Disturbing coup rumours from the military
We wouldn’t have attached any attention to it if the news of a purported coup planning from a section of Nigerian soldiers was not credited to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. T.Y. Buratai himself. And to underscore the seriousness of the matter, the British Ambassador to Nigeria also corroborated the news item. If the disturbing news was credited to other sources, we would have waved it aside as one of the wild rumours. This is because the secrecy surrounding the activities and personalities of some high-ranking public officials made Nigerians to be peddlers of wild rumours. Thus, making the rumour-mill to be a big industry in Nigeria with its dissemination through the social media and some soft sell tabloids.
When the public is not regularly briefed on the activities of government and its officials, they will be left with no choice than to scoop up and sniff out information for itself. The public will therefore inadvertently be forced to put managers of public information on their toes and make them clarify such disseminated information as either fake or genuine. And that is how we have been living our lives in Nigeria as a nation of rumour mongers.
Currently, Nigeria’s nascent uninterrupted democracy has just clocked 18 years. It should have chocked 57 years since our Independence in 1960, if not for military coups and counter-coups being staged by the Nigerian military partly because of the maladministration of some politicians and mainly due to the need by some powers to preserve sectional or vested interests.
But we are still at loss as to why any group of soldiers in collaboration with some people from the civil populace thought it in their wildest imagination that this is the right time to stage a coup and put an abrupt termination to the ongoing Civil Rule in Nigeria. Despite the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari may be battling with some health-related issues, the wheel of progress of governance is uninterrupted. The government has been running smoothly since the President has done the right thing to transfer the powers of his office to his able and loyal Vice President which has enabled his deputy to step in as the President of Nigeria in an acting capacity while his principal is in London on medical leave. For now there is no noticeable vacuum in government and there are no reported incidents of pipeline vandalisation from the Niger Delta militants. Besides, apart from the improved national security, there are clearer signs that the economy is coming out of recession very soon by God’s grace.
And so, on what basis will some suspected disgruntled elements from both the military and the civil populace want to strike and forcefully bring this current civilian administration to an abrupt end? If anybody or group of persons have an axe to grind with this ongoing democratic government, they should wait for another election year and mobilise enough votes from the Nigerian electorate to vote the ruling party out. Another democratic avenue is through the impeachment process of the president or his deputy if there are sufficient and undeniable reasons to do so.
Or could this reason be purely sectional/ethnic or religious in nature? This second line of thought is not new to students of Nigeria’s political history and reasons behind some of the past military takeovers in Nigeria. This is more so when some leading politicians of the Northern region extraction have started to drum it into the ears of the those that care to listen that the North is entitled to eight years of Presidency in case anything happens to the current President and Head of Government. This is because the Acting President is a Christian from the Southern part of the country. Little did they know that some young people who wished Buhari dead have died in their primes while the President lives to survive them, by God’s grace despite his health challenges. le so pe ki igi gbigbe wo, ki o je pe igi tutu lo ma wo. Yoruba meaning instead of expecting the dried tree to fall, it might be fresh tree with green leaves that will fall down.
Nobody should try to increase the political tension in a country where some people are still battling with the realities of an economy that has been in recession whose foundation was undoubtedly laid by the past administration of the former President Goodluck Jonathan. And it is no news that some Nigerians-both young and old have started to commit suicide while thousands of our youth have died on their ill-fated trips to Europe through the Mediterranean sea. So far, not less than 5,000 Nigerians have reportedly lost their lives through such daring ventures, according to social media reports.
However, this current administration is trying to alleviate these economic sufferings through its Social Safety Nets/ Economic Empowerment Programmes like the N Power, Conditional Cash Transfer, and several others. The government through the Office of the Vice President who now doubles as the Acting President is very consistent in expanding the frontiers of these programmes on a periodic basis that shows the government’s commitment and seriousness to rescue the general populace from the claws of abject poverty and pangs of hunger.
For the next two years therefore, the nation will do well to give the ruling party at the federal level a benefit of doubt to prove its commitment to the wellbeing and welfare of Nigerians through its poverty eradication programmes, improved national security/food security, among other dividends of democracy. If the operators of the Federal Government still find it difficult to deliver on their mandate, Nigerians through their valid votes can through the approved democratic process show them the exit door out of the State House, but definitely not through the barrel of guns. Nigerian democracy has outlived such undemocratic process and is now a role model in the West African sub region and the African continent as a whole.
Meanwhile, we do not want to make further comments on this sensitive subject-matter as we reportedly learnt that the military intelligence has began undercover investigations to get to the root of the matter. At the same time, we have no doubt in the ability of our defence/military intelligence to carry out thorough investigations and ensure there is no case of trying to tie a piece of bone around a dog in order to hang it.
And in closing we are on the same page with the Chief of Army Staff who advised military officers who want to hobnob with the political class should in their own interest resign their commission. In other words, they should pull off their khaki uniform and put on agbada with marching babarigas. It is in their own interests to heed the COAS warning and save themselves of any dire consequences.
Or is the alleged coup planning another Northern political game/agenda to transit power from its civilian to its military politicians? Only God and the insiders in the corridors/chambers of power can tell. As for ordinary Nigerians who may not distinguish their right hands from their left hands when it comes to intricate game of power in Nigeria, we will continue to rely on God who remains the main source of our deliverance and help in line with Psalm 121:1 8, KJV.
Olakunle, JP, is general secretary, National Prayer Movement, Abuja.
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