By Frank Tietie
A government takes responsibility for all its citizens and applies the law to preserve order, a stable polity and a future that is certain.
Article 12 (2)of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification & Enforcement) Act, Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 provides as follows:
Every individual shall have the right to leave any country including his own and to return to his country.
This right may only be subject to restrictions, provided for by law for the protection of national security, law and order, public health or morality.
Whereas, the role of the executive arm of government is to implement the law as it is either made by the National Assembly or determined by the courts, the trend of President Buhari’s administration so far, is to pitch groups and classes of Nigerians against one another in the name of fighting corruption.
By the proclamation of placing a travel ban on unnamed individual Nigerians, the administration has again set in motion the business of witch hunting and castigation of perceived opponents.
President Buhari has abandoned such guaranteed freedoms and rights which endear a country to its people and has chosen a posture of one who witch hunts his fellow citizens to enhance his anti-corruption image.
The things that unite a people, and cause them to pay allegiance to a country include the belief in the sense of justice and the protection they derive from being citizens
On the contrary, the President and his party have governed by separation and division of the people, hopefully, to gain political advantage. Theirs has been a government that measures itself by how much it is better than another past government and not by how much it has complied to the law for the ultimate good and progress of Nigeria and Nigerians.
President Buhari’s approach, therefore, has been the application of the privilege of governance to make dissenters appear very bad so that he, his administration and party may appear very good. Nigerians are smarter than that by now!
In myopia, the APC led government is blinded to the realisation that a government serves all with the impartiality of the law, including opposition members.
A sinister driven governance that simply categorises or labels some persons with a bad name in order to hang them, just to appear good to itself is a bad omen for a country that intends to be great.
Nigerians must, therefore, resist such political chicaneries by every legitimate means possible and in the coming elections, exercise their civic responsibility to vote out such a government.
There is a way the sanction of law is applied, even against members of the opposition that they would acknowledge that they did not only deserve such sanctions but that a sense of justice has been served.
However, when sanctions are applied to gain selfish political motives, distrust and disunity are set in motion, ultimately detracting from national unity, which has been on the decline since President Buhari assumed office.
The handy but now highly ineffective means the government had adopted, was to always brand some persons as corrupt while fanning the divisive embers of religion and ethnicity in order to continue to maintain its false messianic claims to Nigeria’s presidency.
Have Nigerians noticed how much hatred, vitriol and venom that have been brewed and spewed between themselves in course of the life of the administration of President Buhari? Is that the kind of country they really want?
Nigeria fought a bitter civil war based on the same horrible sentiments that are prevalent in the life of this administration and since that war, those who have truly worked for the unity of the country are well known.
Nigerians hardly ever considered the amiable former Presidents Shehu Sagari or Umaru Yar Adua as Fulani at the different times both of them presided over the problems of Nigeria but sadly, the colourations of religious bigotry and ethnic considerations of being Fulani have permeated almost every action of the President Buhari led administration especially with regards to matters of security, official appointments and human rights.
Therefore, nothing can be more exciting at this moment in the political development of Nigeria, now that Atiku Abubakar, a Fulani who reflects far more Nigerianness than Buhari has now emerged as a presidential front-runner.
Those ethnic and religious bigots will now find out in the person of Atiku that the virtues of love and respect for fellow human beings far transcend the sick myopia of division, oppression, domination, ethnicity, religion and the short reign of blatant lies.
The reported travel ban, like Executive Order 6 is another one of those needless distractions and mere political jingoism that are without any real value.
Lawyer and Human Rights Activist writes from Abuja