Of bans and blames

As you know, I do not use my blog as a platform to discuss divisive issues especially politics. This is because I respect the right of every individual to hold their belief and believe in their political philosophies. However, I lived through the military era in Nigeria and people disappeared for criticising the government.

Resist Dictatocracy

In those days, magazines and newspapers were the frontline because most information and opinion were expressed through them. As a result many editors paid dearly with their lives and loss of freedom. It was also the time when brave young lawyers like Gani Fawehinmi and Femi Falana became prominent for not bowing their heads.

Today the means of expression is social media. On a global scale, there are platforms to get information, take a stand and express your view. These platforms have their rules but are overall built on the principles of freedom of expression.

This freedom is both enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and within international treaties like the UN Declaration on Human Rights, adopted by Nigeria. Which explains why the first act of any military government is to first suspend the Constitution because what they will do is against the constitutional provisions.

A democracy on the other hand, gets its entire existence from a constitution. The right of the citizens are protected by the Constitution and it serves as the guardrails against excesses by any government that is established therein. In essence, it tells you that your right to life, privacy, beliefs and expression is sacrosanct and protected. Then it proceeds to set out the only ground upon which any citizen can be deprived of those rights.

Every known scholar has rightly posited, that a mere announcement by an Attorney General does not equate to a law properly passed by the country’s legislature. Our set of criminal laws also have to be passed by Senate and contain written penalties for it to be enforceable.

This does not mean that a government cannot act in an illegal or illegitimate manner. They can do so until they are estopped by the courts after this is challenged. It is the nuisance and inconvenience of the lengthy court process that makes it prudent to comply with an obviously unlawful order by government authorities while you challenge it in court to have it upturned.

Civil disobedience and protest is also recognised but has it’s own set of risks. I salute those with the courage to use this approach at risk to themselves. The bottom line is that whichever route you choose, an unlawful order must be challenged by every well meaning Nigerian.

Beyond this please do not ever forget those who attempt to enslave the populace in a democracy. They rely on our collective short attention span to perpetuate nonsense in the hope that you will forget before the next election. Surprise them for once.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. A military government in democracy clothing.

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  2. Ogunlade Taofeek says:

    We are our own problems, see as the youth are gathering themselves for protest but when election comes they won’t use the same energy to gather people to vote for their choice of candidate because some most have collected money from the govt or the big spender among the aspirants.
    2023 is around the corner, the youth should use the energy to get it right.

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  3. Nosa says:

    Obviously we’re not going to forget come 2023, although alot of people are still going to sell their conscience for peanuts.

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  4. Misi says:

    The issue is to have courage to make a change when the time comes.

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  5. Gbolahan says:

    This menace deepens when you consider that we are really on our own. And nobody’s coming to save us. Not the impotent NA, not the sleeping, striking Judiciary.
    I mean…the House of Reps really apologised for “disrespecting” the President by inviting him months ago. Ah! Looks like a village square gathering with a sovereign chief and millions of subjects.
    I keep thinking – God forbid that this man decides to proceed to a third term, how will we stop him? Who will? His disappointment-of-a-lawyer AG will simply announce on social media or the TV that the President has decided to continue…and criminalise protests. I don’t think his brain-area emptiness is the problem. I mean – that’s not in problem. It’s that they are ruthless. They really don’t care about the rule of law or due process.
    Break a law, tap at Lai to say something ridiculous to justify it. Move on to the next opportunity to break yet another law. We need to chronicle just how many wrongs these guys have perpetrated to be shocked.
    Again, if they choose not to step down, what are we going to do?!
    Like I’ve always said, I know not everybody is able to…but for anybody who has the means, please get out while you can.

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