We, the members of the foremost civil Rights advocacy group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA), have watched with a great deal of consternation and unfathomable disappointment, the unconstitutional and malicious reactions from the desk of the media adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari to Distinguished SENATOR Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP) a ranking, reputable Legislator of global acclaim and the senate minority leader, over his legislative assertion that President Muhammadu Buhari should quit for failing spectacularly to rein in the ever expanding frontiers of grave threats to Nigeria’s national security over the last five years.
We condemn the malicious dimension that Shehu Garba, the senior assistant media to the president took in his reaction to the statesmanly call by the senator.
We must state however that we are not completely disappointed that Garba Shehu veered off into the arena of argumentum ad hominem of attacking the messenger Distinguished Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe rather than confronting the message.
This has become a regular pattern of work by the officials of the media desk of His Excellency, president Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR).
We are however compelled, as patriots, to once more appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to stop wasting scarce public fund in maintaining a media office in his office populated by crass opportunists who are garrulous, cantankerous, anti-constitution and who speak as if Nigeria is a full blown totalitarian or fascist state. We are under a constitutional democracy and Mr. President was elected, inaugurated and must abide by the tenets of the Nigerian constitution of 1999 (as amended).
It is wrongheaded for the harmless position canvassed legally in the open plenary session of the senate of the federal republic of Nigeria by the senate’s minority leader, Distinguished Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe to be greeted from the Presidential spokesman with a weird verbal outbursts and it is unstatesmanly and unpatriotic that the presidential spokesperson resorted to using gutter and unpresidential language to attack senator Abaribe.
First and foremost, the call for the resignation of Mr. President predicated upon the existential facts, indeed from abundance of empirical body of evidence that he (Mr. President) has failed to stop the ever increasing mass killings of Nigerians by his kinsmen the armed Fulani herdsmen and many other freelance armed hoodlums and for failing to realistically wage result-oriented counter terror war.
His (Senator Abaribe’s) call is the right call. The call was made from the abundance of love for the survival of Nigeria currently buffeted by a monumental amount of violent threats to her territorial integrity.
Moreover, the call for the resignation of president Muhammadu Buhari only came after the president himself expressed his lack of capacity to defeat the armed insurgency and the rising attacks on innocent citizens by armed Fulani herdsmen, armed bandits, boko haram terrorists and many other lawless anarchists who have made life so difficult for commuters on all federal roads in Nigeria.
It is not in doubt that the main responsibilities of the government, among other fundamental functions are foreign diplomacy, military defense, maintenance of domestic peace, administration of justice, provision of public goods and services, promotion of economic advancement, growth and development and the operationalization of social-insurance and social-welfare programmes.
These facts are well articulated and universally accepted by humanity and all scholars of political economy and science.
Again, the aforementioned responsibilities of government are captured by section 14 (1) (2) of the Nigerian constitution which states thus: “(1) The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a State based on the principles of democracy and social justice. (2) It is hereby, accordingly, declared that: (a) sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority; (b) the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government: and (c) the participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.”
The current administration has failed to deliver on all fronts.
Nigerians are regularly slaughtered in South Africa through violent xenophobic attacks but the current administration rather than take practical steps to report South Africa to African Union and United Nations, rather chose to play the politics of appeasement of the violators of the right to life of Nigerians by the inexplicable and incredible decision of President Muhammadu Buhari paying a visit to president Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa who till date has failed to stop the killings of Nigerians and the xenophobic violence against Nigerian citizens in South Africa. Nigerians in South Africa still live in fear of attacks. Nigeria is not respected international as the President and his team go cap in handing begging for foreign loans which end up being stolen by government officials who deliver substandard infrastructures or none at all.
Mr. President has failed in the field of economy by leading Nigeria to one of the worst economic depression and recession since amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914.
Nigeria also in the year 2018 became the world’s poverty capital, thus overthrowing India even when India has well over two billion population. Nigeria with a population of less than 200 million now is home to absolute poverty facing over 90 million people.
In the field of military defense, the current government has failed even by the self-admission of president Buhari who stated thus: “I was taken aback by what is happening in the North-west and other parts of the country.”
Mr. President told a delegation from Niger state in Abuja, adding: “During our campaigns, we knew about the Boko Haram. What is coming now is surprising. It is not ethnicity or religion; rather it is one evil plan against the country.”
President Buhari then said what he would do: “We have to be harder on them. One of the responsibilities of government is to provide security. If we don’t secure the country, we will not be able to manage the economy properly.”
So, Mr. President has failed in his primary duty for which he was elected. The call for his resignation is in no way misplaced going by the statistical and empirical evidence of failures on all fronts by Mr. President.
We will be writing to President Donald Trump of USA; the British government and European Union to protest the increasing threats to free speech and exercise of fundamental freedoms by citizens. Now critics are hounded by supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari and the security forces now go arresting and persecuting critics only for speaking truth to power. Senator Abaribe has faced many attempts to intimidate and harass him into slavish silence.
We hereby call on president Buhari to rein in his attack dogs to stop the verbal diatribes against the distinguished senator Abaribe.
We warn that let no harm come to him because he has exercised his constitutional right of freedom of speech.
By the way, if a referendum is to be conducted today on the performance of this government on the grounds of economy and security, there is the certainty that overwhelming number of Nigerians will call for the resignation of president Buhari.
The call by senator Abaribe for Buhari to resign is in order.
We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to remember his Oath of Office which he took solemnly as follows:
“I, President Muhammadu Buhari do solemnly swear/affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I will discharge my duties to the best of my ability, faithfully and in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law, and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will strive to preserve the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions; that I will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will abide by the Code of Conduct contained in the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that in all circumstances, I will do right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will; that I will not directly or indirectly communication or reveal to any person any matter which shall be brought under my consideration or shall become known to me as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, except as may be required for the due discharge of my duties as President; and that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of Nigeria. So help me God.”
Sadly, President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to discharge his duty to protect Nigerians as provided for in Section 218 of the Constitution which states thus: “(1) The powers of the President as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation shall include power to determine the operational use of the armed forces of the Federation. (2) The powers conferred on the President by subsection (1) of this section shall include power to appoint the Chief of Defence staff, the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff, the Chief of Air Staff and heads of any other branches of the armed forces of the Federation as may be established by an Act of the National Assembly. (3) The President may, by directions in writing and subject to such conditions as he think fit, delegate to any member of the armed forces of the Federation his powers relating to the operational use of the Armed Forces of the Federation. (4) The National Assembly shall have power to make laws for the regulation of – (a) the powers exercisable by the President as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation; and (b) the appointment, promotion and disciplinary control of members of the armed forces of the Federation.”
From the above provisions, it is clear that the National Assembly has to power to exercise legislative power of oversight over Mr. President’s duty to protect Nigerians because the Constitution provides for Separation of powers and Checks and balances. Those attacking Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe are saboteurs who don’t mean well for Nigeria but whose major concern is to fill up their pockets with filthy lucre.
*Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko; National Coordinator; HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).