Jonathan, his “boys” and the reigning regime of “Who Will Catch Me?”, By Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú
A former governor with familial and business ties to Chad was fingered as a sponsor of terror. The next thing we saw; he became Nigeria’s roving ambassador on terrorist matters, cruising around protected, under heavy State Security cordon. His state’s airport is closed to air traffic. Even the current governor has to travel by road but the airport is routinely opened for him to “pass”. Who will catch him?
The same man, at the behest of his new political party went to Borno State with hundreds of soldiers under the supervision of a very senior military officer to organize the community for the forthcoming elections. I hasten to remind you, to correlate the deployment of soldiers for this former governor with the smoke and mirrors announcement by the Department of State Services (DSS); that this man is purportedly under investigation as a sponsor of the terror campaign ravaging his home state of Borno and the entire Northeast. Who will catch them?
At first, boys in a certain boarding school were slaughtered. Then, over 200 girls were abducted, followed by more slaughter and more abductions. Who will catch them? Helicopters drop food, arms, money and many other stuff to the terrorists; who will catch them? Retired Army Chief was fingered as a sponsor of terrorism, who will catch him? The map of Nigeria is being redrawn by terrorists; who will catch them?
A governor-elect embarked on supervised beating of a judge to no consequence. Who will catch him? In the manner of “a snake must born something long”, the same governor closed an elected state lawmaker’s filling station, arranged seven lawmakers to have him impeached and the hapless man, who belongs to the opposition, stands impeached. Who will catch our new egghead on stomach infrastructure?
Another sitting governor, fearing the likelihood of a Buhari/APC Tsunami in his home state, likened anyone who is not a member of his party to cockroaches who must be exterminated. In a video footage, he called and incited his followers to mass murder. Who will catch him?
The police, with a long history of mediocrity, corruption and partisanship, chaperoned the Deputy Speaker – Emeka Ihedioha – into the premises of the National Assembly while the speaker – Aminu Tambuwal – was locked out, causing a melee with legislators scaling fences like consummate burglars. Who will catch them?
Assistant Inspector General of Police, Joseph Mbu, the former Rivers State police chief was posted there specifically to get Governor Rotimi Amaechi impeached and teach him the lesson of his life. Even though he did not succeed, he wounded Amaechi and taught him how reckless executive recklessness can get. Who will catch him? He has since been having it all juiced up since. He was posted to Abuja where he is supposed to deal with enemies of President Goodluck Jonathan such as the BringBackOurGirls Campaigners; Who will catch them?
A certain “domestic appendage to power” was largely misunderstood at first. She was derided for being brusque and quite rough in manners. Before our eyes, she acquired the regenerative potency of an earthworm. She corralled power by defying protocol and by staging a domestic hijack of executive powers with her husband looking indifferent. Who will catch her? She became a kingmaker like no other before her and rewrote, in her own language, the veritable cannon law of bedroom politics – thou ignore the power of a woman whose husband is powerful at your own peril. If in doubt, ask Timipre Sylvia and Seriake Dickson. Rotimi Amaechi has battle scars to show for her anger. When an unelected wife of an elected official can sack an elected governor, summon cabinet level officers to “ansa”, usurp executive powers without hindrance; Who will catch her?
The DSS invaded the All Progressives Congress (APC) data centre, destroying computers, files and equipment. Maryln Ogar, the DSS spokesperson, who makes no effort at hiding her partisan credentials, told the press they acted on a petition accusing APC agents of cloning permanent voter cards (PVCs). Don’t blame Marilyn, she’s only protecting her bread and butter. Who will catch her?
If the DSS hounds powerful institutions and individuals without due process, what hope is available for the common man? But who will catch them? The military is implicated in extra-judicial killings and no open investigation is conducted. Who will catch them? Powerful persons are creating private armies and stockpiling arms. Who will catch them? Unfitted, mutinous soldiers were swiftly charged, tried and summarily sentenced to death whereas the Nyanya bombing mastermind was acquitted. Who will catch them?
This is a country where everyone is a tin god in his own corner. A certain economic saboteur and confirmed terrorist, who trained in Libya with renowned terror masterminds, threatens people with death, heckle others outside his ethnic conclave and heats up the polity and it is considered free speech. Who will catch him? He was later caught by Beninoise Gendarmes for God-knows-what offence only to be freed upon high level intervention with no case to answer. Who will catch them?
The National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) still pays subsidy on Kerosine when they are forbidden to do so. Who will catch them? At least $20billion disappeared without a trace from Crude Oil receipts and nothing happened. Who will catch them? An aviation Minister did the “needful” by misappropriating millions of dollars. She was given a soft landing, handed a chieftaincy title and is running for Senate in her district. Who will catch her? Oil theft is going up at a time when revenue from oil is falling. Who will catch them?
Nigeria is a giant web of who will catch me, the rich and powerful almost never pay for their crimes. In Nigeria, no one ever resigns in disgrace and no one in a position of power ever goes to prison for his or her misdeeds, unless he “chopped” alone. Who will catch them? People break the law in brazen ways because they are rich and powerful, with impunity as a motivator for continued violations. Who will catch them?
The culture of impunity must stop if Nigeria is to be great. There must be a conscious infusion of robust accountability into the system of governance at all levels to stop impunity. I know a lot of Nigerians benefit from this chaotic state but for Nigeria to proceed towards real development, the state and its functionaries must be held accountable for every act of omission or commission. Nigerians must be sufficiently awake to demand a balance between their traditional rights, environmental imperatives and economic objectives to prevent the social and political tensions undermining this country’s development.
Under President Jonathan, we are seeing escalating violations of the right to life and liberty by the state. Nigeria is recording increasing internal conflict and erosion of constitutional and legal guarantees. Under the umbrella, we are seeing bold patterns of systematic mobilisation of hate and divisive politics. Religion is being used subliminally to fan embers of division as never before. The “Who will catch me?” culture has become state policy.
Please, do not tell me God will catch them for you because God is not in the business of catching wrong doers on earth. He waits until they are long dead. I urge you to catch them if you can. They derived their power from you. You can withdraw it, you can withhold it, you can recall it. Let your voice be heard! Demand equity, fairness, justice, accountability and the rule of law. It is your right. Catch them! You can!
Bamidele maintains a weekly column on Politics and Socioeconomic issues every Tuesday. She is a member of Premium Times Editorial Board.