“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”
- Edmund Burke
In 1770, the Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke wrote about the need for good men to come together to oppose the cabals of bad men, thus originating the most popular quotation on the rider. No Nigerian, who is not alarmed by the ongoing desecrations of democracy and the Constitution in pursuit of vain-glory, filthy lucre and power, will claim he or she has not succumbed to the defeat by these inordinately ambitious Nigerians. When bad men begin to converge in such manner, good men must equally congregate to counter it; else they will all fall, one by one, in the lopsided, contemptible struggle. .
Behind this façade is much more. Lawal Daura, the disgraced erstwhile director of the Department of State Security is but a metaphor for a decayed and bastardized democratic system. He has carried out similar operations, in cahoots with those bent on undermining democracy and deploying State coercive instruments for the advancement of their sectional goals. Recall he was untimely retired from service but was brought back and given the critical job nonetheless. By so doing, his appointers indicted the Government, which eased him out years ago as a misfit. So, that he has blighted national security and desecrated democracy by unilaterally locking up the National Assembly and chasing away lawmakers and staff in preparations for toppling the Senate leadership, was, as matter of fact, doom long foretold.
His antecendents pointed clearly to his inclinations as an antidemocratic element. Lawal Daura invaded the houses of Supreme Court Judges and detained many of them for days, against all known canons of string operations. Not one of the judges so humiliated has been found guilty following their trials over what has turned out to be trumped up charges. Under his superintendence, several citizens have been detained for weeks and months under the pretext of national security. Recall the case of Babatunde O. Gbadamosi who was detained for 28 days.
Lawal Daura detained Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe for days also. Same thing goes for Gabriel Suswan who is still in the DSS gulags for months without trial. DSS invaded Ekiti Assembly and picked Akanni Afolabi from Efon Alaaye on the orders of Daura. The same man arrested and detained citizen Ebiri, a journalist, for about Two years.
Lawal Daura prevented Gov. Ayo Fayose, a serving Governor, and his wife, from entering Government House after Ekiti election. Lawal Daura disobeyed several court orders for the release of Sambo Dasuki and Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and both are still in their custody against the ruling of Nigerian courts.
Lawal Daura ordered his men to invade the National Assembly to force a change in Senate leadership by a handful of senators. Few weeks earlier, a combined team of his men, the Police and the EFCC also besieged the residences of the Deputy Senate President, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu, and Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to prevent them from attending and presiding over the Senate session, the same aim as the last invasion. Question is: why didn't the authorities act all the while?
Emboldened as a hatchet man, he then unilaterally organised a more brazen and embarrassing plot. But is Daura alone in all these? Is it possible that Daura ran a parallel government for 3 ½ years? If it is true he did, who then is running Nigeria even now? Have Nigerians not accepted that cabals other than President Muhammadu Buhari whom we elected are the ones actually running the country?
No matter how we look at it, cabal or no cabal, Daura cannot possibly be alone all these years, and therefore is merely ‘a fall guy’, a person to whom blame is deliberately and falsely attributed in order to deflect blame from another person. Few weeks ago, 20 lawmakers of the Benue House of Assembly were prevented by the Nigeria Police from gaining entrance into the House. In a kangaroo session staged thereafter, the seven or eight members of the opposing party commenced the impeachment of the State Governor under the watch of the Police.
Daura had always been apparatchik in this Government. He is now being vilified as the bad guy as though he had always unilaterally operated. It is nothing but a smokescreen. If Nigerians accept this narrative, the danger is that other officials who have committed similar or perhaps worse crimes against democracy and Nigeria people will remain embedded in the system.
Yes, the Interim Police investigation just confirmed that some politicians, who desperately wanted to change the leadership equation at the National Assembly, used the erstwhile DG of DSS to stage the siege on the National Assembly on that dark Tuesday. The report shied away from naming the politicians. Nobody should be surprised if the Police, tomorrow, fly the narrative that Daura was working for Saraki or even Ekweremadu. But Nigerians are getting wiser and falling less of such government spins.
Nigeria is a multiethnic nation brought and held together by law. Any promotion of recklessness, lawlessness, illegality and unconstitutionality is an open invitation to anarchy, which can spiral out of control and assume the stature of Arab Spring, which nobody can predict how it would end. Yet, illegality and unconstitutionality have since become the order, and promoted by even agencies created by law to maintain law and order.
Indeed, security agencies are there to ensure that politics is played within the ambience of law and order. But today, they have allowed themselves to be used for political ends, thereby ridiculing both democracy and national security, which they are to protect and help nurture.
Like what happened in National Assembly, what happened in Benue House of Assembly where seven or eight members illegally commenced the impeachment of the State Governor while the Police kept the 20 ruling Party House members away, is treason. High treason is not only the crime of betraying one’s country. It is also betraying the Constitution, or trying to remove a State Government using violence or any form of illegality. Originally, it was punished by hanging, drawing and quartering in countries.
Sadly, the nation is not saddled with only antidemocratic actions and inactions of the DSS or the Police. More worrisome should be certain state actors who have goaded the Presidency and agencies of government to commit these brazen illegalities and unconstitutionality. Even as his own people are being massacred in Benue largely due to inaction of security agencies, Professor Itse Sagay, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, has continued to defend the brazen illegalities. For good measure, Sagay just retorted about the accusation of certificate forgery leveled against Kemi Adeosun, the Finance Minister: “Who cares about NYSC certificate. We cannot afford to lose Adeosun.” Yet, he is a Professor of Law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a senior member of the inner temple of Justice recruited by the President to technically help in the anti-corruption fight.
The same can be said about the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution and Chairman, Special Presidential Investigative Panel on the Recovery of Public Property, Okoi Obono-Obla, who is believed to also parade a fake WAEC result, yet, shielded by the same government from answering to the charge. To them, it does not matter if the man is fighting corruption with a fake certificate.
Even if the illegality and unconstitutionality being promoted today happened in the past, it is no justification. The APC government came in on a change mantra – on the promise to do things differently and properly. Daura’s case may just end up as one of the few symbolic gestures by government to create the impression that something serious is being done. We saw it with Babachir David Lawal. That indicted Secretary to Government of the Federation was sacked only after over six months of hues and cries and even today, he is too big to stand trial.
Nigerians and Nigeria deserve better. The citizens can now see through all the subterfuges and monkeyshines. It has been so much motion and commotion without movement on Nigeria’s barber's chair.
Dr. Law Mefor, a Forensic/Social Psychologist and Journalist, writes from Abuja. E-mail:[email protected]