Tuesday, 8 July 2014
WHAT DID THEY SAY?
By Sharon Faliya Cham
They said "the worst democratic government is better than the best military regime."
And did you believe them?
If you believe them I don't, and here is why:
1. All the military coups in Nigeria, except that of 1966 and 1976, were bloodless. But even when conducting local councils election in Nigeria civilians will murder people they perceive as hostile to their ambition and agenda. In fact, many civilian politicians in Nigeria always arm their thugs with sophisticated weapons to kill people, and to snatch election materials for falsification of election results!
The number of people killed in one local government election alone in Nigeria have already surpassed the number of people killed by military coupists in 1966, 1976 and any other coup that had any loss of life combined together!
2. Military regimes in Nigeria united Nigerians more than the civilian regimes. For example, Muslim military rulers posted Christian military officers to be governors of Muslim dominated states like Bauchi, Gongola, Kano, Borno, Gombe, etc. And in the same manner they posted Muslims to be governors of some Christian dominated states, and nobody complained. But today, corrupt civilian rulers and their evil collaborators in religious corridors will always emphasize ethno-religious sentiments for voters manipulations, which always leave their supporters looking foolish and stupid because they end up looting, looting and looting coupled with promoting demonic agendas that will help sustain their looting penchant.
Here, I must not fail to point out the fact that most church going tribes in northern Nigeria accuse all the former military rulers from the north and all northern leaders that are Muslims of marginalising them, but I find it cheap just as much as the allegations contain a lot of untruth. If those Muslim military rulers or northern leaders, as they are often called, have wanted marginalising northern minorities then I wonder how they could have posted Christians to be governors in states like Kano, Borno, Bauchi, Gombe and the old Gongola state. The current Plateau state governor, Pastor Jonah David Jang, who is now among the frontline ethno-religious bigots in Nigeria, was posted to be military governor in a Muslim dominated state by a Muslim military Head of State, and thereafter posted to govern Benue state. So also Professor Jerry Gana who is equally a frontline champion among those who always work to divide the people along ethno-religious lines was made what he is today by Generals IBB and Abacha but today he is among the most divisive elements in Nigeria, always leading the orchestra choir of ethno-religious sentiments and sectionalism.
If it were democracy all the way someone should kindly tell me how Christian soldiers that were of ethnic minorities could have become governors in predominantly Muslim states! Tell me how people like Colonel Yohanna Madaki, Col. John Madaki, Brigadier Chris Garuba, Col. Atukum, Lawrence Onoja, Group Captain Dan Suleiman, Wing Commander James Yana Kalau, Brigadier Dominic Oneya, Brigadier David Mark, Col. John Shagaya, etc, etc, etc, could have governed Muslim states. At best they could have been governors only in Benue, Kaduna and Plateau states if it were democracy, and even at that, how many years will they take in a queue to become governors, plus would other tribes in their own states even allow them become governors through popular votes? However, it is common sight these days to see people like Jonah Jang and Lawrence Onoja leading the vocals of the marginalisation choir! As a matter of fact, there were more Christian military governors and cabinet ministers under Muslim military Heads of State, and most of them were from ethnic minorities. In fact, when General Sani Abacha created Gombe state in 1996 the first governor he posted there was Wing Commander Joseph Orji, an Igbo and a Christian! Talk about national unity in practice! However, I mustn't forget to add that if General Sani Abacha were alive today, and wants to contest for the Presidency, the issues that will be brought up against him will not be about corruption or competence or incompetence but wild propaganda about an Islamic agenda because of his religious belief and the usual stuff about marginalisation of ethnic minorities.
Anyone who knows how to be a hypocrite or unthoughtful will be deceiving themselves that the Muslim Heads of State that posted these people to be governors in Muslim dominated states harbour an Islamic agenda against Nigeria, which is as baffling as it is ludicrous as much as it is laughable. At its best and its worst, it is mere falsehood and propaganda by entrenched bigots who want to perpetuate and perpetrate their bigotry that neither does them any good nor for anybody else.
Tell me how military rulers who had the military power to decree an Islamic agenda by fiat but didn't do so could turn round and do so in a democracy where every decision must be vetted and backed by the legislature and other interest blocs?
Pretty illogical, isn't it?
3. No military regime in Nigeria ever stole 20 billion dollars per annum. The worst case scenario was the charge against the IBB regime of looting 12.8 billion dollars in his eight years tenure or the 5 billion dollars Abacha was said to have looted in his five years regime. But now civilians have converted public funds into their personal estates or ATMs and do "not give a damn" about it! Shamelessness and dishonour have all become fine art, and the more shameless and dishonourable you are the more you get applauded by stinking hands from the rotten bodies of walking corpses that assume their walking ability to mean normality!
4. Violent crimes like armed robbery and illicit drugs trade were effectively checked by military regimes, but civilian regimes not only multiplied armed robberies and illicit drugs trade, they also added kidnapping, militancy, cultism, children and women trafficking, baby factories to produce babies for occultic use, and terrorism! Add to it the unsavoury fact that under corrupt civilian dictators, kids as many as close to 300 could be abducted at once by bandits in areas supposedly under the patrol of some 20, 000 soldiers!
5. No military ruler ever shut down any airport so that anybody should not fly except if there was a coup, but today corrupt civilian dictators command soldiers to shut down airports so that other civilian politicians in the opposition should not fly, or alternatively if they are already on air they should not land so that if the aircraft has insufficient fuel it should crash and kill them, and not only that, we have even reached the stage whereby a corrupt civilian dictator can order soldiers to stop some governors from entering another state by road, and the soldiers could even pointedly tell a governor that they would shoot him if he didn't comply! Yes, the same soldiers that "Boko Haram" thugs freely pass through their checkpoints in north-eastern Nigeria! Yes, the same soldiers who cannot rescue 276 poor schoolgirls from the evil clutches of some bandits! Yes, these same soldiers are the ones whose checkpoints are only effective against governors that the corrupt civilian dictator hates! Yes, the same soldiers that are chasing bombs and "Boko Haram" in newspaper pages and newspaper vans are the ones that are so effective against the rule of law and are also effective as "campaign managers" in a governorship election in a little state like Ekiti in south-west Nigeria!
6. It was never heard that Nigerian military rulers withdrew the security cover of any of their colleagues so that they can be assassinated, but now corrupt civilian dictators withdraw the security cover of civilian governors opposed to them so that they can be easily attacked by a killer squad!
7. Military regimes always present national budgets to the nation on January 1 each year, and they always try to implement it up to about 80% to 90%. But now, corrupt civilian dictators present budgets anytime they like, and they hardly implement more than 30% of their budgets, and you never ever know what has happened to the remaining money!
8. It was said that military regimes were against media freedom, and they even locked up some journalists and occasionally locked up some newspaper houses. That was true. But now, under civilian regimes, I have lost count of journalists that have been assassinated or abducted because of investigative journalism, and now we even see corrupt civilian dictators ordering soldiers to look for "Boko Haram" inside the pages of newspapers and hinder their distribution because "Boko Haram" are hiding inside the pages! Hahaha....
O yes, I remember vividly that a frontline investigative journalist, Mr. Dele Giwa the founder and publisher of Newswatch weekly news magazine, was assassinated through a letter bomb during the General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida regime in 1986. But the point am making is, several journalists have also been murdered in the course of this pseudo-democracy in Nigeria. So, what's the difference?
9. Under military regimes, people were known to march on the streets to protest against bad socio-economic policies of government. Student unions were known to be vibrant and radical so much that Comrade Labaran Maku, the President of the University of Jos Students Union way back in time could lead students to riot on the streets and even burn and destroy both public and private structures. But now, under civilian dictatorships, the police and "Boko Haram" could be deployed to frustrate any protest and Labaran Maku could tag the protesters as members of the opposition parties who don't see anything good in the government of the day!
10. Under military regimes, wives of rulers never ever invited anyone for questioning. But now, under a corrupt civilian dictatorship, the wife of the President can hold court and illegally invite persons for questioning over something she has no power to exercise!
11. During military regimes, no military ruler ever appointed the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA) and Chief of the State Security Service (SSS) from the same religion. But now, under a corrupt civilian dictatorship, it has happened because of an agenda known only to the appointer and appointees!
12. Under military regimes, we have never ever heard an instance whereby accounts of a state government will be frozen for personal political vendetta, but now, under a corrupt civilian dictatorship, a drunken tyrant can just wake up one morning and order the EFCC to freeze the accounts of a state because he doesn't like the governor, or because the governor has factually exposed the truth about an ongoing genocide couched as War Against Terrorism but of which it is actually the "terrorists" that are having a field day killing people daily while uprooting their towns and villages!
13. We have never ever heard any military ruler training a secret killer squad abroad to assassinate one thousand people, but we have now heard it under a corrupt civilian dictatorship, and the signs are all there to see!
Oops! I almost forgot that General Sani Abacha was accused of having a killer squad named Strike Force, which was believed to have murdered Mrs. Kudirat M.K.O. Abiola. But between him and the one with a long list of one thousand people, who is deadlier?
Anyway, note that thousands of people from just a particular part of the country have already died, and are still dying from attacks by what they want us to believe as "Boko Haram"!
14. During military regimes, no cabinet minister dared use public funds to purchase private bulletproof exotic cars nor even spend billions of naira on private jets. But now, under a corrupt civilian dictator, a minister can spend millions of dollars on just two exotic cars while another can also spend billions of naira on private jets and still enjoy the protection of the corrupt civilian dictator!
15. No Nigerian military ruler ever traveled abroad on official function with outrageous numbers of delegations, but now under a corrupt civilian dictatorship, Nigeria's delegations that usually accompany the dictator always surpass that of any country several times over, which always results in waste of public funds!
16. During military regimes, universities and colleges were never shut down beyond a month or two due to strikes over funding, but now under corrupt civilian dictators universities and colleges can be shut down for up to a year due to strikes over poor funding while the corrupt rulers will be busy spending public monies on private jets, private luxurious mansions, exotic holidays and shopping sprees overseas!
17. We have never ever heard any military ruler in the history of this country dropping charges of financial corruption involving hundreds of billions of naira against anyone, but now our corrupt civilian dictators can just wake up one morning and announce State Pardon for notorious thieves and even drop proven charges of financial thefts against certain persons for their selfish political gains!
18. During military regimes there were only two arms of government - the executive and the judiciary; there was no legislative arm to make laws and to perform oversight over the executive. But now, under corrupt civilian dictatorships, the legislative arms of government have rendered themselves useless by basically becoming rubber stamps to the whims and caprices of the corrupt civilian dictators, which makes the legislative arm as good as absent as was the case during military regimes!
In other words, the legislative arms of government that were supposed to ensure checks and balances to institute accountability and probity in governance at all levels have failed woefully in Nigeria. What we have masquerading as lawmakers in Nigeria are a mere bunch of greedy, corrupt and intellectually lazy buffoons fawning and kowtowing to every thieving dictator also masquerading as the head of any tier of government!
19. And what is the difference between soldiers who just walk up to the seats of government power and seize power under the barrel of their guns and civilians who commandeer soldiers and other security organs to violently rig elections? They both used force, right? In other words, they are both dictatorships without legitimacy conferred by votes from the public, right? The 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections under reference here.
20. The military regimes of General Gowon, General IBB and General Abacha were accused of "not honouring their promises" to organize elections to hand over power to civilians. But what is their difference with dishonourable civilians who will sit in a room and trash out a power sharing agreement to alternate presidential political power between the north and the south, but when it is time to honour their collective agreement the ones in opportunistic positions will breach their own agreements without shame but with brazen impunity and dead conscience? They will tell you that the nation's constitution is supreme and that it guarantees them the right to contest, but they will not tell you that the same constitution has not forbidden people or parties or organizations from making mutual agreements that will engender inclusiveness and peace in the polity!
21. Some critics will usually say that the constitution handed over to civilians by the military is not a reflection of the will of the Nigerian people because the framers of the constitution were not chosen by the Nigerian publics. But what is the difference between that type and the attempt to write another constitution wherein a civilian dictator will chose majority of delegates that suit his fancy? Example, no delegate in the so called National Conference organized by President Jonathan was directly chosen by the Nigerian publics. Consider also that General Babangida's Constituent Assembly of 1988 had 563 members that were also not chosen by the Nigerian publics whereas President Jonathan's conference has 492 members also not directly chosen by Nigerians. Which one is more representative? Also, if the two were to have produced a constitution each, which one of the constitutions would have been written by "We The People"? Who voted for the writers to write a constitution for "We The People"? What is their difference?
22. Finally, which type brings more psychological trauma? Armed soldiers that seize political power because they bear arms or 'bloody civilians' who arm their thugs and miscreants with smuggled weapons to violently rig elections and then rule with illegitimate mandates, and then be arrogantly and boastfully lying against God that God gave them power?
That's why even if dictatorship were to be the form of governance in nations, at least benevolent dictatorship will be better than the corrupt and selfish dictatorship that is malevolent.
Do you still believe them when they say "the worst democratic government is better than the best military regime"?
On a final note, if what Nigeria is currently facing under a so called democratic regime can be attributed to democracy, then does democracy really serve Nigeria any good? And does the rubbish going on in Nigeria in the name of democracy do justice to the definition of democracy?
Countries like China, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar and Libya have functioned very well under benevolent dictatorships, and, in fact, most of the great nations of yesterday and today grew from the roots of benevolent dictatorships, and, of course, America, Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, France and Australia are good examples of countries developed under functional democracies even though some of them had their successful foundations laid by benevolent dictatorships.
Therefore, what does Nigeria really need to be properly run?
But let me contradict myself a little bit to say that democracy is good, but the reason democracy has failed us in Nigeria is we have allowed people who should have remained shoeless working as touts in motor parks to get into our nation's driving seat, and after sitting on the seat they could not bear the honour and glorious aura of the seat, which could have probably overwhelmed their sense of propriety and sobriety, and, in the end, their sense of unworthiness and inferiority complex has compelled them to think they can only assert authority and leadership by being bullish, and for anyone who stands in their way they consider such persons as fodder to be chewed by the bull, and that's why State Terrorism has become a weapon in the hands of such criminal bullies.
But then, there are thorns that cannot be chewed by the bull, and that's why corrupt malevolent dictators cannot always have their way without stiff resistance from persons eternally committed to principles of honour and integrity.
We as a nation all bear collective guilt in the failure of democracy in the sense that we have thrown overboard all the requirements that are standard in leadership recruitment. Rather we invented for ourselves factors and requirements borne out of our bitter souls that engender hatred for others and by extension for the nation, for when you hate fellow citizens because of their geography or what they believe in instead of their cultivated capability, competence and merit, then you are merely demonstrating your hatred for the nation, because you are all still bound together under same social conditions without exception.
At the end of it all you will merely have a nation ruled and governed by crime bosses instead of our very best citizens that are symbols of propriety, sobriety, honour and integrity, which becomes a mockery to your professed faith; your values and your belief systems for being part of the charade, and if you still have any modicum of conscience and self appraisal left, you will just realize that the criminal society which you helped to install has flatly deflated your honour, prestige and ego.
Ask a young virgin that was brutally raped by an outlaw how she felt after she was violated. That's how you should feel by being part of the establishment of a society run by crime bosses.
But then, who will save Nigeria?
I am scared the current roguish Transformation Agenda has breathed some very poisonous air that is not Fresh Air at all into the nostrils and lungs of our once vibrant and courageous military, and now they seem to have everything in common with the purveyor of the morally deficient agenda.
Somehow, the solution lies with the people being buffeted left, right and center by the same rogues they adore and cheer.