Why Is Buhari After Dasuki?
IT is becoming obvious that President Muhammadu Buhari may be on a revenge mission. Within his barely 100 days in office, he has focused more than a passing attention on those who worked with his predecessor, Dr Goodluck Jonathan. He has set a machinery in motion for the probe of the Jonathan administration. He has asked the anti graft agencies to commence a probe of individuals who worked under Jonathan.
Beyond that, he has dispossessed the ex government officials of whatever paraphernalia of office that is left with them, including their diplomatic passports. All of this would not have mattered, but Buhari’s disposition shows that he is out to witch hunt, cutting the image of an avenger whose anger does not wane with time.
We can infer this from Buhari’s determination to hunt down Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.), the former National Security Adviser (NSA). Using Lawal Daura, who is the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Buhari is shooting randomly at those he perceives as his enemies.
Nigerians are still astounded by the invasion of the private residences of Dasuki in Abuja and Sokoto. Daura, acting on orders from above, had sent a detachment of DSS operatives to lay siege to Dasuki’s houses. They turned the houses upside down in search of anything and everything incriminating. They took away vehicles and other things that appealed to them.
Then they went ahead to accuse Dasuki of treason and felony, illegal possession of fire arms, corruption and abuse of power, among other heinous crimes.
Then, DSS operatives placed Dasuki on house arrest, after confiscating his travel documents. Weeks later, they charged him to court for unlawful possession of fire arms. Today, Dasuki is standing trial in an Abuja High Court.
Again, Daura invaded Akwa Ibom Government House. That was strange indeed. An invasion of one government by another in a democracy? That is an oddity. Ordinarily, every state government is autonomous in its own right. The Constitution defines for the federal government and the states their spheres of influence. In a federation such as ours, the federal government is not supposed to ride roughshod over any state government. But it is happening under Buhari .
If this had happened under military rule, Nigerians would have understood. They are used to the military and their bravado. But in democratic rule, the government is supposed to be that of the people, by the people and for the people. It is under this supposed civil atmosphere that Dasuki’s basic and fundamental freedoms were curtailed.
A democratic government breaking into people’s homes at will without regard to their fundamental human rights. A democratic government despoiling the very instruments upon which democracy is founded. Are state governments supposed to be afraid of the federal government? No; rather, they should have mutual respect for each other. None should trample upon the other. When did we descend into dictatorship?
In order to locate the reason for the action, feelers began to emerge from those who know Buhari too well. They whispered that we should have been more imaginative. They reminded us that it was Col. Dasuki who arrested Buhari when he was overthrown in 1985 as military Head of State. We were also reminded that Dasuki played a key role in the coup that ousted Buhari. The conclusion then was that Buhari, 30 years after, was still nursing ill feelings against Dasuki.
This realization surprised many. They wondered why Buhari was living in the past. They wondered if the president had no job to do other than witchhunt his enemies, real or imagined. Does it then mean that Buhari of 1985 is the same Buhari of 2015? Is it really true that the leopard cannot change its spot? This was part of the debate during the Buhari campaigns.
When he was canvassing for our votes, those who know him warned that Buhari would not change; that it was unnatural to expect Buhari to change in old age. We were reminded that people do not change in old age. If anything, they are more fixated. Buhari is still the rigid, dogmatic fundamentalist who does not change his ways.
But then, Buhari is doubly wrong by hunting Dasuki. The retired Colonel did not do anything wrong either then or now. In 1985, he was driven by the line of duty. The military were in charge then. Buhari as head of state did not live up to expectations. He did not know what governance was all about. He groped in the dark, and Buhari had to be shown the way out. Dasuki happened to be one of the gallant officers who rescued Nigeria; nobody should vilify him for it.
After all, Buhari himself was a coup plotter. He overthrew the government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari. Nobody has ostracized him on account of that. And Shagari, being a good-spirited man, has since forgiven Buhari.
That was why Buhari had the face to visit Shagari in Sokoto during the campaigns to ask for the old man’s support. Can Buhari extend this grace to those who stepped on his toes? Hardly. That is why he is still seeing Dasuki with the eyes of 1985. Somebody should tell the president to forget vendetta and face governance. Time is running out on him.
Prof. Handel writes from Awka, Anambra State.