WEDNESDAY COLUMN BY USSIJU MEDANER
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This week, while I pondered the height of decadence of the individuals who claim to be heroes of human rights and purveyors of sanity in the country, those individuals who were erroneously placed in positions of respect and are assumed to be the arbitrators and public enforcers of diligence, efficiency and leadership conformance to rules, I cannot but remember the perfect example of a man who was true to his beliefs and integrity to death: the late Gani Fawehinmi (SAN).
There was an era, when we had men of the order of Gani Fawehinmi who chose to be the uncompromised voice of the people, the arrow head of the check on public officeholders and the helper of the downtrodden in society. He was apolitically and without emotional biases. That was a time when men stood against injustice wherever it was found and called black, black, and not for material gains or political or community recognition.
I remember a man who never took sides with any political group, or tribal entity or individuals, when the truth had to be told. Unfortunately, he is gone and those who come to prominence by virtue of pretending to be the heir of his estate, are but the entire negation of what he spent his lifetime building as a legacy. What we are thrust with in the present dispensation of Nigeria are men in the caliber of Femi Falana and co; men who parade themselves as heroes but who are nothing but selfish individuals taking advantage of the gullibility of Nigerians to improve their takes from the system.
In the words of the great Gani “If we are in the habit of practicing the opposite of what we preach, our admonition will not only lose their force and cogency, but also we ourselves will forfeit every claim to credibility. An ounce of example, it has been widely said, is far better than a ton of precepts.” This has become the exact state of those who were supposed to act in the shoes of the great man but who are now hiding behind fame to extort the people.
I hold a different view of the integrity of these men in Nigeria of today; men who are placed by societal bias at the pinnacle of trust for speaking for the citizens and downtrodden against oppressions from whatever corner, be it government, groups, sectional or individuals. A Femi Falana, who was comfortable as the lawyer to some disdainful elements, to bring to the gutters the name and integrity of a country he has severally claimed to be absolutely loyal to, yet, in some strange twist, he spearheaded the local and international media war against a government that purportedly has no respect for human right and he would prefer to see his client dead in prison while suffering from whatever name he called the ailments. I am sure the erudite lawyer was privy to the entire drama and the plan to deceitfully get his client out of the country to evade justice. It is unexplainable how a man who presents himself as the arbitrator of the law and justice would spearhead the orchestration of an accused escaping trial. Gani Fawehinmi would not run from justice nor support the plan for any other to do so. I wonder what would have happened if Zakzaky had successfully escaped as they planned; perhaps they already had a narrative that would still make the man the victim as they are developing for Nnamdi Kanu now.
It is equally appalling that currently, because it is a Buhari government that is involved, the re-arrest of a fugitive running from law could be interpreted so easily by these men as being wrong; that any right thinking individual, talkless of highly placed legal luminaries would see Kanu as a victim begs for solemn reconsideration of our faulty biases and emotional departure from what is right because we have sides to take and individuals to oppose and castigate by all means.
Which country would fold its hand and let go of a man that jumped bail, regardless of what the allegations are; which country would not take full measure of all possibilities to secure the re-arrest of such an individual. Would the likes of Falana have taken the same stance if the fugitive had been an individual of Fulani descent? Would they not have been in the forefront of disparaging the government for not speeding up the processes of bringing such individuals back to the country to face the justice he ran from.
Much more, when the fugitive is Nnamdi Kanu, a man who did not only jump bail but has also unapologetically and openly been responsible for destructive uprising in the Southeast region of the country for a while. This is a man who openly takes responsibility for the killing, maiming and mass unrest engulfing the region and who has been responsible for the death of tons of innocent citizens including law enforcement officers and political figures; and huge destruction of public and private infrastructure.
I cannot explain how these men found it comfortable to accuse the Muhammadu Buhari-led government of complicities in the insecurity in the region, but would want to acquit Kanu from all responsibility and coined for him a victim status; all because Buhari must not be supported.
It is unexplainable how after that singular incidence of Zakzaky’s aborted escape plan in India, which is an eyeopener to who these men really are, yet Nigerians would still, for any reason, choose to trust their words or dispositions; but unfortunately, these men flourish in their enterprises knowing full well that a section of Nigerians, those who are of the opposition fold, wouldn’t care about what they do or didn’t do yesterday, for as long as it helps create more negative impression on the integrity and acceptability of the ruling party and the government at the center.
Today, across the country, the opposition and their operatives are throwing the truth, justice and reality to the air, ignoring the necessity of government actions, and technically creating narratives of the Kanu re-arrest in a manner that injures the government and national integrity; all for the need to gain some edges on a President they so much loath and want to see that it fails and falls. Yet, these are men who speak eloquently of their loyalty and commitment to the state of Nigeria. What a duplicity!
They sold their souls to the devil; choose the path of hatred for the President and his party. They directly and indirectly delight in the violence that engulf the country; refusing to lend supporting views and actions to the fight against the elements behind the ongoing national unrest but spare no time and effort to expand public fear and concern to hurt the government. But they forgot that “violence never settles anything right: apart from injuring your own soul, it injures the best cause. It lingers on long after the object of hate has disappeared from the scene to plague the lives of those who have employed it against their foes.”
Today, they might be enjoying and benefiting from the unrest they prefer as an instrument of opposition, but definitely, their share in the consequences of the insecurity they supported and the criminals they speak for today would not go un-served.
For those of us that love this country, we are always comforted that the triumph of light over darkness may tarry but it will dome. Late Obafemi Awolowo rightly said “After rain comes sunshine; after darkness comes the glorious dawn. There is no sorrow without its alloy of joy; there is no joy without its admixture of sorrow. Behind the ugly terrible mask of misfortune lies the beautiful soothing countenance of prosperity.” Later or sooner, the days of peace and prosperity would come to our dear nation.
GOD BLESS THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA!