Buhari’s Tyranny Is Coming To Your Neighbourhood -By Emmanuel Ugwu

Filed under: National Issues |

Emmanuel Uchenna Ugwu

A ruler with proclivity for tyranny will eventually prove himself an equal opportunity destroyer. General Muhammadu Buhari has a strong despotic streak. It’s only a matter of time before his tyranny comes to your neighborhood.

To the unwary, the siege on the National Assembly by masked operatives of the Nigerian secret police, the Department of State Security, ought not to provoke panic. It is the battle of big elephants about power and territoriality. It’s the dispute of the powerful. The people need not be deeply invested in the row.

A circumspect observer would see the blockade in its true light: it’s an instance of tyranny asserting itself with threat and theater. It was not the sign of creeping authoritarianism.  It was the show of strength of an absolutism that came out of the closet long ago.

Buhari showed his iron hand early in July 2017. He had an Igbo trader arrested and prosecuted for naming his pet dog ‘’Buhari.’’ Joachim Iroko was charged for conducting himself ‘’in a manner likely to cause breach of peace, by writing a name ‘Buhari’ on a dog and parading same in the Hausa section of Ketere Market Sango.’’

Citizen Iroko’s arraignment sparked nationwide outrage. In response to public outcry against the matter of thought-policing, Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, tweeted that his principal couldn’t care less about the poor man’s ordeal. He said that Buhari cared more about newspaper cartoons than the headline-making travesty.

Some Nigerians defended Buhari and vilified the victim. They said that the man brought the trouble on his own head. He was guilty of lese majesty.

Buhari ordered a deadly crackdown of Biafran activists.  He directed the security agencies to ‘’crush’’ the youths. He had a strike force shoot hundreds of peaceful protesters dead in the street in broad daylight.

Some Nigerians hailed the clampdown. They said that Buhari had a duty to checkmate the would-be rebels. They claimed that the reckless use of lethal force on innocent people was in the interest of the non-negotiable unity of Nigeria.

When Buhari proceeded to brand Indigenous People of Biafra a ‘’militant terrorist organization’’ and proscribe it, some applauded. When he authorized the militarization of the entire South East and dispatched ‘’Operation Python Dance’’ to harass the people of the zone, some cheered. They said the Biafra movement was a cancer. They praised Buhari for brooking no nonsense.

General Tukur Yusuf Buratai unleashed Nigerian troops on the Shiite community in Zaria. They executed a three day long extra-judicial killing spree, slaughtered  348 Nigerian men and women and dumped their bodies in a mass grave. Buhari endorsed the massacre on national television. He called the slain ‘’some dissents.’’ He judged them guilty of the capital offense of attempting ‘’to create a state within a state.’’

Some Nigerians who take a dim view of the Shiite faith cheered the massacre. They wished aloud that the purge was more intensive. They condemned the Shiites as a blot on the authentic Islam.

Buhari authorized the DSS to conduct a midnight raid on the residences of Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. He framed the assault as a necessary nocturnal shakedown. It was an urgent quest to gather evidence to further the war against corruption.

Some Nigerians praised the move. They said that all was fair in love and war on graft. Any illegality committed in the name of fighting corruption is noble.

Buhari is the enabler of the Fulani herdsmen who are perpetrating genocide and land grab in the Middle Belt and other parts of the country. He has declined to designate Myetti Allah as a ‘’militant terrorist organization’’ and order the military to ‘’crush’’ them. He stridently defends their innocence. He swears the herdsmen are harmless. They ‘’don’t carry anything more than a stick and occasionally a matchet to cut down foliage and give it to their animals.’’

But Buhari’s spokesman, Femi Adesina’’ inadvertently enunciated the regime’s land for life policy on July 3, 2018. He said on AIT that Nigerians had a binary choice: cede your arable land to the nomadic herders or die by the sword of the descendants of Futa Jallon. He advised that it was better to be a landless refugee than a butchered landlord.

Akthough Buhari is actively helping his kinsmen dispossess other ethnic groups of their ancestral lands, some Nigerians are in denial. They chalk up the carnage to his corrupt political detractors. They say the herdsmen killings is ”corruption fighting back.”

Buhari authorized the invasion of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by thugs of his loyalist, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege. They ran into the chambers, grabbed the mace and fled. They had a smooth passage, an unprecedented security breach with the hallmarks of presidential approval.

Some Nigerians exculpated Buhari. They said he had nothing to do with the violation of the parliament. They argued that, even if he was behind the rape, the mace was a trivial object. It does not have an important value in the legislative tradition. So, its theft was not a crime.

On the scheduled day for the defection of some APC members of the National Assembly to the opposition PDP, the Nigerian police laid a siege to the homes of Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu on the orders of Buhari. Buhari commanded the house arrest in order to foil the decamping. Saraki managed to sneak out and preside over the plenary session.

Governor Samuel Ortom defected from APC to PDP the other day. No sooner had he made the declaration than the EFCC accused Ortom of stealing 22 billion naira in security vote. Then, the police aided an inquorate group of 8 members of Benue State House of Assembly to force their way into the premises and initiate impeachment proceedings against Ortom. Buhari’s signed off on the script of the farce.

Buhari has dismissed several court rulings ordering the release of Sambo Dasuki on bail. Buhari continues to hold Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife hostage since December 2015.

President Buhari, the maximum ruler who issued the anti-press Decree 4 of 1984 in his earlier incarnation, had a Daily Independent journalist, Tony Ezimakor, incarceratedfor exposing the fraudulent activities of Buhari’s cronies who were robbing the country under the guise of negotiating ransom with Boko Haram.

Buhari detained Yenagoa-based journalist, Jones Ebiri, for two years without trial. The president’s spokesmen described Ebiri as ‘’a guest of SSS because of his alleged criminal activities.’’

Buhari’s regime has been threatening to commence a campaign against the nebulous offence of‘’hate speech.’’

Now the big one: Buhari has frozen the accounts of Benue and Akwa Ibom states. His goal is to cause government shutdown in the two states and  hard-biting suffering on millions of people. By this, the sadist hopes to escalate voter resentment in the states, destroy the electability of the two governors and enhance his own re-election prospects.

The tell-tale signs of full-blown tyranny are evident in Nigeria. Yet, people keep excusing the strongman’s contempt for the rule of law and his draconian attack on state institutions. They are blinded by their infatuation for Buhari and their animosity for his human targets.

Those who are rationalizing Buhari’s tyranny and making a show of their propensity for Schadenfreude need a lesson in history. If they knew a bit of history, they would have realized that tyranny is a universal enemy. Tyranny has a perverse gradualist democratic feature. It starts as a remote evil affecting a few until it consolidates itself and holds everybody in thrall.

The German pastor, Martin Niemoller wrote about the danger of cowardly indifference to a dictator in his poem ‘’First They Came.’’ He regretted that he maintained his peace and basked in the illusion of his safety while Hitler’s holocaust was eliminating distant folks…until the Nazis came for him and there was no one left to speak for him.

The Buharists may continue their good work. There will ultimately be enough tyranny to go round.

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