Sambo Dasuki and the 2015 Curse; By Nasiru Suwaid
“As we approach the fifth democratic transition period, which some western countries claimed could either ‘make or mar’ the country, there is compelling need for us as a people to understand our differences, unite and forge ahead for the greater interest of the nation.”
-Sambo Dasuki, National Security Adviser of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
To be fair to them, when the American Foreign Policy Institute made the prediction or to be more precise, when a group of independent scholars made the analytical projections, it was in the late 1980’s or to be more accurate, early 1990’s, when Nigeria was in a perpetual succession of military regimes, many of which were experimenting with their transition programs, in a deceptive ‘Maradonic’ fashion, as such, as at the time, there is no way anyone could have contemplated, that the year 2015 would be an all important election year, as the statement was made even before the over a decade national friction that is the June 12th political imbroglio. Thus, their projective postulation was neither a prophecy nor a clairvoyant seeing of what could happen in the future, indeed if anything, it was a mere researched forecasting of the Nigerian nation, on the embedded fault lines of religious differences, ethnic divisions and the glaring sectional biases that could set the nation on the course of destructive implosion and fritter away the foundational unity upon which the federation rest.
The necessary admonishing warning was made by the National Security Adviser, through his Director of Policy and Research in the beginning of the week, when he hosted the press in a conference on ‘security consciousness and awareness for media reporters’. Actually, the message was very timely, because of the incoming elections season, where ‘desperate politicians’ are wont to do almost anything, to actualize their burning political ambitions of getting access to power, including threatening and subverting the very essence of the Nigerian state and the unifying bond that is keeping the country together. Indeed, the presidential security adviser was very particular, in his condemnation of the precipitated attempt at ‘deriding’ the Office of the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, when the press and the opposition elements sought to question the methods and strategies in which the Nigerian government is employing to prosecute the ever growing, expanding and debilitating insurgency in the North-East.
Basically, there are two problems with the highly patriotic and security conscious postulation, the first being that it was not merely the politicians who are talking, as even the clergy and ordinary Nigerians have had cause to question the mode and manner of the engagement of Nigerian troops in the conflict. In fact, just over the weekend, the Secretary General of the Christian Association of Nigeria Reverend Musa Asake, was directly pointing an accusing finger at the office and person of the National Security Adviser, on who is to blame, over the perceived failings in the handling of the war situation, despite the fact, the presidential security advisor, was a former military officer, he is not directly in charge of prosecuting the conflict and most importantly, the reverend father was ‘conveniently’ silent in even mentioning the military chiefs of whom they share same faith, as the ones who are directly tasked with the prosecution of the war. Surely, religious leaders do not fall into the category of politicians but what says, within the express definition of who constitutes a politician, an appointed presidential adviser is not one.
The second problem and indeed the main issue here is what constitutes a ‘politician’, within the confines of the everyday political conversational lexicon, because such definite attribute cannot be correctly reserved for ‘only’ the members of the opposition parties, when the subsisting administration in power today in Nigeria, came into office and became a government due to party politics, as an internationally recognized democratic elected leadership. Thus, the question here is whether the ‘politicians’ from the ruling party would also be monitored and sanctioned as accordingly, at the very least, to project the image of fairness of a national ‘apolitical’ resolve, also, what of purely a non-politician such as a police officer, who decide on a personal frolic of his own and in the furtherance of aiding an appointing authority, decided to deliberately usurp the constitutionally guaranteed function of the Nigerian judiciary, by singularly proclaiming the right to ‘interpret’ the Nigerian laws, in the process, overheating the polity and distracting the nation, from the onerous task of rescuing the lost theatres of war.
Indeed, although political statements are usually ‘cutting’ and seemingly amplify our differences as a people, unfortunately, it is the ‘political differences’ that highlight the distinctive character and uniqueness of the two contesting political blocs. In fact, take the prosecution of the war in the North-East, from the criticism of the opposition, it is glaringly obvious they have a different approach to tackling the pestering menace and as it is with territorial national defence, so it is with other concrete matters of state administration and public governance, be they fighting corruption, managing the economy, laying a foundation for responsible citizenry and accountable leadership. It is the fundamental ethos upon which multi-party democracy is built, where parties are formed with different sets of agendas, values, ideals, policies and positions, in order to compete with each other and to court the votes of the people, by convincing them that their party should be the preferred option of choice.
And this other thing:
Did you remember an advertisement by the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria, where the Chief Justice of the Federation and the President of the Court of Appeal, were featured amongst many a female politician and portrayed as the ‘personal choice of appointment’ of the Nigerian president, who had acted by favorable elevating them into office in aid of greater gender equality. Well, after my open complaint about the inappropriateness of involving the head of the Nigerian judiciary in an openly partisan activity, it seems that particular campaign promotion has taken a flight into extinction, thank you Chief Justice Alooma Maryam Mukhtar for doing the needful but most especially, for being a truly honorable judge and happy retirement My Ladyship.
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