The Patriots And The Anarchists!
By: Paul I. Adujie
New York, USA
May 25, 2003
What should Nigerians do with the �The Patriots� And Their Persistent Unconstitutional Demands? The Patriots Say Dismantle And Decimate The Constitution! How should Nigerians react to these suggestions? The Patriots The Anarchists And Strange Bedfellows Are made? Should Nigerians consider The Patriots and opposition groups as one and the same thing? The Patriots As Anarchists? Who are these people? Is this how �The Patriots� want to be seen and remembered? Working hand-in-hand with the disgruntled elements? These are some of the questions that have been welling-up in my mind a millions times since Friday, when I first learnt of this controversy!
The Patriots have apparently not learned any lessons from their very recent experience? The Patriots admonished Mr. Obasanjo and gratuitously advised him against running for re-election in his pursuance of a second term as president of Nigeria, President Obasanjo, thereafter, exercised his constitutionally entitled and guaranteed right to run for re-election for a second term and the rest, as they say is now history!
The Patriots appears to be saying that the best way to strengthen our constitutional democracy is to dismantle it? Why is it that too many Nigerians, these days seem to be bereft of logic and common sense? Too many Nigerians who are ordinarily intelligent and reasonable individuals, now appear to b all bitten by the bug of illogic and illegality?
I read the latest suggestions emanating from the self-acclaimed group, the so-called �The Patriots� without a minimum of surprise; But nonetheless, it left me however, to wonder whether, logic is failing some of our senior members of the Nigerian Bar?
How else can any lawyer or anyone at all, explain the fact that Barrister F.R.A Williams SAN, who has practiced law before Nigerian political independence, practiced law before many Nigerians were alive and practiced law before I was born! And the very eminent Professor Nwabueze, the formerly erudite and prolific constitutional law writer, are now engaging in very high profile frivolity and exaggerated futility as they toy with matters of national importance to Nigeria?
Abrogation of the Nigerian constitution is not a legal remedy to the constitutional disagreement or alleged elections fraud or irregularities!
Why couldn�t Mr. Williams and Mr. Nwabueze convince their successful businessmen counterparts in this exclusive club called The Patriots, that the remedy to constitutional infraction is not a recommendation to disregard, decimate and dismantle the constitution!
Here now however, The Patriots resurfaced like a hydra-headed snake, as they make new and more gratuitous suggestions! To the effect that Nigerians should summarily suspend the constitution and operate outside of it! These suggestions has been rightly described by Mr. Osuntokun of Mr. Obasanjo Campaign Organization as unpatriotic and unconstitutional advise by The Patriots!
APGA and ANPP have been engaging in many shrill shouting marathons, indulging in numerous threats and protests, Buhari and Ojukwu have made the strangest bedfellows in their efforts to blackmail and intimidate the rest of us and now The Patriots have again come with their refrain replete with ill-advised, ill-timed advice with ominous undertones! The Patriots seem to always be saying, �Let us disregard and dismantle the Nigerian constitution!� What sorts of eminent Nigerians citizens are these?!!!!!
President Obasanjo must let APGA, ANPP, Buhari, Ojukwu, all the other prophets of mass action, anarchy, chaos and lawlessness KNOW THAT the rest of us Nigerians know where to find gunpowder! Just because we advocate peace and stability, just because we prefer to be law abiding and respect the constitution of Nigeria, does not confer the monopoly of violence, the monopoly of access to gun powder on Buhari/Ojukwu/Okadigbo APGA and ANPP!
Lest We Forget!
The President and PDP have variously made peace overtures to Buhari/Okadigbo/Ojukwu and others but to no avail!
The president and PDP have been strenuously magnanimous in victory, in efforts to secure peace, some group of Emirs and Elders, Political and religious leaders were involved, but the feelings of the opposition was inflamed instead of assuaged!
But the charlatans have rejected all peace moves!
So if according to Adisa, Buhari is stubborn and has legendary capacity to be angry? Who says Obasanjo, other Nigerians cannot cultivate stubbornness and capacity for anger and whatever else? People should not take refinements as weakness!
How long must the president and PDP and all Nigerians continue to accept threats and intimidation from these characters?
And as for those senile so-called Patriots? They should shamefully bow out! This is not the first time that they are offering extra constitutional measures as solutions to purely constitutional challenges! And coming in less than a week to the inaugurations? Why?
All Nigerians must Decry The Patriots� Call For Interim Government! All Nigerians should take cues from the comments of well meaning Nigerians featured in The Guardian Newspapers May 25, 2003 article which is quoted below, and it said among other things, �The Patriots� comments continues to draw sharp criticisms and condemnation from a cross section of Nigerians.
It should be stressed that the call was most unpatriotic albeit designed to truncate the country's stride towards full democracy. They advised the Patriots to be conscious of their sensitive positions as elders in the country whose interventions must always be prudent and judicious�
1. Most Rev. Ephraim Adebola Ademowo, the Archbishop of the Province of Lagos of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) said the call was an open invitation to destabilization of the country.
2. The Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), equally made of eminent citizens and elder statesmen, has taken a very critical position over the call The Y.C.E. faulted The Patriots call; and they were alarmed by the call, which is a direct invitation to anarchy. The Patriots� reasons are aberrant action are very confounding and illogical". The YCE questions the "patriotic credentials of the Patriots" if they could even call for a hurried amendment of the constitution "The Patriots call coming after the aggrieved have heeded the voice of reason and taken their cases to the election tribunal is rather suspicious and sinister. Are the patriots calling for the dissolution of the tribunals or as eminent jurists, are they declaring loss of confidence in the judiciary, an institution they have served meritoriously for many years?" The Patriots call as suspect and that it could be having a hidden agenda. The source said that the Yoruba elders would call on Nigerians to defend their mandate and to resist any action to abort the country's democracy
3. The 1986 Nobel laureate for Literature and consistent commentator on the polity, Prof. Wole Soyinka, had described the call as "insidious" and lacking in thorough thinking. Soyinka said it was unbelievable that a group made up of such eminent names in the society would be canvassing a subversion of the constitution and asking for rules of a game to be changed mid-course; just so to satisfy the imperative of an emergency. "We all have a responsibility to ensure that this democracy is sustained". .
4. Alhaji Lateef Jakande, former governor of Lagos State, also said the call is an invitation to chaos. "I condemn totally the attempt to invite foreign nations into internal matters of this nation", he said adding "Also, there is no basis for interim government in the constitution of Nigeria, either in fact or in law".
5. In his own reaction, Gen. A. O Aduloju, former Commandant, Command and Staff College, Jaji, said, "before the presidential primaries, our so-called Patriots had taken it upon themselves to pick up our constitution and remodel it, prescribing a five-year political term of office once and for all for a President. They did this with so much impunity to the extent of suggesting that the amendments of the constitution should be binding on the incumbent President. "The Patriot' rendered the same tune during the impeachment debacle between Mr. President and the National Assembly.
Now that the nation has successfully had an election and all the world has acclaimed its success, to the extent that all the world powers, and major countries of the western world, the European Union, the eastern bloc, African countries etc, have all acknowledged victory for Mr. President and recognised him as the winner of the April 19th election nation-wide, the 'Patriots' now comes up with the same old tune of unpatriotic and retrogressive song, demanding a cancellation of a concluded and successful election that had caused the nation money, property, time, and lives. Aduloju a former presidential aspirant of the defunct Nigerian Republican Convention, continued: "They should note that there is no country in the world where an election exercise was done 100 per cent foolproof", he said while recalling the last US election that produced George W. Bush as American president.
6. Mr. Alabi is Wondering why the respected elders chose this critical moment in Nigeria's history to align forces with agents of destabilization. Alabi whose CAFI those who are clamouring for the cancellation of the election results are unwittingly inviting chaos and anarchy, which will eventually sweep them away. Alabi also regretted that the elders, who among them are eminent lawyers, have by their recent utterances lost faith in the constitutional provisions regarding election tribunals, where aggrieved politicians are already seeking redress. "Their regrettable position can only undermine the rule of law and precipitate lawlessness", he said.�
My conclusion is that �The Patriots" are bereft of ideas! The Patriots have willed themselves into monumental irrelevance in Nigeria and history!
I flinch and even shudder at the suggestions by some Nigerians that �mass actions and other disruptive or violent behaviour should be allowed to thwart inaugurations on May 29, 2003! No individuals or group of persons, Nigerian or foreign should be allowed plunge Nigeria into anarchy or chaos, all in the name of having grievance or being aggrieved! No! Illegal behaviour as enunciated in numerous public threats must be nipped!
Nigerian constitution must be strengthened not decimated, disregarded or dismantled!
Enough of the Buhari/Okadigbo/Ojukwu threats and intimidation! Enough already!
God and Allah have always blessed Nigeria and will continue to dos so, even more abundantly!
Paul I. Adujie is a Nigerian Lawyer and an Information Technology Professional