BY SEGUN SHOWUNMI
Who is beating the Drums of Implosion in Nigeria? There is a Yoruba adage that says when you see the water skeeter bug, an insect of the gerridae family, dancing on the waters; someone or some people are beating the drums deep under the water. One is compelled to think and ask this question in the face of the hard to explain needless missteps of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.
First, it was the El-Zakzaky issue that was carelessly allowed to get out of hand. Undone with that, now it is the not so well-considered gestapo arrest of Omoyele Sowore.
It is not in all situations that the application of force as a first option is clever nor is it in all situations an appropriate response to issues. Some of these challenges can and must be better handled. Granted, no government alive to its responsibilities would tolerate the call to revolution in a country, but have the handlers of this government given thoughts to the idea that perhaps they have walked into a trap set for them by Sowore and his friends? That perhaps that was the reaction they hoped to get to bring massive attention to whatever issues they were raising?
Is it a government that has Boko Haram to contend with and has not done justice to the crisis, a government that can’t solve farmers herdsmen clashes, or a government that, under its nose, has allowed an entire race, the Fulani, to become stigmatised by its inappropriate handling of the activities of criminal elements who are now hiding under the guise of a race, that people would fold their arms and watch?
What exactly does Buhari and his government think they are doing and can they not see that they are allowing too many crises that start as small concerns escalate to huge and complex problems just because they seem to think that excessive use of state powers is the first option and only option in all situations and under all circumstances?
Do I blame them? No. Those who disdain the courts and have zero respect for court judgments or for the independence of the Judiciary cannot in all honesty know that modern societies run better on creative information management and rule of law; or that this does not make Government weak. They do not know that this actually makes Government appropriate in the handling of issues, and as such, better able to get citizens’ buy in into the numerous challenges that contemporary societies face.
Can someone please explain that the single perspective instinct can make every problem appear to a carpenter as a nail needing a hammer? But that is not just incorrect, it is totally false, it adds to the problem rather than solve it. A multi-ethnic, multi-religious country requires deep thinking and a completely better approach to solving vexing issues, especially in a democracy.
Systematic over-use of state powers, coupled with disregard for court orders, will make a despot out of any leader, and slowly but surely, as the international community begins to take interest, with sanctions rolling in, travel bans, and eventually a whole lot more, that government will become a pariah state.
How does that help the fragile situation our country is in right now? May the drummers beating the drum for the water skeeter bug, please stop! Democracy works on the Rule of Law and it helps if the Judiciary understands that it must assert its independence and must do so justly in a manner that gives hope to all.