Inviting the military to retake political power?
With several code-named military operations presently launched across the country, and each aimed at maintaining peace, law and order in one location and region or the other as the case may be, many Nigerians are beginning to wonder over who actually runs the country - the elected civilian potentates or soldiers. For while the elected political leaders are ensconced in the opulence and pomp of their gilded and forbidding government houses as well as sundry official residences, the lot of keeping the country intact and running, may have been abandoned to the security agencies with the military leaving the barracks to take the lead. For instance, there is the ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’ under which auspices the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East of the country is contained. Then came the ‘Operation Delta Shield’ which has been replaced by ‘Operation Delta Safe’ perhaps for want of a more palatable name. Others include the now trending ‘Operation Python Dance 11” for the South East zone - so named as its forerunner ‘Operation Python Dance 1’ was held last year. Already the military is planning to make ‘Operation Python Dance’ an annual routine in the zone, ostensibly as a response to expected future flashpoints from there. Also in the sequence is the forthcoming ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ for the same Niger Delta and is intended for consolidating the gains of the military in the designated area.
Meanwhile the deployment of these military assets have been it remains a matter of deep concern circles border on comparisons met with stringent uproar from for all who wish this country well, between the present state of affairs both political and opinion leaders that it requires a rash of military in the country under civil rule and calling for their withdrawal on deployments around her territory the typical situation under military the basis of recorded sordid to keep it intact and running, dictatorship, with many unable to outcomes from clashes between more so during a democratic make a distinction between the the deployed military and host dispensation whereby governance two. While some Nigerians may civilian communities. Indeed, should be conducted as prescribed still be consoled by the generic as evidence abounds, hardly is by a Constitution and therefore argument that the best military there any military deployment in law and order. Adopting a cause dictatorship is worse than the any part of the country without and effect calculus to model the worst civilian misrule, some other corresponding cases of civilian political processes of the country, opinion circles see such argument casualties. For instance, while the would be wrong to contend that as hollow, and easily justify their ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’ in the the military deployments are a position with the glaring instances North East has its own measure of consequence of failure of the civil of blatant abuse of power by the collateral consequences in terms authorities to avert situations that “elected” civilian authorities. of unintended civilian casualties, would attract the former into The return of democracy on so it is with the other operations. relevance? Put succinctly is the 1999 was intended to launch the Hence it is indisputable that the civilians that are wittingly and country into a new dispensation deployment of military forces into otherwise inviting the military into of good governance, given the civilian host communities often action to quell problems that are sense of loss which most Nigerians attracts avoidable and painful created by the acts of commission shared after decades of suffocating consequences. and omission of the former? military rule. The legitimate
Yet the point should not be With the benefit of historical expectations of Nigerians were missed that the forces are not insights, it would seem that around the conduct of governance deployed for a jamboree. Rather once more the complement of away from the incontinences of they are mobilised to address circumstances associated with the past, which featured some situations of anomy which if left serial failure of civil rule are making better forgotten political outrages. unchecked would not only threaten the quest for alternatives to the Rather than such expectations but may even compromise the present political order, thinkable. materializing, the country is country’s sovereignty. This is why Already random musings in several witnessing a resurgence of the While some Nigerians may still be consoled by the generic argument that the best military dictatorship is worse than the worst civilian misrule, some other opinion circles see such argument as hollow, and easily justify their position with the glaring instances of blatant abuse of power by the
“elected” civilian authorities very tendencies that crippled its ascendancy into a viable democracy that provided good governance for its citizenry.
As is easily recalled, it was exactly the playout of circumstances of political intolerance and intrigues that are similar to the present state of affairs that triggered the cataclysmic turn of events in the early 1960s which snow-balled into the prolonged crises and eventual intervention of the military through the series of coup incidents. History records that it was the power-show between the political leadership of sections of the country that were mis-managed and defied resolution by the Nigeria Police, and thus attracted the deployment of the military. One thing led to another until first batch of military coupists would cite the crises as the alibi for their intervention in governance. The eventual result of that enterprise is there for all to see, including the blame sharing aspect.
In the light of the foregoing therefore, it needs not be emphasized that with the expansion of the threshold of military deployments for keeping peace in various parts of the country, civil authority is gradually losing grip of governance, thereby paving the way for its own downfall, as was the case in the early sixties. For to contend that military takeover of power in Nigeria, is in all practical sense wishful thinking. Only good governance as shall be by consensus is the antidote for coups in Nigeria, and so far that is not on ground.