Executive Order Number Six And The End Of Democracy -By Sylvester Odion Akhaine

Filed under: Democracy & Governance |

It is no longer news that President Mohammadu Buhari has signed an Executive Order Number Six, an administrative instrument in his war against corruption in the country. The executive order in effect places some alleged corrupt Nigerians under watch, denies them access to their doubtful wealth and bars them from travelling out of the country.

This order coming against impunitious disregard for court orders and proselytization of a nebulous national security doctrine and in the context of the president’s dictatorial past in which human beings were retroactively executed, and press freedom curtailed by the notorious Decree Number 4, of 1984 which made victims of Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor, is an indication that the country is sliding into full blown dictatorship. Thus, this order must be condemned in its totality and resisted with all vehemence by Nigerians.

The point must be stressed that the regime type that Nigerian ruling elites chose in 1999 was liberal democracy with its accompanying freedoms, namely, freedom of expression, political rights and the rule of law among others. If the country must survive as a civic nation, not ethnic nation, which the current administration has reduced the country to, all Nigerians must re-affirm their commitment to the grundnorm, deepen it into a community of socio-economic freedoms.


Sylvester Odion Akhaine

Our hope as a country does not lie in the reduction of Nigeria into a national security doctrine state, ostensibly to fight corruption. The country already has a panoply of laws including the organic law of the state to fight corruption cases.

I condemn in absolute terms this authoritarian twist and hold strongly the view that sheer brute force and crude application of authoritarian diktat cannot cure the corruption epidemic in the country. Legalities are elements of the superstructure and a reflection of the economic base of society; and to cure corruption of the epidemic type in Nigeria, attention must be paid to the economic base.

The Nigerian state is a rentier state that depends on externally generated rent being proceeds from the ownership of natural resources, in this case hydro carbon, the only means by which the country registers it presence in the global

economy. This hydro carbon resources have consistently fuelled primitive accumulation of resources in the country, fuelled non-productive activities, made politics a warfare and propped the external orientation of the country in terms of consumption. Even the private sector feeds off on the rentier state. Solutions lies in fiscal federalism and the de-monetisation of public offices in ways that service becomes a social responsibility.

It seems to me that the administrative turn to authoritarian tactics by the President has more to do with the politics of the second term—hound opposition forces and instill a culture of fear and railroad itself into office for a second term. Where this is impossible, the president will engender an autogolpe, a coup against himself by undermining democratic institutions. All these are bound to fail given the complexity of the country and its peculiar history of outliving authoritarian forces.

I therefore call on well-meaning and patriotic Nigerians as well as the international community to condemn this authoritarian tide and take practical stems to nip it in the bud and save the burgeoning liberal democratic institutions in the country. Today, despite its shortcomings, the desire for liberal democracy with fundamental freedoms gave birth to the fourth republic and must be defended.

Long Live Nigerian people.

Sylvester Odion Akhaine,
Associate Professor of Political Science, Lagos State University.