in Nigeria is heart rendering, The Nigeria we all fought for, none of us had thought that what we are seeing today would ever happen. It is a great lamentation for me; I was almost moved to tears.”
On his part, Alhaji Buba Galadima, decried the bad governance system in Nigeria, saying that Nigerians are in a ‘one chance bus’.
The books were ‘President Buhari’s Distinctive Legacies to Nigeria’, and ‘Further Thoughts on the Nigerian Constitution and Polity’
Galadima who was a special guest of Honour at the event, called on Nigerians of all sheds of opinion to come together to proffer solution so as to get the bus to stop so that Nigerians could disembark.
“Nigerians are in one chance bus, we need opinions on how to stop the bus so that Nigerians can disembark. The Northeast and Northwest have since disembarked. We have to do so because the bus is auto-piloted.”
Speaking further on what he meant by Nigerians have entered one chance bus he said “You don’t know that Nigeria is trouble? You can’t walk on the street without looking at your back, no security, no hunger in your house? Do your children go to school? Do they go to hospital and get drugs? He queried.
He said that the assignment to get Nigeria liberated is not a one man show, “It is for every Nigerian, Nigerians must come together, it is our fight, not one person, it involves you and I.”
On how best to fight the present bad governance in Nigeria, Galadima threw back the question by asking, “How did we fight the previous fights, General Babangida, General Abacha, President Obasanjo and President Jonathan, how did we fight them?
Mike Ozekhome, an erudite lawyer, described Nwabueze as a protégée, an iconic Nigerian. He said that in Africa there is no single constitutional lawyer or law expert that has emerged that can match the credentials of Professor Ben Nwabueze, adding that Nwabueze has contributed in making the constitutions of many African nations especially those of Namibia, Zambia, Ghana, Lesotho among others. He said Professor Nwabueze lives, drinks, dreams, speaks constitution.
Analyzing the second book he said Nwabueze just put the truth in the front burner, “It deals with the malaise in the land, the despondency, the hunger, squalor, the corruption which today struts about like a proud peacock, we are one of the most corrupt nations in the world, we are third rated terrorist country in the world, we are the number 15 failed states in the world according to Google, out of 128 that were listed, we do not believe in obeying court orders, rule of law is in recession, people walk about so napolistically, like Ikwe Ama’s ‘walking corpses’, people are afraid to discuss, people speak in whispers, hunger overrides us, Nigeria is going down the drain and may take up to 50 years for us to recover.”
He called on those who see to it that Buhari became president to also find a way to disengage him from Nigerians because according to him it is not possible to change General Buhari to a democrat President Buhari.