Nigeria’s Descent into Fascism (and Abacha-ism) By Vincent M. Okwechime, Jr
These are ominous times for Nigeria. Serious and unacceptable as these are, leave aside for now that Boko Haram is ravaging
our society and killing our people in the thousands. Forget for a moment that ten million or more Nigerian children do not attend school on a daily basis. Temporarily ignore the fact that we have unprecedented levels of corruption, unemployment and poverty and disease. That we are now one of the most dysfunctional countries in the world is known to everyone. Yet the greatest current threat to Nigeria is fascism.
It has always been in the horizon but there are more recent startling signals. Several months ago, the ‘might’ of the central government was visited upon Rotimi Amaechi (not a favourite of mine) who’s plane was prevented from taking him to his destination. So many acts of the central government’s indiscretion and impunity too numerous to mention occurred in between – in Rivers State and elsewhere and have not abated since.
The next most brazen qct of lawlessness originated only a couple of days ago and is still ongoing: the assault of the military on the press, an indication that press censorship is in the offing. Though the government is still in denial that the abductions occurred, the country would be better off if the army was deployed to bring back the Chibok girls.
Then there was the shut down of the Emir’s palace in Kano for a few days by ‘forces hostile to the selection’ of the new Emir (a gadfly, whom i happen not to like. But that’s not the point).
Then governor Nyako (himself an incompetent nuisance) is being impeached with Federal might and the State account has been frozen by the EFCC on “orders from above”, acts not unconnected to the rising intolerance of divergent opinion in Nigeria.
Now we have a case of governor’s being barred from visiting Ekiti State. The act assails their right to freedom of movement but also gives some scary indication of potential rigging in the forthcoming Ekiti governorship election, and what the 2015 elections portend for Nigeria.
While these are ongoing, the case against Mohammed Abacha, son of the greatest looter of public funds in Nigeria (perhaps in African history) has been dismantled and his trial discontinued.
There can only be three reasons for this: he has agreed to share some of his loot (our money) with top government persons and donate a large chunk to the PDP; and/or he is the preferred PDP ‘hit-man’ required to ‘dislodge’ Kwankwanso and the APC in Kano. Yet, more importantly, but even more frightening is that the Presidency now appears to endorse Abacha-ism (and the attendant ‘evil’ and terror that it unleashed on us, to put it mildly) as a worthy tool of governance. This is evidently borne out by the swagger we now see in top government circles, wherein PDP chieftains, security agents, ethnic jingoists, illiterate have resorted to making inciting statements and doing things that are a reminder of how Abacha-ism evolved and became part of our national ethos. (Remember how all the political parties of the day adopted Abacha as their SOLE candidate for President?)
Yet if these acts of brigandage can be visited upon people of power (governors – some of them unworthy of the office though), then an all out assault on the rights of all of us, the ordinary, powerless people can be expected. Thus, the days and weeks and months ahead will surely witness what the great musician, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti called “demo-crazy”, a “demonstration of crase”.
NB: Did I forget to mention what I just read: that Bode George’s wife, (perhaps eminently qualified) has been appointed the new NDLEA boss? Though not funny, what comes to mind is government ‘of comedy, by comedy, for comedians’. On a more serious note; though Nigeria has latterly been governed with impunity, it now seems also to be governed with disdain for its humble citizens; by heightened insensitivity to the feelings and dignity of Nigerians. ‘We taya’!
Vincent M. Okwechime, Jr