On the evening of 31st of December 2015, I spoke on Channels Television on President Muhammadu Buhari’s first presidential media chat. On the news interview programme, I raised some fundamental questions on Buhari and his actions, his views on governance, and respect for human rights and the rule of law. The answers to these questions point to the fact that our president might be a tyrant.
I present some of those questions below:
1. Buhari’s response on the issue of genocide committed by the Nigerian Army under his command as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces is one clear disturbing clue. His response proves beyond reasonable doubt that his sanctioned the killings of over 1,000 innocent Nigerian because he believes some of them committed a crime by “pushing a general on the road”. He sanctioned extra-judicial murder of innocents – men, women, boys, girls, children – some in their sleep in their homes. This is wrong and barbaric. We are not in the era of jungle justice. Why do we have courts? If people have committed a crime in your own opinion, you don’t take the laws into your hands as the president of a democratic nation and pass death sentences on them. Those who have committed crimes should be arrested and charged to court and not summarily executed on the streets like dogs on the street like the case of the Shi’ites in Zaria. He said he watched a video where small children were pushing a general; when did death sentence become the punishment for pushing an army general? Only tyrants behave this way.
2. Buhari said he is ready to negotiate with the ‘real’ Boko Haram to secure the release of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls. How can president negotiate with the deadliest terror group in the world which has killed about 20,000 innocent Nigerian but fume over Nnamdi Kanu, who has not hurt a fly? Why justify the continued detention of Kanu just because he spoke for freedom for his people, against a valid court order granting him bail if you are not a tyrant?
3. On Chibok: Buhari was insincere in his response because when he was campaigning, he told Nigerians the previous government were incompetent that was why it couldn’t #BringBackOurGirls. Buhari expressly assured Nigerians that within few months of being elected president, he would bring the girls back home. His comments on the media chat contradict his campaign promises on the rescue of the Chibok girls.
4. Buhari claims to have technically defeated Boko Haram but at the same time says that the previous administration didn’t buy arms. So which arms has Buhari’s troops then been able to “technically defeat” Boko Haram with? If the previous administration of Goodluck Jonathan didn’t buy arms, given that we are aware that you have not bought even an office pin for the military since you took over power on May 29th, 2015; How were you able to defeat Boko Haram without arms?
Finally, I must point out a few other issues that Buhari raised at the media chat. They lead to some pertinent questions.
How can the president of a democratic nation say on live television that court orders will not be respected or obeyed?
How can the president of a democratic country like ours say those standing trial for corruption will not be allowed to travel abroad to seek medical attention even when the courts have granted them bail for that purpose?
How can the president of a democratic nation say his opinions and wishes are superior to the laws of our land and our constitution?
How can the president of a democratic nation say he will interfere with the institution of the National Assembly and influence their budgetary allocations?
How can the president of a democratic nation justify the killings of 1,000 Shi’ites in Zaria on national television?
How can the president of a democratic nation say holding two passports is treason felony?
Only a tyrant can say on national television that court orders will not be respected because in his opinion, those accused of a crime are already guilty.
Why then charge Dasuki and Nnamdi Kanu to court? Why not just summarily executed them like the Shi’ites in Zaria?
The rate at which Buhari is manifesting as a despotic ruler, I wouldn’t be surprise if he sets up kangaroo military tribunals to do just that.
Wake up! WAKE UP, Nigerians! We have a tyrant in Aso Villa.
Deji Adeyanju is director of Social Media of the People’s Democratic Party. He is also a former aide at the Presidency. He tweets from @adeyanjudeji.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.