National interest depends on who drives it, what drives it or drives the driver…
Many things make me to weep for and over Nigeria. Many times. I weep because Nigerians find it difficult to comprehend a matter as simple as not having a nation. It gets too much on my rickety heart when brickbats are hauled at President Muhammadu Buhari, a man who has sacrificed his rest and retirement to serve us as president. We are too eager to tire him out but he stubbornly clings in there and wants to do just that till the very end. In fact, Bauchi has sent somebody to the Senate to ensure that. But that is not the thrust of this discourse anyway.
Now when the president said that he put national interest above rule of law at the NBA conference, why do people want to use his head to break coconut? The man spoke with candour and within the narrow prism of his understanding. He didn’t say it in hiding but openly like the bold untiring General he is, before the very chaperons of the temple of justice… And they all clapped and hailed, only for motley of unlearned fellows to make noises.
National interest! What is national? Surely, the president only meant to needle us to the fact, and truth, that our dry sandy nature means we have no nation. And instead of building a nation first, we are attacking a man for not varnishing falsehood.
If ever there were a nation with interest to protect above rule of law, only the president could identify or determine such a nation and he has not failed to overtly and covertly do that.
The nation of the president gave him more votes, real or contrived, in 2015, and are enjoying the windfall. Those who gave 5% have no reason to expect accommodation despite the litany of 69 contestable projects. The nation of the president comes from Libya or anywhere but our shores to kill and maim our citizens while the president and government tell us to ‘accommodate our brothers’ by surrendering our land or be killed. You see, national interest means different things to different folk.
I’m even amused when people allude to former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and the Shiite leader, Ibraheem El Zakzaky; that courts have granted them bail but they are still behind bars. I tell you, Dasuki will remain in the gulag for as long as the president’s long memory remains intact with him in Aso Rock; for as long as the courts keep churning out judgments but lack determination to see them respected; for as long as judicial officers stop being court jesters and applauding abusers of court decisions. Why does the bench have to sit when it is obvious that their efforts are mere academic rhetoric not even worth the paper on which they are written? And to think that they sat through the president’s staid delivery and sad narrative on national interest and rule of law without a whimper is disgraceful to both bar and bench.
The problem is not with the president but with bootlickers everywhere, who fail to advise or coach the him adequately. Like I now hear that the forgery saga against Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, is not corruption. And to think these were the same people that wanted former president Goodluck Jonathan dead for saying stealing was not corruption? My goodness, Nigeria is too tiresome! It is still doubtful that the Presidency said that, especially in this social media madness and the phony ‘I mean, transmission, I mean effort, that the transmission cooperation to transmission, I mean transmission to have effect, ehm, apprehend, I mean, apprehensive…’ broadcast.
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The lady admitted forging the National Youth Service Corps certificate, circumstances notwithstanding, and the laws are explicit on the consequences. Turning the law on its head because a Kemi Adeosun is involved leaves much to be desired.
Sure, Kemi Adeosun has done well in piloting the finance ministry, as well as her beautiful face had fine to her body. Perhaps, her charm had confused the brains of those around her such they now suffer from blurry vision. That is the danger in staying too close to a beautiful woman that is not your own and to make matters worse, she has brawn too. I believe there could be a lot tidier ways to deal with this unfortunate episode in the career of the hard working woman other than to brazenly say it is not corruption. If forgery in itself does not qualify, legally, as corruption, how about willfully neglecting to prosecute it no matter what kind of intransigence it is?
In fact, the president’s customary silence would have been better. After all, in the name of national interest, the president has kept his peace, as self-confessed mass murderers, alias Miyetti Allah, have not even been invited for questioning yet our courts are quick to sentence those defending themselves and their community to death.
There used to be National Interest, a fine colourful newspaper in my early journalism days. I had contemplated leaving the then soft sell magazine I worked for to join this in ‘trail blazer’ but it fizzled out before I could even visit their office, so much do for national interest.
National interest is when you appropriate the public till to sponsor the private enterprise of ‘your nationals’ as in cattle ranching or grazing routes while other sections of the country go to blazes. National interest depends on who drives it, what drives it or drives the driver. It is beyond contemplation that the rule of law, the very soul of democracy is shunted aside in the name of prejudiced national interest. But then, I repeat, the president is not to blame for the ‘slip of tongue’, his advisers are. May God give us sincere helpers; who will not, for love of pecuniary gain, hail the president even when his mind is wrongly wired; this is my prayer for Mr. President; he sure needs it.
However, I think the president is guilty of hate speech against democracy and must recant. It is as wicked as Trump describing him as lifeless while beaming with pretentious smiles in the pictures we saw of his meeting with Buhari. As for those deceiving Mr. President through weird legal opinions, judgment day soon comes.
Methinks though that we have deluded ourselves for far too long. Nigeria is no nation yet, hence there is no ‘national’ interest to protect. A nation berths only when it is founded on the solid stones of rule of law, supremacy of the law, equality before the law and respect for fundamental human rights. Any other nation so called is a misnomer and its interest jaded, insular and illusory.