by Christian Okwori
The antagonists to the declaration of full state of emergency are hinging their position on the preservation of democratic tenets and constitutional provisions. If I may ask, did President Goodluck Jonathan got sworn in as acting President of Nigeria under any citable constitutional provision in 2010? The answer is NO! Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as an acting President in 2010 purely based on the doctrine of necessity.
The ancient Greek philosopher, Plato wrote that; “society isn’t made of stick and stones, but by people who by reasons and actions influence the course of things (for their good)”. The law (constitution) is only valid to the extent in which it serves the good of the society whose lives or actions it is written to regulate. That is, laws are made for men and not men for the law. The law doesn’t have to be broken where it can be twisted to fit the good of the people when its interpretation becomes an albatross.
The doctrine of necessity is in the spirit of natural justice which places the morality of human welfare and dignity above all else in times of difficulties, like in the interpretation of human laws. The moral question as it applies to Nigeria at the moment is : “Should we hold on to democratic structures in a region or state at the expense of the lives of millions of our innocent citizens?”.
The answers to the above question differentiates purposeful leaders from professional impostors otherwise known as rogue politicians. The philosophy aligned to the sanctity of life define great nations and differentiate them from ordinary nations. “No one gets left behind”, is a popular saying in America which has shaped the growth, unity and strength of America. Everybody is important and deserves the best protection, love, and attention from his or her country. The knowledge that your life is of premium importance to your country and that heroes or ordinary citizen never die in vein is what make the average citizens of Japan, Russia, Britain, and America among other leading countries of the world ready to pay the supreme price doing anything that furthers their countries’ course. And that’s is why citizens of these countries don’t mind dying while doing their jobs or contributing their quota to the overall good of their nation. Such confraternity between nations and their individual citizens is predicated on the parable of the shepherd who leaves his ninety nine sheeps in safe position and go everywhere in search of a single missing sheep that belongs to the flock. Going by this observation, it’s no surprise when Nigerians appear unpatriotic. Patriotism has to be inspired by the selflessness of the leadership. Woe unto you leaders who dine and wine in big banquet halls and globe troth all over the world while the wolves feed on your defenseless poor ordinary citizens.
The embarrassment called Boko Haram has assumed desperate scales; and desperate situations call for desperate measures. The late Nigerian born legal titan and human right activist, Gani Fawehinmi once said, “ it is abnormal to behave normal in an abnormal situation”. Take it or leave it. It is injustice to the good when the bad goes with impunity. The doctrine of necessity and the principles of natural justice now require President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of Nigeria to suspend the three North-Eastern Governors of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa State as quickly as possible. Any failure of Mr. President to do this needful is a clear announcement of his crass irresponsibility and lack of allegiance to his sworn constitutional oath to protect the people of Nigeria as the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The position reposes enormous power on its holder, as such, its holder has a lot of work to do, a lot of toes to step on dispassionately for the sake of the larger majority of Nigerians. Your job, Mr. President requires you to go out of your way irrespective of political affiliations (or lack of them) or even constitutional restrictions clearly for the good of the people.
The antagonists to the declaration of full state of emergency are hinging their position on the preservation of democratic tenets and constitutional provisions. If I may ask, did President Goodluck Jonathan got sworn in as acting President of Nigeria under any citable constitutional provision in 2010? The answer is NO! Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as an acting President in 2010 purely based on the doctrine of necessity. Today that doctrine of necessity has become necessary again, this time for the sake of saving millions of lives and protecting our collective territorial integrity. It is wickedness from the pit of hell to leave failed governors in office to keep obstructing the efforts of security agencies (overtly or covertly ) while tens of thousands of innocent people get bombed out of existence all because someone wants to keep polishing his ego as the Executive Governor of Kpangolo State. Its very unfortunate that we are even debating something that should have actually been a first line of action. Mr. President, too many lives have been lost in the alter of tardiness, indecision, and political timidity on your part. You don’t need the support of everyone in government or the opposition. You only need to have the support of the people because the voice of the people is the voice of God. Yes! Voix populi, vox dei. History will forgive you if you make mistakes, but not if you fail to do anything. For this, I am highly disappointed in a supposed legal icon like Chief Femi Falana for calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to disregard calls for the imposition of full State of emergency and the appointment of Military Administrators for the Boko Haram ravaged states. Too bad! Well, the same person once supported the castration of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Michael Aondoakaar only to recant when massive disquiets flooded in from Nigerians and well meaning legal bastions in the country against the move. Anyway, that is for another day.
The questions one may ask is; what are the governors of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa still doing in office when their people are helplessly being killed, kidnapped and displaced both internally and as refugees in the Republic of Tchad, Niger, and Cameroun? Do they have any project or developmental work they are embarking on or commissioning in the middle of this crisis? What is being done with their states’ federal allocations still getting to them every month even though the on going war and wanton destruction by Boko Haram doesn’t not permit any meaningful public infrastructural development works to go on? What about intelligence reports by security agents that some local government chairmen use to collect their monthly allocations and hand them over to Boko Haram to fund their heinous operations? What do we do with earlier accusations whether true or false that some of the affected state government officials are secretly aiding and abetting terrorist activities?
Albert Einstein defined madness as, “doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result.” Another argument in some quarters opposing the imposition of State of Emergency in the trio of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa State is that the since the earlier (partial) State of Emergency did not help in ending or even mitigating the situation, there is no need to step it up, or the government should simply leave them the way they are. Not true! There is no how a proper investigation can be carried out in an office when the principal characters in that office are still in position. Anyone familiar with corporate environment for example knows that whenever there is serious crises or cases of corruption, the head or manager of the affected division is either made to resign or asked to proceed on leave in order to make way for investigations and see through fact finding from the situation can be rectified and lapses identified. What if it turns out the said governors or their officials are found to be complicit in this acts of terrorism? I guess their supporters will bury their heads in shame or crawl into a hole and hide forever!(laughs). It’s when we become sincere with ourselves that solutions to our problems will come trickling in. The worst person that can deceive a man is himself . We all know deep inside us that the solution to the security debacle in North-Eastern Nigeria is in the temporary imposition of military administration in the affected states has been successfully done in the past by former President Olusegun Obasanjo with 100% success. Why run away from a known solution to a bedeviling problem? Since partial emergency is not working let’s apply what has been working for us in the past-Full State of Emergency. If you want to get a job done properly, you must give full attention to it. That is what imposition of State of Emergency calls for.
Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan should without further delay begin putting in place every modalities and set necessary machineries in motion for the declaration of full State of Emergency in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa State without minding the few voices of extreme greed crying wolf where there is non. Please Mr. President, don’t be deterred or intimidated by the past political and financial pedigree of the opposition stalwarts and the benefactors of the affected governors. Ignore them. its times like this that will mould you out as a hero lame duck; times of storms, moments of truth, seasons of definition, the crystallizing points. Your loyalty is not to your party chieftains but to the Nigerian masses. Those ordinary anonymous people who you don’t know but who all know you. Those people whose daughters were captured and turned to sex slaves by Boko Haram. Those defenseless people who got bombed out of their rightful existence in Nyanya while contributing their own quota to elevating the national GDP above that of any country in Africa. Those people whose sons had their throats slashed , abdomens impaled, and hacked to death in their school dormitories while their sisters get raped and taken hostage in Bunin Yadi. Those young soldiers from all over the country who get killed in their dozens every week while fighting Boko Haram in the hash unfamiliar terrains of hot Gwoza deserts and Tse tse fly infested Sambisa evil forest so that the terrorist wouldn’t come closer to you and the rest of your surviving subjects. Those poor Nigerians who voted you into power and celebrated when you were finally made acting president with the hope of savoring the breath of fresh air. Do not listen to the thunderous voice of wicked old politicians whose undying romance the breasts of politics and the thighs of national treasury has blinded them even against the good of the people. Let them drown in their shouts.
Mr. President, be strong and do the needful. Remove the triumvirate governors of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa and replace them with retired military generals of Moslem faith from the South, particularly the South-West. Let the men that will be so appointed be of high moral rectitude and social urbanity, charisma, and leadership stratagem to pull all the necessary strings and props that will cage off Boko Haram or any other existent form of terrorism within their domains to the trash can of history as mere historical relics like the maitatsine of the 1980’s. The Military Administrators are to have a time line of not more than 6months which can only be extended for any justifiable reason by the House of Representatives or any form of representative public plebiscite or referendum. The mandate should be clear. The administrators must not leave those states for any social function or unclassified duties without the express permission of the president after all necessary machineries must have been put in place. The administrators should preferably be of the infantry, intelligence, armory, artillery, engineering, green berets, airborne, or other relevant elite unit or corps with verifiable combat experiences while in the army especially ECOMOG ex commanders. Only then can we really agree that Nigeria is not handling her security situations with kid gloves.
Declaring State of Emergency in States with failed security systems will pass strong warning signals to lackadaisical governors that the days of collecting and pocketing security votes without doing anything to put such monies to judicious use in saving the lives of their people are gone. By this, state governors will know that their power is not absolute and that failure to deliver on the peoples’ mandates of massive infrastructural developments and job creation could result in security problems which could deny them their official regards and authorities or privileges. It’s high time we close ranks, unite, and speak with one voice as a people, in support of the president to impose state of emergency and take necessary bold steps in curtailing terrorism in Nigeria.
This article was published with permission from Omojuwa.com
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.