Bayo Oluwasanmi


“The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins.” -Soren Kierkegaard 

Last week, Premium Times reported that President Muhammadu Buhari on two separate occasions sent secret emissaries to Omoyele Sowore in the Department of State Services’ gulag “to extract commitment from him to back down on the ‘revolution now’ protest as a precondition for his release”. 

According to Premium Times, Sowore “rejected both attempts as extra-judicial and self serving, saying he would not take part in arrangement that would essentially lend legitimacy to unwarranted abuse of his fundamental rights and disregard of judicial authority.” 

The negotiators included Isa Funtua, a close political associate of the President, Sam Amuka, publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, Nduka Ogbaigbena, publisher of ThisDay Newspapers, and presidential spokespersons Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu. 

If President Buhari had obeyed two court orders that granted Sowore bail, there would have been no need for any emissary. I’m disappointed that Mr Sam Amuka was one of the negotiators. Amuka whose pseudonym is Sad Sam, was one of my favourite columnists when I was in high school. I expect Amuka to tell President Buhari that he should obey the rule of law by releasing Sowore immediately without any precondition. Well, for the other members of the team, I don’t expect anything different. They are interpreters of maladies doing the bidding of the President. 

Buhari is the least morally qualified to ask Sowore to renounce #RevolutionNow in order for Sowore to secure his freedom as mandated by the court because Buhari is guilty of what he accused Sowore of. Indeed, Buhari’s statement of “blood and baboon will flow in the land” when he lost his third presidential election amounts to high treason. 

It bears repeating that Buhari has uprooted our democracy. Buhari has brought back the ancient evils. Buhari’s authoritarianism is the only force challenging our society. Buhari is Nigeria’s “Catiline or Caesar” disguised as a reformed dictator or born again democrat. 

Some tyrants were usurper, who came to power by their own efforts. Others were imposed by intervention from outside. Yet, some were elected. Buhari is an elected tyrant, a brazen bully with uncontrolled cruelty and self-indulgence. Buhari has dismantled the constitution, staged show trials for corrupt public officials, destroyed press freedom, jailed critics, empowered Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen terrorists. Our democracy has come and gone in a blink! 

Nigerians need a space to complain about Buhari’s repressive regime. They need to express their views uncensored on how Buhari runs their country. They need to hold Buhari and other elected representatives accountable. They need to constantly remind Buhari that he is not a king. But with Buhari’s backing of Hate Speech Bill, he is telling Nigerians that they can bitch all they want in the kitchen or bedroom, but they can’t bring their complaints into the streets or into the open market place of ideas of social media. 

Let’s remind the old despot that it was “Hate Speech” that propelled him to power. He should know that criticism is part and parcel of living in a democracy. It’s one of the major distinctions between a civilised country and a jungle of apes. On the orders of President Buhari, Sowore and Olawale Bakare have been in detention since August 3 and 5, 2019 respectively when they were arrested by the DSS. 

President Buhari’s emissaries to Sowore proved mission impossible because the history of tyranny is also the history of its eventual defeat. The Great King of Persia was checked at Marathon and Salamis. Napoleon was checked at Waterloo. Hitler was checked on D-Day. The Soviet Empire collapsed. 

Power is transient. “The tyrant dies and his rule is over,” Soren Kierkegaard reminds us, “the martyr dies and his rule begins.” 

Buhari would be consumed by his own tyranny. Sooner than later his rule will end!


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