25th December, 2013
FREE KANO SPEAKER & LEGISLATORS NOW
The speaker of the Kano State House of Assembly, Hon Gambo Sallau, clerk of the House and nine other legislators were yesterday arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). They were alleged to have fraudulently approved a supplementary budget of N28 billion.
We are surprised at the newfound agility of EFCC who just a few days ago complained that it had less than N2 million in its account and therefore could not pursue its legitimate functions. Could it mean that the presidency had been deliberately stinting EFCC of funds in order to bring it to its knees and consequently compel it to do its beck and call? It just doesn’t add up. Where and how did EFCC suddenly find its lost appetite for pursuing allegedly corrupt legislators?
Or are we witnessing a conspiracy theory postulating a presidential pound of flesh? The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) finds it very curious that All Progressive Congress (APC) states are beginning to bear the brunt of EFCC’s sharp teeth. Lagos Assembly is already licking its wounds as EFCC operatives keep hounding its speaker and some of its members. Is it now the turn of Kano?
The witch cried yesterday and the child died today. The case is just too glaring. The fact that the five governors who defected to the APC chose Kano as the venue for the announcement of their defection makes EFCC’s descent on Kano more intriguing. Is Kano being punished for its audacity? If this is so, the noose must be tightening around the neck of the governor of Kano.
It had better not be. Politics of vindictiveness is capable of killing Nigeria’s nascent democracy. Napoleon Bonaparte was visionary when he said the only lesson men learn from history is that they learn nothing from history.
Why have our leaders failed to learn from the causes of military intervention in the politics of Nigeria? Why was the South-West called the Wild Wild West in the early 60s? What was the casus belli of ‘operation wet e’? Where are the tyrants of yesterday? Where is Hitler of Germany? Where is Mussolini of Italy? Where is Idi Amin Dada of Uganda?
The rulers of Nigeria today must decide whether they want their names printed in letters of gold or dumped in the dustbin of history. Divisional Police Officers now storm the venue where whole state governors are holding meetings simply because they belong to the opposition. It is infra dignitatem.
Policemen block governors from using roads and seal up opposition secretariats. Police chiefs withdraw security details of state chief executives and the opposition is not free to associate or hold meetings. Aircrafts used by opposition members are not allowed to use the Nigerian airspace.
This government’s cup of sins is not only full, it is already spilling over. Civil society must rise now before it is too late. Both the church and the mosque must speak out against totalitarian dictatorship because their followers will all be affected by the consequences of bad governance if they fail to speak out now.
MURIC therefore urges religious leaders to abandon the traditional triangular orientation which takes the faithful from the mosque to work and back to the house. We must watch politicians and caution them when necessary because their actions or inactions, successes and failures, competence and ineptitude, tyranny or kind disposition is bound to affect all and sundry.
Bad governance is responsible for the darkness in Nigeria today: that is why there is no electricity. Executive ineptitude is to blame for the degradation in the education sector. That was why strike paralysed the universities for six months. Neither the church nor the mosque enjoys electricity today.
Both Christian and Muslim parents as well as their sons and daughters suffered tremendously from the strike that just ended. Religious leaders are therefore vital stakeholders. We must not remain silent in the face of oppression because what goes round comes around.
We also call on well-meaning Nigerians and elder statesmen not to sit on the fence. We charge the international community to start warning the Nigerian government concerning the threat to the rule of law, restrictions to freedom of movement and abuse of executive power.
Finally, MURIC calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the Kano legislators. EFCC must also drop its charges against Lagos legislators or table water-tight evidence against them if there is any in a court of law.
We are constrained to express palpable fear over the conduct of 2015 general elections. A government which stifles the opposition and witch-hunts defectors cannot be trusted to conduct a free and fair election.
The law establishing EFCC must also be amended to give the body full autonomy and freedom from intervention or influence from the presidency.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)