Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria, is now standing alone as a result of what many people see as his pride and arrogance in handling many national, constitutional and legal in the country. The Nigerian maximum ruler has run himself into a cul-de-sac, chiefly as a result of his repeated refusal to obey court orders, particularly the one requiring him to release Nnamdi Kanu, leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Director of Radio Biafra, from his gulag.
Instead of letting Kanu go, as ordered by the courts, the dictator – through his Gestapo chief at Directorate of State Security Services (DSS), Lawal Musa Daura – rather threatened the Biafran leader to sign an undertaking or be slammed with fresh charges bordering on treason. The undertaking was that neither Kanu nor any Biafran would seek the independence of Biafra again. But Kanu called their bluff and bluntly refused to sign the undertaking. That was why they attempted to re-arraign him again last Wednesday, December 23.
But incourt they met a brilliantly fiery and determined Kanu who took them to the cleaners, showing to the world their stupidity and emptiness. Kanu declared to them that he was not ready to subject himself to another trial, which would not be respected like the ones he subjected himself to in the past. He said he would prefer to remain in detention indefinitely.
To make matters worse for the arrogant dictator and his goons, the Judge, Mohammed Diri, said the Biafran leader has the right to reject the trial because “justice is rooted in confidence”. He explained that “if any of the parties had no confidence in the court, he had the right to do same.
In addition Justice Diri queried the prosecutor, “assuming it was the prosecution, if they had no confidence in the courts of Jurisdiction’ would they not have done so?” He then disqualified himself from the case and remitted it back to the Chief Judge of the court to reassign to another judge.
Without doubt, the attempt by Buhari to re-arraign Kanu again after disobeying previous court orders that went against him (Buhari) was the height of his numerous illegal and unconstitutional actions that must no longer be ignored. Even individuals, who previously supported his onslaught against Kanu, IPOB, and Biafrans, have started criticizing him for, according to them, he had made mockery of, not only Nigerian Judiciary, but also the country as a whole.
Others have described him as someone running a “trial and error” or “try your luck” government. They view his constant redrafting of charges against Kanu, hoping that one would click and nail Kanu for him, as stupid. They wondered why he thought the world would take such a verdict serious when he did not obey the past judgments of the courts that went against him.
All in all, Buhari is now virtually standing alone. The man once seen by many gullible Nigerians as a man on messianic mission to redeem the country is now seen in many quarters as an abrasive irritant in government. Individuals and groups are now on his neck, both within and outside the country, criticizing him with hash words and criticisms.
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) was one of such groups. In a recent statement, it called on the National Assembly to prevail on Buhari to sack Daura, the Director General of DSS, as well as to make Buhari abide by the country’s constitution by complying with the bidding of the courts. HURIWA found faults with the government picking and choosing court orders that favour it to obey.
It said of Daura: “Does the Director General of the Department of State Security Services require another professional training (having come from a rustic post-retirement background he was resurrected from by Buhari) to know that under the constitution, which is the supreme law of Nigeria, the security agency must comply with binding orders and can’t choose which of the court orders to obey”.
The National Director of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, who made the statement also called on the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA); Chief Justice of the Federation; and organized pro-democracy and civil society community to unanimously condemn the action of the DSS.
One of the individuals that came hard on Buhari was John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja. “You should, as ordered by the court, ask the DSS to obey court orders, release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and tender an unreserved apology to him for the embarrassment you have caused him, and his pregnant wife, family, and millions of his followers by detaining him and infringing on his rights without good reason” Onaiyekan told him.
Onaiyekan also added: “It will be in your best interest and in the best interest of Nigeria that you obey court orders and apologize to the people for the embarrassment you have caused us which led to peaceful demonstration in virtually major parts of Southern Nigeria”.
Former governor of Zamfara State, a staunch Muslim sharia advocate, faulted Buhari on his strategy to stop the Biafra agitation. He considered Buhari and his government to be in error using guns and bullets to try to stop them. He said guns and bullets would not be able to stop “the current Biafra agitation” as was the case between 1967 and 70.
“I don’t believe in using force to make them succumb, submit or follow Nigeria and stay in Nigeria…These people are people that want self-determination. They believe that they are homogenous in terms of tribe, language and culture and they want to live together and have their own country”.
He advised Buhari not to see the Biafran agitators as secessionists because they have legitimate right under the constitution to express their views on any issue.
Ibuchukwu Ezike, Executive Director of Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), the foremost human rights group in Nigeria expressed extreme shock at Buhari’s attitude. He said the dictatorship Buhari has foisted on Nigeria is so terrible that there is nothing anybody he is trying can do than to appeal to God. “I have not seen this type of dissident and embarrassing behavior anywhere in the world. The man is embarrassing Nigeria all over the world. I don’t think it is necessary that Nnamdi Kanu should agree to stand trial with any other court under Buhari until the order of the court is adhered to” he said.
People like Catholic Father Matthew Kukah, Wole Soyinka, the Nobel Laureate; and a host of other eminent Nigerians have given many reasons why Buhari’s strategy of containing the Biafrans was totally wrong. Even some previously noisy and arrogant supporters began to take the mellow part of the argument. Some of them like his fellow former military dictator Olusegun Obasanjo, who last month described Biafran agitators as miscreants, have swallowed his usually over-bloated ego. Recently, rather than his usual bluffing arrogance whenever the issues of Biafra agitation was raised, he called for communication rather than war.
As if that was not enough, Buhari incurred the wrath of more Nigerians, mainly those from the judiciary, who told him to keep to his powers as provided by the constitution.