Opinion

RE:The Move of a Desperate President By Umar Ardo, Ph.D: Right of Reply by Dr Aliyu Yakunu

Dr Umar Ardo earlier wrote:

The desperation of President Buhari to retain power at all costs has again manifested itself in his illegal act of both changing the National Democracy Day and the investiture of National Honours of GCFR posthumously to late MKO Abiola and GCON to Amb. Babagana Kingibe. Having realized that he has lost public support across the country as a result of his dismal performance in office, and poor handling of issues affecting his Political Party, the NASS, the Judiciary and key stakeholders of the country, particularly the Senate President, the Speaker, Presidents Obasanjo and Babangida, the president ill-advisedly came up with the so-called idea of making June 12 as Nigeria’s ?? Democracy Day and giving National Honours to Abiola and Kingibe.

There’re two issues wrong with this move – i.e. legal and moral. Legally, the president has no powers to confer National Honours on anyone without the deliberation and advice of the National Council of States. The Third Schedule of the Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) at Section 6(a)iii confers on the NCS the powers to advise the president on the award of national honours. The fact is that the NCS didn’t meet to deliberate and advise on this so-called investiture.

Secondly, the National Public Holidays Act has listed 29 May as a National Holiday being the country’s Democracy Day. This means that the president can only change the Democracy Day if the Act is duly amended. And to the best of my knowledge this Act has not been amended. Therefore the president’s pronouncement is unlawful and of no moment. The only thing is that his action has but further affirmed the president as a no-respecter of due process of law and constitutionalism.

On the moral side, the president cannot honour Babagana Kingibe on the basis of June 12 because Kingibe had abandoned Chief Abiola and the June 12 mandate when he joined his kinsman, General Abacha, and took a ministerial appointment in that regime. It’s morally repugnant to now honour him for such an unsalutary act.

Besides, June 12 had never featured in Buhari’s politics. He worked with Abacha who incarcerated Abiola and denied the actualization of the mandate and he never raised the issue of June 12. In his electioneering campaigns in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015, June 12 was never in Buhari’s political lexicon. For 3yrs as president he never uttered the phrase June 12. Even last week when he addressed the nation on May 29, June 12 was not mentioned. So how come all of a sudden, like a bolt out of the blue, June 12 became the new political darling of the president? There’re three answers to it that I can harzard:-
1. President Buhari has realized that he has lost the support of the Nigerian people, particularly in the Southwest, and so he was tricked into making this palliative in the vein hope of reganering support to his fledging presidency;
2. That he is now at opened war with IBB who annulled the June 12 election and OBJ who is the main beneficiary of the resolution of the June 12 imbroglio, he is made to believe that with this move he would regain his support in the Southwest at the same time rubbish the two former presidents; and
3. Unknown to him, he’s playing the political script of Babagana Kingibe and his kinsman, the COS to the president. To all intents and purposes, the two are scheming a succession move to Buhari himself where, in the event of Buhari’s leaving office, Kingibe would’ve been well positioned to succeed him as president. Clearly, in the Northeast, no politician has Kingibe’s profile. He was a Permanent Secretary, Ambassador, National Chairman of the SDP, Abiola’s Running mate, Minister of Internal and External Affairs and Secretary to the Federal Government. Already, through their scheming, Kingibe has taken over the DNI, SSS and the villa. All they need is to resuscitate the spirit of June 12 to which Kingibe would be the major beneficiary. With the GCON conferred on him, the benefits have started dropping. This is a highly sophisticated political scheming that President Buhari wouldn’t perceive.

Nevertheless, the president is so engrossed with the trapping of power and its retention that he could fall for anything. And how big has he fallen! What a great pity for Nigeria ??!! What a great pity!!!

RIGHT IF REPLY :

You need to put Dr. Umar Ardo in perspective. He was a lecturer in political science at the NDA university, I am not sure if a successful one. He later became senior special assistant to Atiku when he was VP (199-2007). He naturally did well for himself in that position when privatization and the Emergency Agency were under the purview of his principal. He has remained since then a a card carrying member of the PDP in Adamawa State.

This former Atiku Abubakar’s acolyte is now a desperate politician anchoring Governor DanKwanbo’s presidential aspiration campaign in Adamawa State. When he was Atiku’s henchman, he was the arrow head of all Atiku’s electoral impunity in Adamawa.

Now they are estranged. Why? Because Atiku refused to support his governorship ambitions in the PDP, having expended all his resources for that purpose in 2011. When in 2014 Atiku left PDP for APC, Dr. Ardo and others remained in PDP hoping to build a structure that would enable his group control the party and by extension fly the party’s flag for governorship election. Things were going according to plan, then suddenly Atiku returned to the PDP and seized the party structure using money power. Now the likes of Dr. Ardo are stranded; governorship ambitions crashed.

This is the background against which he is posing as a pseudo intellectual that he is. How can you say an action is illegal without referring people to the specific aspects of the law that was violated? What yardstick has he used to support the hyperbole that PMB lost the support of the Southwest when till date not a single APC leader has left the party in the Southwest? Which survey did he conduct to arrive such a groundless conclusion? Or he wants us to take his marijuana induced tantrums as scientific analysis?

What moral yardstick was he employing to suggest that Kingibe was undeserving of the award? Okay, he abandoned Abiola? Does that retract from the fact that he was Abiola’s running mate during that ill-fated election? If we are to overstretch the logic, can’t we say that, indeed, Kingibe is now the presumed bearer of the June 12 mandate since Abiola is dead?

It is utterly ridiculous to say that because Abiola never featured in PMB’s politics he would have nothing to do with it.

Still, here he could not prove the assertion. Moreover, June 12 is not a personal matter; it is a state matter. A government annulled the election. Subsequent governments refused to recognize it.

Now another government thought otherwise. Lest we forget, there have been trenchant demands from across the country that one way or the other, such watershed political episode, as the June 12 should be recognized. No one could deny such a popular demand across the country, but expressed more poignantly in the Southwest. Now, what is wrong in acceeding to the demands of the citizens expressed nonstop over a period of 25 years? So what’s the fuss about?

Dr. Ardo might have forgotten that even the Jonathan’s conference made a recommendation for a Federal Government recognition of June 12, which led to Jonathan renaming UNILAG in honour of Chief Abiola, a move that backfired. Even states like Osun, Ogun and Lagos declare public holiday at their level to commomerate June 12. And he is imputing political motives, what did he expect? Has he not seen that some presidential aspirants have made June 12 an issue already? See a PhD holder in political science splitting hairs about a political motive to a political action that resolves a political problem. What a travesty of political analysis.

While Jonathan regionalized the import of the honour making Abiola looked like a tribal champion and undermining the significance of the national mandate that cut across religious, ethnic and regional lines, President Buhari did the needful by recognizing June 12 as an episode of national significance. And that’s the best the way to offer Nigeria the path to true national reconciliation and healing of wounds inflicted by the derailment of the June 12, 1993 election. It reconciles Nigeria with its troubled past and partly atone for the sins of past military dictatorship.

If Dr. Ardo has not seen these dimensions of the issue, then no one can help him in his wailing enterprise.

Yakub Aliyu (2018)

Tunde Alade

Tunde is a political Enthusiast who loves using technology to impact his immediate community by providing accurate data and news items for the good of the country.

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