I am going to be as blunt as possible with this post, and I don’t care how anyone feels.
If anyone knows Oga Femi Falana well, they should tell him that nobody is provoking Nigerians to mutiny or coup but his irresponsible, provocating and insensitive pronouncement both on national television and other fora across the country. He has to stop it! His statements has been reckless and totally out of place.
I watched the video of his speech at the NLC seminar and I was totally put off. I was not surprised that immediately after the NLC conference where he made very inciting statement, the NLC issued another warning strike again. I appreciate the FG for calling them into another round of negotiations. Now let’s break it down.
No one in his right senses would agree with the way some Franco-phone African countries have been led by some sit tight leaders with the tacit support of France 99.9% of the time over the years, which has now led to military takeovers in some of these African countries in the past few months. The misgovernance, corruption and flouting of democratic tenets by these African leaders is sickening and embarrassing. But I submit that military takeover of power has never, and will never be a panacea to civilian misgovernance. Never!
In 1983, as a young boy, I joined others to run unto the street to jubilate and hail military takeover of power from the President Shehu Shagari led democratically elected government. Years after, we all regretted our actions because the military became worse than the civilians we accused of corruption. I don’t need to start writing about what we faced in this country under the military. I don’t care what anyone would say, the worst democratic government is better than the best military government. I almost got killed at Oshodi when Abacha rolled the tank out against us while protesting the annulment of June 12 election.
Military boys are not angels. They are part and parcel of the political and educated elites within the power structure of any nation. They are not coming to reinvent the wheel, they are only coming to usurp power for personal agrandisement too. Of course, they always sing the song of revolutionary shift in governance and we hail them that a messiah has come. But I can tell you for free, and you can quote me, all those Franco-phone countries where the military has taken over power, let’s watch in the next 2, 3, to 4 years if there would be any fundamental change from how things have always been.
I am a student of history. At a time, most African nations from the 60s up to the early 2000s were under military regimes. Can anyone tell me which of those African countries made a significant progress in any area under those military governments? Am I justifying corrupt civilian governments? Never! If indeed the military wants to really right the wrong of sit tight and corrupt leaders in those countries where they have taken over, what they should do is take those leaders out, put them in the dock and let them answer for the atrocities they committed while in office and announce election time table to conduct a free and fair democratic election in 6 months!
Then, I will know they mean business and they have the interest of the people at heart. The only country that has announced a transition to democratic rule is Niger, and they gave a 3 year transition period. Can you imagine. There is nothing, and no explanation can be given for military to take over governance in any nation. It is an abberation, and that’s not the job of the military. If you want to intervene in misrule, great. Do it quickly, and restore democracy in 6 months. Anything short of that is a lie.
Our inability to be patient with democracy k**led us in 1983. If we’ve allowed Shagari to finish his second term in office, the presidency would have come down south and we would not be where we are today. No nation is a quick fix, and no nation gets democracy right when they starts. Therefore, for anyone in Nigeria to be insinuating that FG and politicians should not push the people into mutiny and be heating up the polity the way Mr. Femi Falana is doing is wrong and should not be tolerated. Has he suddenly lost his memory to know what the likes of Gani, Keyamo and even himself went through in the hands of the military?
I expect someone of his calibre to be saying, democracy has come to stay and we would continue to dig in to make it work no matter how it looks right now, it can only get better because we will not tolerate the jack boots of military boys. That’s the kind of caution I expect someone like him to be putting out there. Not going on national TV and making very insensitive pronouncements.
Look at the picture attached. A general died intestate and what he left behind is to be shared…this is not even a well known general who occupied any top position in the military, but who wants to tell me he acquired all these with his salary? Imagine this one is now running government with absolute power. This is 2023, we are still repatriating money stolen by Abacha who died almost 25 years ago.
People need to be careful and not cut thier nose to spite their face. Democracy is not perfect but we are not where we were in 1999. Democracy is evolutionary, and not revolutionary. Nigeria is not a nation where an elected leader can do anyhow like in some other African countries. The most powerful president we’ve had since 1999 is President Obasanjo, he tried a 3rd term agenda but he was stopped in his track.
No Nigerian elected leader can do anyhow. We have enough instruments constitutionally to stop any tendency for a leader to perpetuate himself in power. So, all these idea that because military coup took place in some Franco-phone African countries, then some people start to use that for political reasons to heat up the polity here. It has to stop! Someome should rein in Oga Falana, he’s biting more than he can chew.
Those who lost election too and won’t let us rest should stop heating up the polity and stop to stylishly demand for extrajudicial means to oust an elected government. Nobody comes into government through the backdoor. If indeed you are a democrat, face the courts and accept whatever decision the court gives. A true democrat respect democratic tenets and abide by the rule of law.
Enough is enough!
-Adebiyi writes from United Kingdom