“Ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in Ekiti state, the US Consular General, F. John Bray paid a visit to Governor Ayo Fayose.The Consular is in Ekiti State to monitor the election, reports say.”https://newtelegraphonline.com/2018/07/photos-us-consular-general-visit-fayose/
That visit was the American replay of an earlier visit by a delegation of British parliamentarians to Olisah Metuh when pictures of the opposition in chains were published. (“http://dailypost.ng/2016/01/29/metuh-receives-uk-parliamentarians-says-pdp-will-defeat-apc-in-2019/). Those visits should be understood for what they were; a democratic visit, because they, the opposition are the face of democracy and an attack on them amounts to an attack on democracy….and not what they are not, an endorsement of the individuals and their party.
THE OPPOSITION THE FACE OF DEMOCRACY
In Nigeria, the opposition not the position is the face of democracy! An attack on the opposition, with instruments of state, is an attack on democracy, for the check and balancing role of the opposition is the gauge of our democracy and the value of it.
To attack the opposition, is to attack democratic values and democracy as an institution. Both the PDP and APC have used their position at the centre as a threat to democracy.
AN ATTACK AGAINST THE OPPOSITION, AN ATTACK ON DEMOCRACY
The attack on Governor Fayose, by the state is an affront on democracy, just as it was to Chris Ngige, Bola Tinubu and Rotimi Amaechi before him and Shenu Sani after them.
- To slap and kick Fayose, in his domain of electoral dominion by election, is to slap and kick democracy in the face, in its domain of electoral dominion by election called Nigeria.
- To have staved Lagos of funds (when they were in the opposition)for the development of their domain of electoral dominion by election, amounted to strangling the very existence of democracy.
- To have put Olisa Metuh in handcuffs (being the face of the opposition) was to put democracy in chains.
- To have confronted Amaechi as a seating governor in his domain of electoral dominion by election, was to confront democracy.
- To have abducted Ngige, (by the police) in his domain of electoral dominion by election, was to abduct democracy.
- To have used coercion as a weapon to get a witness to testify falsely against Shehu Sani, was to use coercion as a weapon of testimony against democracy!
In a democracy, the point must be made clear that the plurality of the opposition is the lifewire of democracy. It is that plurality the British and Americans sought to protect, because it is under threat.
THE ATTACK CONDEMNED
John Owen Nwachukwu, reported for DAILY POST under the headline:
“Ekiti election: Arewa youths attack Buhari over use of force against Gov. Fayose“……the following:
“In a statement signed and made available to DAILY POST by the National President of AYCF, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, the organization warned that the attempt to emasculate opposition parties in Ekiti had far-reaching implications for the forthcoming 2019 elections and the country’s democratic future…..“It is a smear on decorum and an international embarrassment for a serving governor elected by millions of the poor people on Ekiti to be subjected to physical attack. We condemn this Gestapo style in totality.”http://dailypost.ng/2018/07/13/ekiti-election-arewa-youths-attack-buhari-use-force-gov-fayose/amp/
“The Gestapo (GeheimeStaatspolizei) was Nazi Germany’s feared secret police force. During World War Two the Gestapo was under the direct control ofHeinrich Himmlerwho controlled all the police units within Nazi Germany.”https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/nazi-germany/the-gestapo/
On its part, “The coalition of election observers composing over 15 bodies, on Thursday, faulted police on its explanation that it dispersed a rally held by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the pavilion in Fajuyi park on Wednesday. The coalition said using tear gas and live shots to disperse the rally is undemocratic and urged the police to be more proactive“http://www.tribuneonlineng.com/154880/
FEDERAL MIGHT THE ENEMY OF DEMOCRACY:
For the Federal Government of Nigeria to descend with brute force on an elected governor, who is the principal critic of the central government, and most importantly, the face of democracy because he is the principal face of the opposition, is an attack on democracy, for democracy is a “plural political tense” and not a “singular dictatorial tense”. It should however be noted that such brutal use of force, didn’t begin with Buhari. Ngige a serving governor was abducted by the police.
THE STATE OF OUR DEMOCRACY
If democracy is a face, it would be made-up by the opposition….for in a country where the central government controls national funds, the opposition is the makeup artist that reflects the “mood” of our democracy, preventing it from either fascism or outright dictatorship.
To find out the state of our democracy, the checking point is the opposition and not the position…….the government.
Emmanuel Aziken, Innocent Anaba, Wahab Abdallah, Dapo Akinrefon, Charles Kumolu, Gbenga Oke, Ikechukwu Nnochiri and Josephine Igbinovia, reported under the headline:
“Ekiti 2014 Rally: Soldiers stop Amaechi, Oshiomhole”, the following:
“The APC governors who were to join other party stakeholders for a rally in Ado-Ekiti on the last day of campaigning for tomorrow’s gubernatorial election were either physically stopped from entering the state or stopped from leaving their states“https://www.google.com.ng/amp/s/www.vanguardngr.com/2014/06/ekiti-2014-rally-soldiers-stop-amaechi-oshiomhole/amp/
MONTHLY FEDERATION ACCOUNT ALLOCATION THE ECONOMIC THREAT TO DEMOCRACY
In Nigeria, the central government controls the resources, state governments (each month) go cap in hand to the Federal Government, for handouts, this is the first political economic threat to democracy. It is under this political economic environment, that democracy is in a state of depreciating mortal survival.
“The monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting has again ended in a stalemate as federal and state governments rejected the revenue figures submitted by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for May.“https://www.google.com.ng/amp/s/guardian.ng/news/again-faac-meeting-ends-in-stalemate/amp
THREATS TO DEMOCRACY FROM OBASANJO TO BUHARI
Josiah Oluwole reported on July 11, 2018 for the online news medium, Premium Times, under the headline: “Police speak on attack on Fayose“, the following……
“The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Operations, Habilal Joshak, has explained the role of his officers in the harassment of the state governor, Ayo Fayose, on Wednesday……Mr Joshak said no rally would be allowed any more in the state unless expressly approved by the police“https://www.premiumtimesng.com
The events in Ekiti is a reversal of roles. In the 2018 example, federal might was used against a seating governor in his state as it happened to Chris Ngige.
The nationonline, under the headline:
“Obasanjo, Jonathan used police against governors, says Senate panel”, reported:
“Dr. Chris Ngige as the then Governor of Anambra State suffered abduction and when he regained freedom and attempted to castigate the powers that be at the federal level, his security details were withdrawn on January 2, 2005.“http://thenationonlineng.net/obasanjo-jonathan-used-police-governors-says-senate-panel/
- Without a state of emergency in place.
- The Deputy Inspector General of Police decided the rally by a seating governor in his state was unauthorised?
- The governor is the chief security officers of the state.
- But a senior police officer from the police headquarters took over the state.
- That amounts to an attempted Coup d’état and…..
- A clear coup de grâce.
A coup de grâce is the last fatal blow given to an enemy.
That coup de grâce against democracy, was the mortal blow to democracy Fayose got. It was the motivation that drove US Consular General, F. John Bray to Ekiti, to feel the pulse of our democracy.
Murtala Adewale, reported for the Guardian on July 5th 2018, under the headline:
“United States agency predicts electoral violence in Nigeria before 2019 elections”.…the following:
“Findings conducted by United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on electoral violence risk assessment in Nigeria have suggested possible escalation of electoral violence before the 2019 general elections. The outcome of the U.S. agency’s research findings equally identified Rivers, Kano, Kaduna and Ekiti states, among others, with high risk of political violence in Nigeria.“https://www.google.com.ng/amp/s/guardian.ng/news/united-states-agency-predicts-electoral-violence-in-nigeria-before-2019-elections/amp
John Bray’s visit to Ekiti, was in the light of the research by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). The state of the governor’s neck is a fitting illustration of the state of our democracy, Mr Bray saw first hand.
“USIP is America’s nonpartisan institute to promote national security and global stability by reducing violent conflicts abroad.”https://www.usip.org
Under Obasanjo Ige was fired for abducting a seating governor, but under Buhari, it is yet to be seen what action would be taken against Habilal Joshak, after all his boss, the Inspector General of Police, was disobedient to the orders of Buhari their commander in Chief and got away with it. Will Joshak end up like Ige before him or his boss Idris?