THE LAST STRAW: The Sacking of The CJN
By Nze Kanayo Chukwumezie
The Nigerian political landscape is now fully charged like I predicted on Monday 21/01/19. More intrigues will play out.
Because I have been forced out to the political arena and no longer sitting down and watching, let me wear my binoculars and as a trained Social Scientist look at two critical issues in our political landscape at this moment.
I will not go into technicalities or quote documents and authorities. I will simply in everyday terms dissect them.
First is the issue of the health status of our President, General Buhari.
This has been an issue that has dotted his almost four years in office starting from the first year.
He has traveled out for medical treatment more than for official visits locally and internationally put together if you compare the number of trips and number of days spent.
Let us not go into the amount spent and the message such is sending out about the sorry conditions of our medical facilities down home.
Our dear President not only does not trust his own country ‘s medical facilities and team of medical experts, but does not risk his life with them. The same apply to his family and all other people in the federal, state and local government levels of government that have access to our state treasury.
Therefore, instead of their spending State funds to develop our medical facilities they directly and indirectly spend state funds to enjoy developed medical facilities in other countries leaving the masses to their fate.
But let us come back to the main issue at hand: health of our President, General Buhari.
Our President is the head of our nation and his health status has been shrouded in secrecy. This I have always seen as absurd and can only happen in a democracy that is undemocratic and undeveloped.
We are entitled to know the true position of the health of our President.
Also the National Assembly has the constitutional mandate to determine his health condition especially in the event of regular medical trips abroad and open speculations that he is terminally ill and cloned.
But no, the docility of the masses and the waiving of the constitutional mandate of the legislature brought us to the sorry state we now find ourselves. A state where someone that is “out of his mind” in the real sense of the phrase, is not only ruling Nigeria, a country of over 180,000,000 (one hundred and eighty million) people, but being manipulated by a known and acclaimed cabal to seek a second tenure. Just because they know that nothing will happen and nobody will insist on knowing the true health of the person being used so as to determine his fitness to be President.
On the day of the Vice Presidential debate, I challenged Nigerians in all forums I belong to that Buhari will never dare come out to debate. I was ready to stake all my money on that. I did not need to research to know he would not. All social indicators pointed to that years ago and became glaring in the past months.
His health condition is known even before 2015 elections. The wife of the immediate past President, Dame Patience Jonathan then in 2015 openly said that his, Buhari’s, brain was dead and people were asking for her head. I knew she was right because like I wrote earlier, all social indicators as as then pointed to that.
The simple question is “are we ready to do the needful and ascertain the true position and condition of the health of our President? Even if not to impeach him, to at least ensure that the macabre dance does not continue into the next political dispensation?
We have made our dear country, the giant of Africa, a laughingstock in the comity of nations.
The American President, Donald Trump, was once quoted as declaring him a lifeless human being and we see it as normal talk. He goofs daily and cannot answer simple questions a two year old child can answer and we see it as normal. In fact the rumour that he suffers from dementia has become an unverified fact that has been displayed on stages daily and only needs your inviting him to a simple conversation or interview to verify yet that is not happening.
He needs our help because he is not himself any longer. Declaring him unfit to seek a second tenure is a win win to him and Nigeria.
Let me talk about the second issue currently on our charged political landscape: the sacking of the Chief Justice (CJ) of the Federation that played out yesterday. This has even put to question my earlier position that he need not be impeached but stopped from seeking second tenure.
The constitutional provision is clear on how the CJ can be removed . This is with the view to guarantee separation of powers between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial arms of government and to ensure balance of power between these three arms of government.
If this is not the case, there will be no checks and balances and one arm will usurp powers of others and have absolute power which we all know is dangerous and only exist in dictatorship like the military government. Even some military governments are not as dictatorial as we are entering now.
Based on these, the constitutional provision simply allows the executive arm to act the way General Buhari did only with the backing of two third majority of the legislative arm of government to be specific the Senate.
Also, even court judgements did not favour his actions but at least he has the legislative option if he felt the courts were covering one of their own. But he went dictatorial and unilaterally not only sent the CJ packing but immediately handed over to the next in power in acting capacity.
This rape ordinarily should not see the light of the day if we are actually in a true democracy where one arm of government respects and fears the other arm.
I have the feeling that this is the last straw that will see the legislative arm of government invoking it’s power of impeachment. But I will still not be too surprised if they do not do the expected, or if they do not apply the full weight of the law by doing the needed and the necessary things which are: immediately reverse the sacking of the CJ and start impeachment proceedings on the President.
You will notice that I have been using his military title all through this article. This is because his recent action (though not really different from how he has been acting) reminds me of the worst military era.
Nigerians should demand for nothing less than impeachment if we must restore our battered psyche. Nigerians must demand for his impeachment if we must protect our nascent democracy.
Let me write a little of the “fourth arm of government” “the Press”.
As a Mass Communication student in the 80s, we were taught that the Press is the fourth estate of the realm and as such plays a watchdog function on the three arms of government thereby making the Press the fourth arm. But this has not been the case. The days of the Press uniting to ensure that the rights of the masses are not grossly infringed by any of the three arms are over. The days of investigative journalism are over. This is notwithstanding that you do not need to leave your chair to investigate. You just google. But it can be brought back. I remember traveling in 1989/1990 to all major libraries in Nigeria to write a project on “Effects of Government Ownership of the Broadcast Media on Freedom of the Press”. I had to do that to make a strong case for private ownership of the Radio and Television stations. Now I would have just googled. But it took me months of traveling around the country .
Our Press should live up to it’s expectations and galvanize the sleeping masses. The Press should report with insight and in-depth analysis how we come to this sorry state and come up with a position to restore our human dignity. The Press should tell the three arms of government areas they have done wrongly and demand that they live up to their responsibilities not minding that some of them are their pay masters as owners of the media they work with.
General Buhari with the sorry state of his health and his unilateral/illegal sacking of the Chief Justice should be helped to immediately go and rest to save him, us and the country from disaster and implosion .
Nze Kanayo Chukwumezie.