Posted by Garba Ahmad, Kaduna | 21 July 2014 | 4,056 times
Former Nigerian Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.), has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to pull the brakes on his administration’s runaway train of impunity in the interest of Nigeria’s survival and the sustenance of the nation’s democracy.
In a statement he issued today in Kaduna, Gen. Buhari said the recent induced impeachment or threats of impeachment of governors of opposition states, just to decapitate the opposition, does not augur well for the survival of a fragile nation like Nigeria or the survival of its tenderfoot democracy.
He said the developments in the polity have become an unwelcome distraction for the nation’s ongoing survival battle against the terror group Boko Haram, which has put Nigeria on tenterhooks, with innocent citizens being daily mowed down at the times and places of the group’s chosen point, and nearly 300 school girls spending their fourth month in precarious captivity.
Part of the statement reads: “Whether or not President Goodluck Jonathan is behind the gale of impeachment or the utilisation of desperate tactics to suffocate the opposition and turn Nigeria into a one-party state, what cannot be denied is that they are happening under his watch, and he cannot pretend not to know, since that will be akin to hiding behind one finger.”
Buhari disclosed that he has spoken to President Jonathan privately in his capacity as a former Head of State on several occasions, but that the strategy has not yielded positive fruits. He said he cannot, therefore, fail to do what is expected of him as a former Head of State to help rescue the nation in times of great trouble and palpable uncertainty just because he is an opposition politician.
Continuing Buhari said: “'History will not be kind to me if I sit back while things turn bad, just so that no one will accuse me of partisanship. Yes, I am a politician. Yes, I am in the opposition. Yes, there is the tendency for my statement to be misconstrued as that of a politician rather than a statesman. But I owe it as matter of duty and honour, and in the interest of our nation, to speak out on the dangerous trajectory that our nation is heading.
“I can say, in all sincerity, that I have seen it all, as an ordinary citizen, a military officer, a state Governor, a Minister, a Head of State, a man who has occupied many other sensitive posts and a politician. I have been a close participant and witness to Nigeria’s political history since independence in 1960.
“Our country has gone through several rough patches, but never before have I seen a Nigerian President declare war on his own country as we are seeing now. Never before have I seen a Nigerian President deploy federal institutions in the service of partisanship as we are witnessing now. Never before have I seen a Nigerian President utilise the common wealth to subvert the system and punish the opposition, all in the name of politics. Our nation has suffered serious consequences in the past for egregious acts that are not even close to what we are seeing now. It is time to pull the brakes.”
He advised President Jonathan to tarry a while, and ponder the impact of recent events in the polity, under his watch, on the survival of the nation and the sustenance of its democracy.
The former Head of State said subverting the Constitution of the Federal Republic in the desperation to impeach a state governor or deploying the institutions of state, some of which are symbols of the country’s unity, just to kick an out-of-favour state governor in the stomach can only breed anarchy and lead the nation down the slippery slope to chaos.
According to him, “The dangerous clouds are beginning to gather and the vultures are circling, and these have manifested in Nasarawa where the ordinary people have defied guns and tanks to protest the plan to impeach Gov. Umaru Tanko Al-Makura in a repeat of the bitter medicine forced down the throat of Gov. Murtala Nyako.
“The people’s protest in Nasarawa is a sign of what to come if the federal authorities continue to target opposition state Governors for impeachment. In the long run, the impeachment weapon will be blunted. Positions will become more hardened on both sides and Nigeria and Nigerians will become the victims of arrested governance and possible anarchy.”
Gen. Buhari said President Jonathan should also remember that no democracy can thrive or survive without a virile opposition, hence it will amount to a man cutting his nose to spite his face for anyone to embark on a journey to decapitate the opposition, as the current central government is doing.
He said a man of power must realise that he cannot always do things just because he could do them.
“I, along with many other patriotic Nigerians, fought for the unity and survival of this country. Hundreds of patriotic souls perished in the battle to keep Nigeria one. The blood of many of our compatriots helped to ensure the birth of the democracy we are practising today,” he said, adding:
“Let no one, whether the leader or the led, the high or the low, a member of the ruling or the opposition do anything to torpedo the system. Let no one, whether on the altar of personal ambition or pretension to higher patriotic tendencies, do anything that can detonate the keg of gunpowder on which the nation is sitting. It is time for all concerned to spare a thought for the ordinary citizens who have yet to see their hopes, dreams and aspirations come to reality, within the general context of nationhood.”
•Photo shows Gen. Buhari.
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