Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Disloyalty to the Constitution

While swearing in six new federal Permanent Secretaries on 4th January 2006, President Obasanjo emphasized on the need for loyalty to the government and the nation. He said:

”“To me, there is no 99 percent loyalty. It has to be total. If you cannot give total loyalty, then you should look for another job. You have heard of something they call military loyalty. If that means total, then there is no other thing except military loyalty. Because if you do not give military loyalty, you endanger the lives of not yourself but the lives of others when you are in battle.

This statement is interesting as it is very instructive when linked to the third term agenda. This so for the simple reason that before assuming office, the President and the 36 state governors swore to protect and abide by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Despite this, the President and some of the governors are maneuvering to coerce the National and the State Assemblies to hurriedly amend the Constitution in order to accommodate their third term ambitions. It is ironic that the President would demand 100% loyalty from all his subordinates but fail to give 100% loyalty to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria the authority under which he was elected into office. For, a President who violates the constitution of his country when it suits him is certainly on slippery grounds when he demands 100% loyalty from his subordinates.

There is no doubt that President Obasanjo and a tiny clique around him are trying to steer Nigeria into murky waters full of political bombs. All well meaning Nigerians should, therefore, rise up, as they have done in the past, to nip in the bud this cynical and dangerous move. As for Obasanjo, he could do well by heeding the advice of President Matthew Kerekou of the Republic of Benin that

“If you show your wish to remain in power or try to insist on staying there and the people don’t want you, you are heading for the sort of trouble, which Benin managed to avoid in 1990.”

Because anyone,

“Who fails to leave power, power will leave him.”

However, should President Obasanjo choose to ignore this brotherly advice, he may very well be reminded of what he is believed to have told former President Ibrahim Babangida, in a speech at a 1992 Council of State meeting, in response to the calls by some groups for him to prolong his stay in power:

“As someone who was in the battlefield during the Nigerian Civil War and who unexpectedly but providentially assumed the mantle of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and the leadership of the government, I beg you in the name of Allah not to mistake the silence of our people for acquiescence or weakness and the sycophancy of the greedy and opportunistic people who parade the corridors of power as representative of the true feelings of our people.

Nigeria needs peace and stability. It is too fragile to face another commotion. In God’s good name drag it not into one. This is the time for you to have some honourable exit. May God help you and help our country.”

No comments: