“Quite clearly patriotism is not going to be easy or comfortable in a country as badly run as Nigeria is. And this is not made any easier by the fact that no matter how badly a country may be run there will always be some people whose personal, selfish interests are, in the short term at least, well served by the mismanagement and the social inequities … Naturally they will be extremely loud in their adulation of the country and its system and will be anxious to pass themselves off as patriots and to vilify those who disagree with them as trouble makers or even traitors … But doomed is the nation which permits such people to define patriotism for it. Their definition would be about as objective as a Rent Act devised by a committee of avaricious landlords, or the encomiums that a colony of blood sucking ticks might be expected to shower upon the bull on whose backs they batten…”
—Prof Chinua Achebe, The Trouble With Nigeria (1983)
There are Nigerians, though occupying very high positions of responsibility, who would never be able to gain my respect and, perhaps, that of other decent Nigerians, until they learn to straighten their crooked paths, and purge themselves of the acute hypocrisy and sickening dissembling that seem to run in their veins. Each time you see them sermonising about such high and admirable principles as justice, fair play, democracy, due process, anti-corruption, respect for court rulings, and all such ennobling ideals which, before then, meant absolutely nothing to them, do not allow yourself to be deceived. A closer scrutiny, would reveal that they merely became emergency and interim converts to those wonderful ideals for the very simple reason that, at that point in time, sloganeering about such ideals would richly serve their usually unwholesome purposes. And once such goals are achieved and made secure, they would quickly erase all those hollow slogans from their memory and enact a hasty retreat to their old, devious ways and practices.
Only recently, the nation was treated to another sickening advertisement of this unhealthy preference when the Nasarawa State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Adamu, deemed it fit to call on the rival All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) to warn their presidential candidate in the 2003 elections, Gen Muhmmadu Buhari, to desist from making comments capable of undermining the integrity of the judiciary. While reacting to the recent Supreme Court judgment which awarded victory to his opponent, the Peoples Democratic (PDP) candidate, President Olusegun Obasanjo, Buhari was quoted as saying that the apex court has, by that controversial ruling, boldly legitimised electoral fraud and violence and presented them to Nigerians as normal and acceptable tools for “winning” elections in Nigeria.
But the Nasarawa Governor, undeniably a quintessential situational democrat and patriot, has crept out of his murky mouse hole in Lafia (or is it Keffi?), to suddenly remember, rather this late in the day, that the delicate health of our democracy and judiciary deserves urgent and diligent protection. At a lecture put together by the Senators Forum in Abuja two weeks ago, Adamu cried with all his might: “We call on ANPP to condemn in very strong terms the utterances of Buhari. He should be called to order. He cannot continue to display contempt on the highest court of the land… Buhari’s utterances are capable of undermining the democratic experiment. If he cannot accept the tenets of democracy, he should quit politics for politicians… Elections have been fought and won. He should come to terms with reality.”
Nice words. A Daniel has come to judgment! No doubt, circumstantial democrats and emergency rule of law advocates like His Excellency, Gov Adamu, have now realised that court rulings should not be rubbished because, in this particular instance, that is the only guarantee Adamu and his co-travellers has that no further challenge would be made to the worst kind of electoral robbery in human history perpetrated by Adamu’s PDP in the 2003 elections. Good. But where were the likes of Adamu and their dubious concern for the judiciary when an unprecedented heat was directed on the Chief Justice of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Uwais, as the date for that controversial judgment drew near, causing the CJ to even declare that he was ready to die? Will Adamu say in all sincerity (assuming he is capable of doing so) that he would have been able to remember these meretricious concerns if the judgment had gone the other way? Which should bother Adamu most: the legitimization of boundless electoral fraud (perhaps, the worst in human history) or respect for the very judgment that gave it a stamp of endorsement? At what stage in a legal process is contempt committable, while the proceedings are still on or after judgment has been delivered? Are people barred by any law from holding and expressing opinions on court judgments? From where does Adamu derive the impetus to seek to abridge people’s fundamental human rights and freedom? Or are we to assume that His Excellency probably uttered those outrageous words after yet another overdose of the rich, undiluted Military Habits Juice (100% juice) which Gen. Obasanjo dishes out generously to his well-beloveds like Adamu with religious constancy?
Indeed, like any other Nigerian, Buhari is free to have reservations about a court verdict, even though he has agreed to abide by it. Adamu should know that. He should also know that not only Buhari was shattered by the apex court’s judgment, given what is openly and widely known about how Adamu’s calamitous Proper Devils Party (PDP), arguably the worst plague ever unleashed on the Nigerian landscape, “won” that election. But, what, if one may dare ask, was this later-day Super Democrat Adamu’s reaction to the Anambra case, where the president himself told the nation, that right before him, Mr. Chris Ubah had confessed to rigging the elections in Anambra? Again, what was Adamu’s reaction to the “fraudslide” victory in Rivers State where 100% voting was allegedly recorded, and in favour of the PDP: which means that between the time of registration of voters and election proper, no registered voter died, relocated, or simply decided not to vote? When the Court of Appeal dismissed the election results in Obasanjo’s home state of Ogun as absolute fraud, and several PDP top-shots were busy rubbishing the judgment, why did it not occur to Adamu at that time to hurriedly dredge up his soured concern for the health of the judiciary and democracy? What was his reaction when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in utter disregard and contempt for an unambiguous court order refused to tender its own certified election results sheets, which it also hurriedly removed from its website?
No, political correctness demanded absolute silence in Lafia and Keffi at that time. Indeed, for situational ideologists like Adamu, hurriedly formulated concern for the judiciary and democracy are only convenient tools for achieving and sustaining the ungodly designs of the PDP. Or else, can anyone remember what Adamu said when the “election” of Gov Boni Haruna of Adamawa State was nullified by a legally constituted Election Petition Tribunal, and Vice President Atiku Abubakar had sought to void the court’s verdict with a Vice-Presidential counter-order from Abuja? Where was Adamu’s concern for the judiciary when the forme
r Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, refused to restore Gov Chris Ngige’s security details despite a court order mandating him to do so? The list is endless.
Adamu should, please, spare us this insufferable hypocrisy and dubious patriotism which constitute the distinguishing features of the PDP and the government it imposed on us in Abuja. We are utterly sick and tired of the party and all it stands for. Adamu should know by now that no one is impressed by the counterfeit patriotism he is parading. It is becuase of people like him that this country has refused to move forward. In fact, Nasarawa people owe it to themselves to publicly recoil from the monumental embarrassment Dr. Adamu now constitutes to them by his numerous self-debasing and unhealthy services for the Obasanjo dictatorship. The only consolation to the rest of us is that this era of heartless locusts and unrelenting parasites will certainly not last forever.