The bedrock of our democracy is the rule of law and that means we have to have an independent judiciary, judges who can make decisions independent of the political winds that are blowing. – Caroline Kennedy
What President Mohammed Buhari obviously doesn’t know or perhaps choose to ignore is that 2016 is by far a different era from 1983 when he first became a military head of state.
In a democracy, the constitution should be supreme and must be adequately upheld by every one of us because it contains those fundamental principles, system of beliefs and laws by which our dear country should be governed.
We should all be conversant with the rule of law, with our constitution; because the law is not the private property of lawyers, nor is justice the exclusive province of judges; rather, the strength of the constitution lies entirely in the determination of it citizen to defend it.
Only when every single citizen feels duty bound to do his/her share in defending the rule of law are their constitutional rights secured.
Forgive me if I am wrong; but I wasn’t even born in 1983, infact I have spent more of my life under this current democratic dispensation than with previous military regimes so as expected, I should have more understanding of the constitution than a decree, of suits and “agbadas” than khaki and uniforms.
Evidently, we are still far behind when compared to our European and American counterparts, but it is safe to say that our democracy is gradually developing and must continue to develop regardless of whoever is in power.
Mr Buhari might be the president of Nigeria currently and exerting power to himself, but that doesn’t take away the fact that he is just one citizen of Nigeria and therefore subject to the Nigerian Constitution. He has no right, whether contained in or outside the Constitution to disobey court orders; and that he has done severally and still has the guts to defend his actions.
That’s an insult on our Constitution, the very same Constitution we are supposed to defend.
With our Constitution being ridiculed by this man, personally I feel sorry for myself, for the youths of this great country, for our “heroes past” who fought hard for an independent Nigeria, but mostly for Mr Buhari himself.
Because what he seem not to understand is that his ill-advised actions can and may lead this country into a state anarchy.
Our government teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. (Louis D. Brandeis)
If Buhari would not obey a simple court order probably because he feels he has the might of the military under his control, then why should Mr Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo or any other Nigerian for that matter obey the same court orders when according the our Constitution we (Mr Buhari inclusive) are all equal before the law. If he can disobey the law then everyone can.
In a previous article, I vehemently warned that going contrary to our Constitution may give birth to “unexpected consequences”.
The precedent set by Mr President is a very dangerous one, and will definitely backfire someday. The rule of law supersedes everyone regardless of who the person is. A nation should be governed be the rule of law, not by the arbitrary decisions of a single individual; we have gone far beyond that archaic era.
This is Nigeria, not a private entity.
Should Tompolo have disobeyed a court order? Definitely no. The law is the law and must be respected.
But I wouldn’t be the one to advise him to turn himself in – no way; because if he does, what is the assurance that his right will not be trampled upon as did Dasuki’s and Nnamdi Kanu’s?
What is the probability that Buhari will not assume the position of both a prosecutor and a judge?
What are the chances that he will get a fair trial?
What are the possibilities that if he is granted bail by the court he will be allowed to leave?
What are the odds that he won’t be whisked to an undisclosed location, denied access to his lawyers, family and friends?
How are we sure that he won’t be presumed guilty on the pages of newspapers even before the case is brought before a judge?
So many questions.
But as Alan Moore did say, people shouldn’t be afraid of their government; government should be afraid of their people.
Afterall, the government is merely a servant – a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong. Its function is to obey the law, not originate them.
Lastly, it is a sad thing that one man feels he is currently the alpha and omega, but as Abigail Adams once said, arbitrary power is like most other things which are very hard, very liable to be broken.
(Simply using 1985 as a case study)