It is unfortunate that many Nigerian writers and Public affairs Analysts are yet to understand the man, Muhammadu Buhari. In their naivety, they view Buhari’s actions and inactions through the democratic lens and all they see is a democratic leader who is simply incompetent in office.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
President Buhari is not a democratic leader. He is a democracy’s Assassin. The most dangerous type. “Most dangerous” because he came in not through a military coup – which would have made the death of democracy quite spontaneous and clear to all – but through the ballot box which allows him to carry out his ethnoreligious agenda and still maintain a veneer of democracy even while eviscerating its substance.
In their book with the title “HOW DEMOCRACIES DIE”, Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, two Harvard political scientists rightly observe:
“The tragic paradox of the electoral route to authoritarianism is that democracy’s assassins use the very institutions of democracy – gradually, subtly, and even legally – to kill it”
Continuing, they opine:
“Many government efforts to subvert democracy are “legal”, in the sense that they are approved by the legislature or accepted by the courts. They may even be portrayed as efforts to improve democracy – making the judiciary more efficient, combating corruption or cleaning up the electoral process
“Newspapers still publish but are bought off or bullied into self-censorship. Citizens continue to criticize the government but often find themselves facing tax or other legal troubles. This sows public confusion. People do not immediately realize what is happening. Many continue to believe they are living under a democracy.
“Because there is no single moment – no coup, declaration of martial law, or suspension of the constitution – in which the regime obviously “crosses the line” into dictatorship, nothing may set off society’s alarm bells. Those who denounce government abuse may be dismissed as exaggerating or crying wolf. Democracy’s erosion is, for many, almost imperceptible”
Going through the book, one would be forgiven to think Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt had Nigeria in mind while writing it.
Today, under Buhari, Nigerians no longer have confidence in the judiciary because even Judges themselves are no longer bold and courageous enough to rule against the govt and on rare occasions when they do, they are abducted in the middle of the night by operatives of the State Security Services (SSS) under the Presidency and their court rulings are brazenly and blatantly disobeyed by the Executive. We all saw how the President unilaterally removed former Chief Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen and used a mere Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) under the Presidency to legitimize it. The neutrality of our current Chief Justice, Ibrahim Tanko remains in doubt. Even the legislative arm has proven to be nothing more than a puppet being puppeteered by men who live in the Rock. Col. Dasuki, the ex-National Security Adviser and Omoyere Sowore, the publisher of Sahara-reporters, to mention but a few, are still being detained against court rulings. At about 5 pm yesterday, Chido Onuma, a journalist and Author were arrested by SSS operatives, though reports say he has been released.
Pray do tell, why then do we still pretend we are in a democracy?? Can’t we see that exactly what Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt stated in their book have all been carefully carried out by Buhari and his fellow ethnoreligious bigots?
It is incumbent upon us that we take time to study Buhari to enable us understand who he really is or sees himself as (a scion of Uthman Danfodio divinely appointed to finish what he, Danfodio, started but couldn’t finish), his mission (ethnoreligious irredentism) which in fairness to him, he has never hidden right from day one, his worldview which is feudalism and of course his greatest enabler which is the greed of our Southern politicians.
Nigeria is in the firm grip of a dark-hearted vicious Tyrant who is in government solely to implement an ethnoreligious agenda so important to him that he would see this country and all her inhabitants burn to ashes just so he could have his way. And make no mistake, the veneer of democracy makes this particular Tyrant more dangerous than his childhood friend and mentor, the late Sani Abacha. President Buhari and his enablers – whether they are in politics, in the pulpits, in the journalism profession or in the civil society – represent a grave existential threat to Nigeria and Nigerians.
Now that the gloves are off and the fangs are in plain view, this is no time to start pointing accusing fingers at ourselves or remembering who helped midwife this Tyrant in 2015. Such a thought process benefits only our Oppressor. This perilous time not only requires but demands that we all come together and use the same zeal and oneness with which we resisted that iniquitous Ruga settlement project to defend our right to life and dignity of the human person. We can either bury our difference and join hands to save ourselves from this horde of political Bandits or we wait for our turn to be picked up an nd destroyed one by one. The choice is ours.