Slow democracy: Buhari encouraging impunity, say NBA, SAN
The Nigerian Bar Association and a senior advocate of Nigeria on Wednesday berated the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for his comment on Tuesday that democracy was to slow for his liking.
They said the President was encouraging impunity by such statements.
Buhari at a ceremony where his aides and some members of staff presented a card to him on his 77th birthday, compared the anti-corruption war he prosecuted as a military head of state between 1983 and 1985 with the current anti-graft war.
The retired major general, who recalled how he jailed some politicians for graft within a short time, said democracy was too slow.
Politicians jailed by Buhari as a head of state included the late Governor of Ogun State, Olabisi Onabanjo; his counterpart in the defunct Bendel State, the Ambrose Alli, and a former Anambra State governor, Jim Nwobodo.
The NBA National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kunle Edun, in an interview with The PUNCH, said statements like the ones by Buhari encouraged the culture of disobedience to court orders.
The association said it was unfortunate that Buhari, in a modern time, could still be fond of the memories of his actions as the head of state during his military regime in the early 1980s when “justice was turned upside down.”
It added that Buhari as a major beneficiary of the democratic system and being the President of Nigeria, “should be espousing democratic ethos and values where the will of the people should always be respected”.
It said no country ever succeeded where “there is an official policy of repression of the rule of law.”
Edun said on behalf of the NBA, “Military regimes are aberrations in modern times. The institutions that represent the will and expression of the people which are the legislature and the judiciary are usually the first victims when a military coup happens.
“No country has ever succeeded where there is an official policy of repression of the rule of law.
“The President is a major beneficiary of the Nigerian democratic system and being the President of Nigeria, he should be espousing democratic ethos and values where the will of the people should always be respected.
“A regime that glorifies the nation’s sad history of military rule, encourages disobedience of court orders and subjects the rule of law to the dictates of what the government may capriciously consider as national security, is a drawback for modern democracy and makes the country a mockery in the comity of nations.”
Also a lawyer and activist, Inibehe Effiong, said it did not come as a surprise as the major general had always demonstrated his aversion for democracy and the rule of law.
Buhari’s disposition spells doom for Nigeria’s democracy – SAN
Also, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Norrison Quakers, said Buhari’s disposition spelt trouble for Nigeria’s democracy.
He noted that the retired major general’s body language, rather than the constitution, was what had been guiding the behaviour of security agencies.
Quakers said, “We have a President who hasn’t learnt to submit himself to the provisions of the constitution and the constitution is being threatened because we have a President who is finding it difficult to be directed by the book.
“I read the comment. If the aspiration and will of the people to be democratic and embrace a civil administration, where rules and regulations should be strictly adhered, become a problem for the President, then we have a problem. It appears that the President would rather have a martial law; rather than a civilian administration that is structured.”