“Buharism” as challenge to Nigeria’s democracy, by Ewere Zion Emmanuel

buhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari was voted into power in the April 2015 general election and sworn in on May 29 of the same year. On that day, he made a well celebrated speech in which he left Nigerians with a profound and reassuring line: “I belong to nobody and I belong to everybody.” This was clearly indicative of his intent to uphold the sovereignty of the people during the period of his administration.

In Nigeria, political powers are vested in the three arms of government to wit: the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. None of this trinity is higher than the other by the principle of separation of powers.  The one can check the other’s activities to prevent abuse of power.
Since Buhari’s assumption of office, the state of the nation has been in a very critical situation such that proactive, creative and innovative strategies are required to stabilize and save it.   The president is the poster boy of his administration.  Everything revolves round him: his body language and what he stands for and/or represents.  However, the quest for the rejuvenation of the nation’s economy is the desire of the people in whom sovereignty resides.
It is a fact that the previous administration was made a butt of ascetic criticism for the perceived maladministration of the polity.  While this was on, the new government requested time to fix things.  However, after six months, agitators were impatient to ask what level of progress has been made in the direction of solving our economic problem, which was getting increasingly difficult to deal with.. But some fellows ignorantly argued that it was too early in the day to ask such a question.
Now this is the sad narrative of how democracy in our nation started facing some cancerous implantations.  The ruling party intended to have a person as the senate president whom they could use to achieve their predetermined agenda, without stress, but an ambitious man, called Bukola Saraki, with a wider influence, orchestrated his way to the position with the help of the opposition party.
The executive sought a way to bring this new head of the legislature under its subtle control by instigating some criminal charges against him in an unpopular institution called the Code of Conduct Bureau for false asset declaration. Knowing the implications of such alleged false asset declaration, the senate president was forced to bend to the directions and control of the executive. Now this allegation stands like blackmail in achieving fast results in the senate.
It will be recalled that on 12 October, 2016, I wrote on the arrest of judges, showing my clear position that I am not in support of corruption in the judiciary but that I would like to categorically state that the outcome of the arrest has produced some discrepancies in the nature of democracy.
Some judges immediately refused handling some top cases involving the executive as such could bring about their victimization in the selective probe for corruption.  Now the separation of power, in a proper democratic state, has been injured and infected, thereby releasing some wild powers. Most importantly the non-partisanship and independence of the judiciary become challenged.
The executive arm of government at the federal level now holds some instrument o =f blackmail over the other two arms of government, thereby seemingly throwing the nation back to the dark years of dictatorship.  Whereas, it is axiomatic that he who comes to equity must come with a clean hand, the same executive, indicting the other arms, is not itself clean, as there have been proven cases of violation of various court orders by the same executive, which unarguably, is contempt. 
I write this as a wakeup call on Nigerians to watch out as the executive arm of government is growing with wild powers and is getting out of control like an untamed dragon, spreading its fire without control, with no arm of government willing to be burnt in this crazy process.
And the only way out is for the judges that have not soiled their hands in the dirt of corruption to stand up for justice and deliver sound judgments whether in favour of or against the executive as nothing can be used against them.  Being a judge is a divine calling and a judge should even be glad going to jail for upholding the cause of justice.  
Now, how can the masses know or rate the progress of a government? This was elucidated by my late Prof. J.D Yalaju (dean faculty of law as he then was). In his lecture, four guides were produced to ascertain a functional government which included security, infrastructure, welfare and employment
In the aspect of security, it is very obvious that we are still contending with boko haram, militancy and various crimes. During the inaugural speech of the president, he stated that the military headquarters would be relocated to Borno State and everyone thought that was the end to boko haram; little did we know that it was the beginning of the end to media reports of insurgencies. The “shift” of office has not translated into security as there is continuing violence in the northeast.
Concerning infrastructure, we await the implementation of the budget of 2016 even though the year is coming to an end. Certain anticipated development in the country continues to seem a mirage as the learned and hardworking Minister for works, Tunde Fasola (SAN),  is yet to prove his competency in that regard.  Nigerians are desperate for rapid infrastructure development from this government and actualisation of the manifesto of the ruling party.  
Now in the area of welfare, I will quote a friend on facebook, Anthony C. Igwilo, who wrote thus “fuel price is gradually increasing; cost of goods and services are sky rocketing on a daily basis; electricity problems have gone worse; security is still a major problem; houses burgled daily; cars are snatched daily; travellers robbed and citizens killed daily for doing nothing wrong. And Nigerians are not talking …” 
This is an open declaration of his innermost pains. One knows the truth in the aspect of welfare and one really urges the government to set up a price regulating agency to curtail the unnecessary increase in prices of commodities.
Finally talking about employment, one hears or reads in the news the employment of thousands of person without seeing anyone in reality being part of such. Companies are retrenching workers on daily basis and the crystallizing economic policies are not conducive for businesses to thrive. The government must restrategise and change policies that are frustrating businesses in Nigeria.  Government must create an atmosphere for entrepreneurship to blossom so that we could have a better economy and less dependence on the government.
In conclusion, this is not to incite the public against this government.  Far from it!  It is  rather a clarion call on  Nigerians to stand for the interest of justice, support the activities of true democrats and inculcate a sense of responsibility in all the arms of government to encourage one another against condoning corrupt practices, as change should, as it were, begin with them.  
Ewere Zion, Esq., is a practising lawyer with Advocare Lawyers, Maitama, Abuja and human rights activist. 

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