Nigeria and the rule of law
December 24 every year is always looked up to because of its symbolic representation, being the eve of christmas to herald the birth of Jesus christ by christians all over the World. However, Tuesday, December 24, 2019 will enter into the political history book in Nigeria as the day the rule of law triumphed over the rule of man. The immediate release of col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) and activist and publisher of the Saharareporters, Omoyele Sowore, will no doubt go down in history as one event that Nigerians will not forget in a hurry.
It is indeed, a big victory for democracy and the resilient spirit of the Nigerian people, who have consistently kicked against the high-handedness of the regime of President, major General muhammudu buhari (retd.) and have also condemned the incessant disregard to several court orders across the land and even at the sub-regional level for the release of political detainees granted bail. The law is no respecter of anyone; no matter how big or powerful you may think you are, the law is above all and must be respected by all. The judiciary has further proved that indeed it is the hope of the common man.
It is a welcome development that the accused persons have been released from detention, but that does not mean they have been absolved of any wrongdoing.
However, the court would make a pronouncement on the matters before it at the right time. The action of the Federal Government to yield to the calls from various quarters, on the need to obey standing court orders, is worth commending, though very belated. In as much as we want to rid our society of corruption, the fight must be holistic in approach and civility should be applied in this fight.
Ours is a society of humans with laws to guide our actions and not a jungle, where lawlessness holds sway with no law to guide them. In Nigeria today, there are more than enough laws already in place to guide us as a people, but the greatest challenge in implementing them are the custodians of the laws who have become an albatross of some sorts. Over the years, our political leaders have been the greatest violators of the laws, they were elected to protect and judiciously implement without fear or favour.
Going forward, it is hoped that our political leaders would learn from the ugly incident of the recent past, where violation of human rights and the flagrant disobedience of court orders became the order of the day, creating a breeding ground for anarchy.
The famous poet W.b. Yeats alluded in his poem, The Second Coming: Turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the facolner; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold mere anarchy loose upon the world…” This was also re-echoed in the late Prof. chinua Achebe’s famous novel, “Thing Fall Apart”. We don’t need a soothsayer to tell us Nigeria is currently at its lowest ebb, in terms of democratic principles, practice and experience. We are indeed sitting on a keg of gun powder, waiting to explode except something is done urgently to stem the tide of injustice pervading the land.
The black race is looking up to Nigeria to show leadership and others would follow suit. Unfortunately, we have not lived up to this expectation let alone show leadership.
Neither Dasuki nor Sowore is the winner but democracy, which is entrenched in the rule of law. There are political and economic gains that would accrue to us as a nation if the rule of law is allowed to thrive. It will boost investors’ confidence in the country and earn us our due respect among the comity of nations. Our political leaders must not allow our goodwill to be frittered away.
Let us begin the year 2020 with a renewed hope that the mistakes of yesterday would not be repeated tomorrow and see how Nigeria and Nigerians will flourish in a matter of time.