The respect for the rule of law has got to be sacrosanct. If you aspire to the number one office in the land, then your respect for law and Nigeria being bigger than your ambition must be evidently displayed in your utterances and more importantly how you live your life, every day.
General Buhari has to apologise to Nigeria and Nigerians for participating in or benefitting from a coup. The apology is necessary because he now has the benefit of hindsight to know that his actions were regrettable regardless of the nobility of his intentions. If any coup plotter/beneficiary was dissatisfied with the way those in government were conducting public affairs, they could have shed their uniform and contested for public office in order to conduct affairs of government in, what is in their view, the appropriate manner. Coup is never a resort let alone the last one. So can General Buhari make us aware of every step he and his comrades took within the ambit of law to bring about change of government attitude during the Shagari regime? Who did they sue to court? Did he or his comrades attempt to shed military uniform and join a political party to seek elective office? If the issue wasn’t important enough for them to shed uniform, who did they encourage from the civil populace to seek office and correct anomalies? Did they publish any article or whistleblow on the government to sensitise the nation on what was wrong and how it could be corrected or was option 1 always a coup d’état? If as it is claimed by some that Buhari was only a beneficiary, who did he prosecute for organising the coup if he respects the law as much as he claims?
On the certificate saga, the General lied on oath about the whereabouts of his certificate. Personally I don’t care about the certificate itself as to me he’s qualified by experience. What I do care about is that he swore an oath that is now proving to be untruthful. I’m not a legal expert but my understanding is that lying under oath is perjury and perjury is a criminal offence. Now that he’s aware that he may have committed perjury, how should the General handle the matter? In his statement on the issue, he said “I would have dismissed it for what it is – sheer mischief…” Are you shocked? Perjury=Mischief – from an anti corruption czar that is a presidential candidate? Or does he not appreciate the gravity of perjury? So when or if he becomes president, what aspects of the rule of law will he dismiss as mischief?
In previous presidential campaigns, General Buhari did not have the quality of people he now has at his disposal running his campaign and so makes clear what has changed. Question is, has General Buhari changed personally? If yes, to what extent? Is it extensive enough to deliver the “change” mantra?
In January, Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola accused Jimi Agbaje of the criminal offence of tax evasion. Ideally, we should only find this out after a good investigative journalist unearths it from court filings, but here we are. Jimi Agbaje on his part reacted with surprise at the unprovoked attack but went on to produce a document purportedly signed by the Lagos commissioner for finance commending him for fulfilling his tax obligations. Is Jimi Agbaje’s reaction commensurate to that of someone that has just been accused of a criminal offence? Now consider the profile of those involved in this matter. Governor Fashola is a SAN and Jimi Agbaje is the main opposition in the contest for the Lagos State gubernatorial election. Governor Fashola may possibly have perverted the course of justice by revealing the matter in the court of public opinion. Does the governor’s action follow the normal procedure for dealing with criminal offences against the State? Or is the procedure of dealing with tax evasion that the governor announces offender’s names at conferences? Why should Jimi Agbaje be treated any different to other evaders? Are their actions not reminiscent of that of boys that belong to the same sorority?
Politicians as a matter of course are like parrots, they say a lot and have much to say. However, we need to pay more attention to what they don’t say and be better at reading between the lines so that when a politician tells you “heads I win, tails you lose”, you’ll be able to tell when you’ve been truly buggered.