Editorial: A dictator bares his fangs

Theportcitynews Editorial Board

Perhaps the gossip around town that President Muhammadu Buhari does not read is true. No other person than his minister of transportation and director-general of his re-election campaign, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, during a chat with select journalists, said in a tape that has now gone viral that the president does not read and does not listen to anyone. President Buhari should read the constitution and save himself and the country from the embarrassment he has plunged it to.

The greatest weakness dictators and aspiring dictators have is the constitution which stipulates the order of things. That is why they labour hard to discard it.

The Mohammadu Buhari’s government is turning clothes over its head and is asking Nigerians “What can you do?” in a precedence too dangerous to be ignored.

Coming back in 2015 as a civilian president after being chased out of office by his fellow jackboots in 1985, president Buhari has not changed his modus operandi that led to his sack three decades ago. And like a bitter colonizer, he not only repeated some of his retrogressive economic policies that drove the country into recession, mass unemployment, poverty and misery; he has also added fuel to the flame that fires his hunger and for a second time, suspended the constitution.

President Buhari, on Friday, the 25th of January suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, who has been facing trial by the Code of Conduct of Tribunal for false assets declaration. The speed with which the CJN was suspended was only but cynical; especially given the fact that it took the president to be on a sick bed for the CJN’s nomination to be approved. The president in a speech that is akin to a coup, claimed he was relying on an order issued by the CCT to suspend the CJN; an act he had no costitutional unilateral powers to carry out.

According to the constitution: A judicial officer shall not be removed from his office or appointment before his age of retirement except in the following circumstances –

(a) in the case of –

“Chief Justice of Nigeria, President of the Court of Appeal, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and President, Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.”

(ii) Chief Judge of a State, Grand Kadi of a Sharia Court of Appeal or President of a Customary Court of Appeal of a State, by the Governor acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the House of Assembly of the State,

Praying that he be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct;

(b) in any case, other than those to which paragraph (a) of this subsection applies, by the President or, as the case may be, the Governor acting on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council that the judicial officer be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct.

In other words, a sitting CJN can only be removed from office by the president after at least two-thirds majority members of the Senate support such a move. No such matter has been debated in the Senate.

The president had in time past showed disdain for rule of law. This is due to the fact that so many court orders granting Sambo Dasuki, the former national security adviser who has been in detention for three years bail have been ignored. So is the case of the leader of the Islamic movement. He chooses favourable court orders to obey and unfavourable ones to disobey. The lunatics are now running the psychiatry.

President Mohammadu Buhari is a perfect example of how democracies die and had in time past made several infractions on the constitution that gave room for worry. If he was half the man that he claims to be, he would have since resigned having accepted 45m naira donation from NCAN in September 2018 which violated section 221 and fifth schedule on the Code of Conduct for public officers and section 91(9) of the electoral act.

In canonizing Buhari as a messiah in 2015, his henchmen told the country that he is a repented democrat who would set her on a path to progress. Has the president done that? No! he has simply set the country 2 decades back with his sectional policies and Ranka Dede type of governance where white is black and blue, red. He has bared his fangs as a dictator and his claims of being a democrat are nothing but laughable.

Nigerians should not be blind to reason. Every minute that president Buhari stays in Aso Rock, they are enabling a process that will not get better but will haunt them one way or the other. The decision by the president to trash the constitution should be a source of worry to every citizen and should be resisted.

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