Rule by the gun? Never again!

Ogunsakin Mustapha
6 Min Read
Gbemiga Ogunleye

By Gbemiga Ogunleye

The year was 2002 and we were seeing off Mrs. Bola Thomas, the Chief Executive Officer of LTC Advertising. She had come to The Punch on a courtesy call, in solidarity, for the foremost role the newspaper played in forcing the soldiers back to the barracks, after 16 years of military rule.

When we saw the charming lady to the car park, we were pleasantly surprised to behold the striking bold sticker on the rear windscreen of her Honda Civic.
Just two words : NEVER AGAIN! A second round of more animated discussion then commenced on the havoc the military had wrought on the country.

We reviewed the state of the country and discussed, especially, what the press suffered during the years of the locust.
We X-rayed the arrests, detention, trials, travails and the torture of journalists during the period. We lamented that a country blessed with so much human and material resources, found it difficult to take its rightful place in the comity of nations.

We agreed that the military successfully ruined our economy, made our country a pariah and perhaps more importantly, destroyed the political and social fabric of our country. We then resolved with our guest, that, no matter how imperfect our democracy is, no matter the shenanigans of our politicians, NEVER AGAIN, should our country be ruled by men trained to kill!

NOW, why did I go down memory lane?
It is to respond to calls by some genuinely misguided people who are clamouring for an unconstitutional change of government, as a result of the present hardship in the land. Is there hunger in the land? The answer is an unequivocal YES. Is there anger in the country? I again say yes. Are a lot of Nigerians losing hope and faith in their country? I answer in the affirmative.
And I agree that the government’s removal of fuel subsidy and its decision to float the Naira have occasioned unimaginable inflation and galloping prices never thought imaginable.
But are these hardships and pain enough reasons for the invitation to the military?

My view is that we should not cut our nose to spite our face. As a philosopher has stated, democracy may not be the best form of government, but the human mind has not conceived a better alternative. Nigerians who lived through the Ibrahim Badamasi and the Sani Abacha dispensations of decadence, couldn’t have forgotten in a hurry what our country experienced when these evil soldiers ruled the land.

The elders in the land should teach our Twitter (X) and new media generation to be careful of what they wish for. They should tell our youths that abusing, deriding and mocking the President and government officials on the social media will be a visa to prison under a military administration.

The electoral process is certainly far from being perfect but at least we are making encouraging progress. It is only in a democracy that a Godwin Emefiele, can threaten to sue the Senate President, over the latter’s statement that the charges against the former CBN Governor were so numerous to the extent that the government didn’t know which to try him on. Can you imagine a man, whose Naira ‘Re-colouring’ policy led to the death of many Nigerians, still having the effrontery, of threatening to sue the country’s number three citizen?

That’s one of the beauties of democracy.
Were Emefiele to be a citizen of China, he most likely would be keeping a date with the hangman! Having said that, it’s important to advise the government not to push its citizens to a position where they lose faith in government. Political office holders should take courses in emotional intelligence.

Approving the purchase of a N160million SUVs for each member of the House of Representatives is grossly insensitive in these hard times.
Ostentatious display of wealth by public officers and members of their family should be a NO, NO. And it’s about time we began to rethink the idea of having a bi-camera legislature.

The consensus of opinion seems to be that it is wasteful and that a country in dire economic crises can’t afford to continue to maintain the Senate and the House of Representatives.
As they say, he who has EARS, let him hear.
For me and my tribe, DEMOCRACY FOREVER!

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