Tuesday, 17 October 2017 16:59

How Did Buhari and the Nigerian Leadership Fail A Simple Democracy Test?

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The purpose of this essay is to demonstrate how President Buhari should have used the Nnamdi Kanu episode as a governance tool, but failed to do so. Nigerian leadership and government led by Buhari could have handled the situation expertly, mobilized the nation in unity, and come out smelling good to the whole world. Alas, they failed the test. Since the majority is not always right and often is wrong, it is about time we subscribed to being anti-majoritarian in governance rather than to armamentarium.

Mr. Buhari and his handlers could have avoided a moral turpitude had they listened to reason and Buhari been able to manage his overwhelming hatred of Igbos in order to handle the sturm und drang (German for storm) of governance. What resulted was a studied cowering to religio-political sentiments, including the gobbledygook, gibberish and twaddle. There is nothing free about freedom which is worth dying for.

The Buhari leadership caved in to personality or principality; being overwhelmed by pressures of the moment as the job was intricate. It is time to tell the President; "If you cannot stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." The President and his handlers misjudged, overestimated, miscalculated, and got the answer all wrong on a simple test requiring commonsense.

Democracy is all about talking and associating with people. Reasonable people would rather have talking mouths without a government than a government without talking mouths. We ought to show the world that we are a democracy,  the "indepanda."  Nigerians are not caged animals who have no voices and who cannot sing.

A good Nigerian government ought to free the people to enjoy the fruits of freedom of expression, to live where one chooses and engage in legitimate businesses. Who was Nnamdi Kanu and why were Buhari and his people so scared of a man armed with nothing  but rhetoric?  Loquacious people don't kill, but illiterate, wordless people do.

Nnamdi Kanu enjoyed a brief notoriety; as most 40-year-old Igbo, Arewa,or kanuri young man drunk with fanaticism and youthful exuberance, do . Kanu is not different; he had the inflated sense of self- importance. Unfortunately, Buhari interpreted the situation as being treasonable.

Kanu could do no more harm to a nation of 180,000,000 people, than leading a group of frustrated, hungry, unemployed youths, demanding their rights, just as the Arewa Boys demanded a Quit order which was a product of arrogant terrorism. Kanu could do no more harm than a blue fly would do to a carcass of slaughtered cow on a butcher's table.

Why must Nigeria and her legal system overreact to Nnamdi Kanu with explosive force? Nnamdi Kanu was not a serious threat. He  had no weapons other than onu, onu, ntaghari onu (mouth, mouth, talking mouth, propaganda).  A talking mouth demonstrates that democracy is well and alive in Nigeria

How could we be so unthinking as to use state-sanctioned violence and murder as crowd control mechanisms? How could a nation of 180 million people (with hundreds of universities and houses of worship) fail woefully to listen to the youthful leaders of the community?

Surely, my people ought not to lack the milk of human understanding that flows from fleshy hearts. Our hearts ought to not be stony or impervious, and we ought to lead by reason and good commonsense. How come we couldn't listen to young Kanus, find out what they want, and win then to our way of thinking?

Didn't we listen to Boko Haram? Didn't  we listen to the Delta Avengers? Didn't we hear from the Arewas and the Northern Elders? Why not hear from Kanu and the IPOB? Is it because they are Anyamirins? Buhari has failed Nigeria and ought to consider leaving Aso Rock!

It is our popular opinion that the bail conditions given to Nnamdi Kalu  were a violent overkill in the sense that the sentence did not fit the crime or that the conditions represented an attempt at overegging the pudding. It exacerbated an already volatile situation

It is an overkill to catch a tiny fish with a massive net. Buhari and Nigerians failed to look beyond a myopic, tunnel vision to see a larger picture that could have been exploited to unite the nation and pull us out of a conundrum. Nnamdi Kanu presented Nigeria with a conundrum, a hard, thorny question.

A conundrum refers to a riddle whose answer is a pun or a paradox, or to any problem whose answer is uncertain. Some conclusions to be drawn from an analysis of the Kanu's bail conditions can be seen at the end of this essay.

This leads us to our earlier conviction that the Biafra War is not yet concluded and, as Gods, the  Igbos have not accepted  defeat. What happens to Gowon's "No winners and no vanquished" pronouncement?

Nnamdi Kanu was released from Kuje Prison on Friday, April 28, following the bail conditions  imposed by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja that Tuesday, April 25.. Kanu spent one year and six months in detention after he was arrested by operatives of the Department of State Securities in Lagos upon his return from the United Kingdom on October 14, 2015.

This essay examines the harsh bail conditions Justice Nyako, sitting at Abuja Court, meted to her fellow Nigerian citizen. Nyako stipulated that  Mr. Kalu must agree to these harsh conditions before he could be released from prison to prepare for his defense.  There are some important conclusions to be drawn from the Kanu-Nyako episode. Read to the end of this essay to examine the conclusions.

Maintaining that the only reason she granted bail to Kanu was because of Kanu's  ill health, Justice Nyako of Nigeria marshaled out about thirteen (13) conditions that Kanu must meet prior to (not subsequent to) his release from detention. The conditions now follow below.

First, Mr. Kalu must not hold rallies. He must not grant interviews. He must not be in a crowd of more than 10 people.

Second, Mr. Kanu must provide three sureties in the sum of N100 million each. One of the sureties must be a senior highly placed person of Igbo extraction such as a senator. The second surety must be a highly respected Jewish leader since Mr. Kanu said his religion is Judaism. The third surety must be a highly respected person who owns landed property and is resident in Abuja.

Third, the IPOB leader must deposit both  his Nigerian passport and the British passport with the court. The order to deposit his Nigerian and British passports was meant to ensure Mr. Kanu the IPOB leader cannot travel out of the country to avoid prosecution.

Fourth, he must provide the court with reports on the progress of his health and treatment on a monthly basis.

Justice Nyako however refused bail to the three other defendants standing trial with Kanu, namely Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi. All three prisoners were seen wearing handcuffs in court.

The following are observations this writer is making in reaction to the incidence of the stiff bail conditions offered to IPOB leader Nnamdi Kalu by the Nigerian government through Justice Nyako.

Justice Nyako took Kanu's ill health into consideration. The ill health of an accused is a tenable, laudable, reasonable, justifiable, defensible, rational, plausible reason  to grant temporary or permanent  relief from  prosecution. For this reason, we commend the learned judge, Justice Nyako and we heap accolades on her for tempering justice with mercy. Judicial mercy is clemency, compassion, and understanding.

It is the opinion of this writer that the Nigerian leadership failed a test of commonsense. The Nigerian leadership did an overkill in the case of Defendant Nnamdi Kanu. An overkill is defined as an overindulgence, overstatement, or heavy-handedness,

It was too much of a good (or bad) thing  It is like adding a pound of sugar to your morning mug of coffee.It is like turning  your tongue and lips red hot and burning them with oku (fire) after eating ofe egusi (egusi soup) packed with fresh peppers..

An overkill is an overkill.  Justice Nyako did miscarry justice in the mad rush to demonize the prisoner. To demonize is to portray an individual or group of individuals as an evil, demonic, or dangerous criminal mind. What gain did the Nigerian judicial system make by making the IPOB leader look worse and more reprehensible/terrible/terrifying than he actually was?

Nyako did what she did perhaps to score a point, or perhaps to deal with pressure from President Buhari and the Buharians  who were bent on seeking  a revenge consisting of "Shakespearian pound of flesh," in order to steady a rocky, rocking boat.

Nigeria is a ship, and at the helm is the Queen of Great Britain, wearing a crown and assisted by hired African goons wearing chieftain titles.

Therefore, Nnamdi Kanu didn't stand a chance; he ran the risk of being charged with treasonable felony which is a crime against the Crown, where the offense may take place thousands of miles off the shores of Great Britain. .

Sometimes, the Queen orders an overkill or murder to protect her Empire. The goons carry out the order as  the loyal murder squad Kanu's chances of acquittal was as good as a snowball  in hell. What an overkill!

To overkill is to protect self through a revenge or to take punishment to such a comical level as to cause easy laughter or glee worldwide. An overkill can be seen in a soldier who shoots the victim down and continues to fire bullets into a lifeless corpse. An overkill is a dangerous thing

We must respect the learned Judge Nyako, for she is learning the rope and she is not the boss in a bureaucratic nation where judicial independence is a fairy tale, and where judges are hauled away to prison without due process. Judges are known to sound and serve as gramophone that repeats "his master's voice."

As extensions or appendages of the power accorded the Queen of England, Nigerian judges can often act without restraints. Restraint is seen as weakness or antithesis of power, and Nigerians have an inverted notion of justice that lacks restraint in personal or public life as seen in the massive embezzlement of huge sums of money belonging to the people.

Can anyone see overkill in the murder a Christian woman whose corpse was paraded in the open market as if she were a trophy, simply because she happened to dance to a different  religious drummer, who  believes in a different onye nwe anyi (our Lord) than the murderers' Allah?

While the rest of the free world subscribes to the principle of humane rehabilitation of offenders and changing conditions that breed lawlessness and that attack  constituted authority (such as the Nigerian government, for example), Justice Nyako and the government she represents uphold cruel punishment and excessive force to control the expression of human liberty.

Cruel punishment is the use of cruel sentencing, penalty, chastisement, castigation, reprimand, retribution, or death in its most extremely outrageous form to muzzle and silence citizens who dare to change the system.  Punishment cannot dissuade people from opposing a thing they consider to be cruelty,  meanness, nastiness, brutality, malice, spite, spitefulness, marginalizaion, or vindictiveness.

Rehabilitation, on the other hand, as contradictory to punishment, is the readiness to correct a behavior through the use of treatment, therapy, healing, cure, analysis, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, religion, or love.

Nigerian society is not and cannot be  "we versus they" or  "we-win-and-you-lose" society.  It is a "we-win-and-you-win" situation. Nigerians want the "you're okay and I'm okay" scenario. We say all these things to say that we need a WIN-WIN situation and that Nigeria ought to win her citizens over. Mr. Nnamdi kalu could have been won over to Buhari's side through rehabilitation, love, compassion, understanding,persuasion, and negotiation rather than through hate, armamentarium, or intimidation. Might does not always make it right.

Armamentarium is the effective equipment of a warship.  Nigeria does not want to always be a ship at war and equipped with war planes, fortifications, guns, rifles, foot soldiers, and armory, My country Nigeria  is arming or being armed to the teeth  for war. Most aspects of our so-called military might are purchased from white Europeans. They have expensive price tags. After purchasing what constitutes our might, there is no money left for education or to build roads and provide for electricity.

Who was Nnamdi Kanu? He could not be more than a mere 40-year-old Igbo young man, filled with youthful energy,  and drunk with an inflated sense of self- importance. Kanu  could do no harm to a nation of 180,000,000 people, a nation with fully functioning armed forces. Nigeria and her legal system overreacted with explosive force.

Nnamdi Kalu had no weapons other than onu, onu, ntaghari onu (mouth, mouth, talking mouth, propaganda).  A talking mouth demonstrates that democracy is well and alive in Nigeria.

This writer would rather have talking mouths without a government than a government without talking mouths. We ought to show the world that we are a democracy, the "indepanda."  Nigerians are not caged animals who have no voices and cannot sing. A good Nigerian government ought to free the people to enjoy the freedom of expression, to live where one chooses and engage in legitimate businesses Don't we know why caged animals die soon?. There is nothing free about freedom which is worth dying for.

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James Agazie Ed D

A retired college Professor  with educational backgrounds in law (JD) education (Ed.D, MA) counseling,( MS) and and mathematics.  Write on topics dealing with Nigerian families, marriages, education, and employment.