“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”
– Edmund Burke
In 1770, the Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke wrote about the need for good men to associate to oppose the cabals of bad men, thus originating the most popular quotation in modern time: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. No Nigerian, who is not inflamed by the ongoing desecrations of democracy and the Constitution in pursuit of vain-glory and filthy lucre and power will claim he or she has not succumbed to the to defeat by the subtle designs of the inordinately ambitious citizens. Nigerians must understand that the nation is now imperiled by the malicious ambitions of such Nigerians in high places, as shown again in the use and disuse of Lawal Musa Daura, the erstwhile Director General of the Directorate of State Service (DSS).
Behind this façade is much more. Lawal Daura is but a metaphor for a decayed democratic system. He has carried out similar operations, in cahoots with politicians who are deploying State coercive instruments for the advancement of their private goals. He was untimely retired or dismissed from service but was brought back and given the critical job nonethelss. By so doing, his appointors indicted the Government which eased him out years ago as a misfit. So, that he has blighted national security and desecrated democracy by unilaterally locking up the National Assembly and chasing away lawmakers and staff was, as matter of fact, long doom foretold.
His antecendents pointed clearly to his inclinations as an antidemocratic element. Lawal Daura invaded the houses of Supreme Court Judges and detained many of them for days, against all known canons of string operations. Not one of the judges so humiliated has been found guilty following their trials over what has turned out to be trumped charges. Under his watch, several citizens have been detained for weeks and months under the pretext of national security. Recall the case of Babatunde O. Gbadamosi who was detained for 28 days.
Lawal Daura detained Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe for days and ransacked his house in search of what God knows what. Same thing goes for Gabriel Suswan who is still in the DSS gulags for months without trial. DSS invaded Ekiti Assembly and picked Akanni Afolabi from Efon Alaaye on the orders of Daura. The same man arrested and detained citizen Ebiri, a journalist for about Two years.
Lawal Daura prevented Gov. Ayo Fayose and his wife from entering Government House after Ekiti election. Lawal Daura disobeyed several court orders for the release of that Ibrahim Dasuki Dasuki and Ibrahim El Zazazky.
Lawal Daura ordered his men to invade the National Assembly to force a change in senate leadership by a handful of senators. Few weeks earlier, a combined team of his men, the Police and the EFCC also besieged the residences of the Deputy Senate President Sen Ike Ekweremadu and Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki, to prevent them from attending and presiding over the Senate session, the same aim as the last invasion. Somehow, Saraki escaped their trap and made it to national Assembly to forestall their evil plot.
Emboldened as a man above the law, he then unilaterally organized a more brazen and embarrassing plot which earned him the boot. But Daura is not alone, at least in his previous plots. Daura is merely ‘a fall guy’, a colloquial phrase that refers to a person to whom blame is deliberately and falsely attributed in order to deflect blame from another person.
Few weeks ago, 20 lawmakers of the Benue House of Assembly were prevented by the Nigeria police from gaining entrance into the House. In a kangaroo session staged thereafter, the 7 or 8 members of the opposing Party. commenced the impeachment of the State Governor.
Daura has always been an apparatchiki and main man in this Government. He is now being vilified as the bad guy. If Nigerians accept this narrative, the danger is that officials who have committed similar or perhaps worse crimes against democracy and Nigeria people will remain embedded in the system. When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will all fall, one by one, in a contemptible struggle.
Yes, the Interim Police investigative just confirmed that some politicians who desperately wanted to change the leadership equation at National Assembly used the erstwhile DG of DSS to stage the siege on the National Assemble on the dark Tuesday. The report shied away from naming the politicians. Nobody should be surprised if the Police, tomorrow, adopts the narration that Daura was working for Saraki. But Nigerians are getting wiser and falling less for such Government spins.
Nigeria is a multiethnic nation brought and held together by law. Any promotion of recklessness, lawlessness, illegality and unconstitutionality is an open invitation to anarchy and therefore a recipe for disaster. Anarchy can spin and spiral out of control and assume the stature of Arab Spring. Yet, illegality and unconstitutionality have since become the order, and promoted by even agencies created by law to maintain law and order – the Police, the DSS, the EFCC and the rest. Some may have have committed greater heists in the nation’s democracy perhaps more than DSS and Daura.
Indeed, all the security agencies are there to ensure that politics is played within the ambience of law and order. But today, Security Agencies have allowed themselves to be used by Government officials for political ends, therefore ridiculing both democratic governance and national security.
Like what happened in National Assembly, what happened in Benue House of Assembly where 7 or 8 members where protected by the Police (who also chased away 20 other Benue Lawmakers) to commence the impeachment of the State Governor is treason. Treason is not only the crime of betraying one’s country…helping its enemies. It is betraying the Constitution, or trying to remove its government using violence.
As Federal System, treason is not limited to attempting to illegally remove the federal government. Nigeria has 37 Government (excluding the 774 LGAs equally constituted by the Constitution). Mutiny and treachery geared towards removing the Federal or any State Government is High treason by any definition. Originally, it was punished by hanging, drawing and quartering.
Not only that, certain state actors have also continued to justify the brazen illegalities and unconstitutionality, citing what obtained during the past administrations for justifications. Even as his own people are being massacred in Benue largely due to the inaction of security agencies, Professor Itsa Sagay, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption has continued to defend the brazen illegalities. For good measure, Sagay just retorted about accusation of yet another certificate forgery by Kemi Adeosun, the Finance Minister: “who cares about NYSC certificate. We cannot afford to lose her”. Yet, he is a professor of Law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a senior member of the inner temple of Justice in Nigeria recruited by the President to help him fight corruption legally.
The same can said about Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution as well as Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigative Panel on the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP), Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, who is believed to also parade a fake West African Examination Council (WAEC) O’Level result, yet, shielded by the same government from answering to the charges. To them, it does not matter if the man is fighting corruption with a fake certificate.
Even if the illegality and unconstitutionality being promoted today happened in the past, it is no justification. The APC government came in on change mantra – on the promise to do things differently and properly. Daura’s case may just end up as one of the few symbolic gestures by Government to create the impression that something serious is being done. We saw it with Babachir David Lawal. The indicted Secretary to the Government of the Federation was sacked after over 6 months of hues and cry and today, he is too big to stand trial.
Nigerians and Nigeria deserve better. The citizens can now see through all the subterfuges and shenanigans. So much motion and commission without movement. It is all barbar’s chair.
Law Mefor, a Forensic/Social Psychologist and Journalist, writes from Abuja. Email: [email protected]