Repercussions from the aborted “Sowore Revolution” have continue to blight our political landscape; no thanks to its misguided handling by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. From an event that would have, at best, had a dubious success or would have been a flash in the pan; #RevolutionNow, many months later, is still gaining currency and probably winning more converts. And this is thanks to a government that seems ever so afraid of its own shadow.
Indeed, one that continues to plumb the depths of shame in its anti-democratic practices.
This is the story of a government that continues to profess its support for/adherence to the rule of law; yet whose actions does the opposite. It is the story of a government that seems incapable of turning off the taps of disarray it is mired in. It is the story of a government whose left hand knows not or pretends not to know what its right is doing; a government working at cross purposes.
Indeed, it is the story of a government that takes one step forward; but in the next breath takes several backward. This government is so confounding that those who actually believe in and support the man at the helm of affairs; President Muhammadu Buhari himself, are asking themselves whether this is truly the Buhari they believe can turn the fortunes of this country around or a mere caricature of that man. And you wonder, is this really President Buhari or General Muhammadu Buhari?
With the state of things regarding the rule of law in the country today; people with the strongest resolve will succumb to the fatalistic view of Nigeria that is currently the thinking of many.
Has the House fallen, one is tempted to ask of Buhari
From the year 2000 and that (in)famous book by Karl Maier, The House Has Fallen: Nigeria in Crisis; to this point, the obituary of Nigeria is written. It is only a matter of time for the coffin to be nailed shut and put under the ground.
The dire warnings of our imminent collapse come thick and fast. The noise is even louder now with people seeing herdsmen in every corner of the country every waking moment. And of course, the bandits and kidnappers, Boko Haram are so much at play on the social media; on the pages of our newspapers, and on radio and television stations everyday you’ll be forgiven for thinking that the house has indeed fallen.
That the rickety Nigeria is still standing must befuddle everybody. It is a nation with a litany of woes; no pleasant news; a nation in which is seems everybody is preoccupied with how to dodge the bullet from snipers hanging about looking for targets to gun down.
So, when the “Sowore revolution” came earlier this year, I was tempted to ask; Revolution? For what? Hasn’t the house fallen already?
But Nigeria is a very complicated country where there are as many solutions as there are problems. Except there is something odd, if predictable, about this Buhari government. It constantly surprises us with its inability to introspect.
Rather, it constantly shoots itself in the foot and has a way of making a mountain of a mere molehill. The government gets in its defensive shell even when it doesn’t need to.
Has the president become so impotent he can’t call these people to order?
In the event, the one thing that has dominated political discourse in this country for the better part of 2019 is what is turning out to be the Sowore Phenomenon. It is ubiquitous and has refused to die. It has turned our focus away from more important issues begging for attention.
We are so preoccupied with it that you wonder whether our security agencies are working to enhance governance or destroy the Buhari government. Has the president become so impotent he can’t call these people to order?
Sowore is a journalist, a controversial one for that matter, but a gutsy man. He wasn’t pleased with how the old generation has run and continues to run this country. So he decided to shake things up and run for president in 2019.
He did so on the platform of the African Action Congress. He traversed the country canvassing for the votes of Nigerians, particularly the youths. Many like me thought it was a fruitless exercise because the so-called youths couldn’t come together under one umbrella; but rather fragmented their political strength presenting at least two other candidates.
At the end of the day, all the three candidates didn’t garner 100 thousand votes throughout the country. In fact, Nigerians so “loved” Sowore they gave him 33,593 votes. Having not known Sowore to be a military commander or a man with an army; I was pretty sure that his “revolution”, while having a first day impact, would have just died a natural death.
Especially if the police and other security agencies had allowed the protest marches which happened in only a few states. This wouldn’t have been a “revolution” they could not manage.
Affront on rule of law must cease
But the ways of our security agencies never cease to astound. They see conspiracy in every move and lack of patriotism in every contrary view and action. When Newswatch magazine was just about three and a half years old in 1988; and having survived a ban in 1987, the magazine had done a cover story on the Babangida government.
Also, it had flashed an additional story of the death of the Pakistani ruler Zia-ul-Haq on top of the photograph of President Babangida on the cover page. All hell broke loose.
With the headline for the flashed story as: Zia-ul-Haq Bombed; the interpretation given by our security people was that Newswatch would be happy if President Babangida was bombed to death. It took one of the magazine’s founders to explain the nuts and bolts of flashing a story on our cover. I have no doubt that his action saved our bacon. So, it is not surprising that the Department of State Services, DSS; has been forcefully arguing that Sowore is bent on forcefully overthrowing the government.
They took the matter to court and the court granted Sowore bail. But they decided not to release him until there was the threat of contempt of court against the DSS. So, they released him but promptly rearrested him hours later; compromising the sanctity of the court in the process.
Is Buhari giving us a House of Cards?
And then the presidency says; the DSS does not need the permission of the Buhari government to re-arrest Sowore.
It is an affront for the Buhari government to continue to pay scant attention to the rule of law. It cannot continue to parrot its adherence to it yet continue to observe it in the breach.
This president was voted in first in 2015 and then again in 2019; in the belief that he can reset/recast our crumbling political edifice and lay a solid foundation for the future. But I dare say that what the Buhari government is giving us is a House of Cards.