It is very interesting to hear or read the words of oath of office during swearing in ceremony of any president. I am not going to go into details of these words but some of these words stand out from the rest. Those words are for example : I Mohammadu Buhari swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President (or discharge the functions of the President) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law and that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of Nigeria. So help me God.
Whether this came from the old or current constitution does not really matter, since the contents of the words are extremely similar if not the same. It is very simple and direct to comprehend and categorically say that the main duty of the president is to protect and defend the Constitution and the law of the federation. This brings me direct to reason for this article.
It is grievous indeed when the president of the country does not respect the same constitution he swore to protect and defend. Though some may argue of the need to fight corruption or for the president to be tough on issues like that of Nnamdi Kanu. But why should the president defy the same constitution and law he swore to defend and protect? He cannot be really fighting for the law or the country when he blatantly disobeys court orders and the rulings of the courts or judges.
OATH OF OFFICE OF PRESIDENT
I…………………………………………….. swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President (or discharge the functions of the President) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law and that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of Nigeria. So help me God.
1976 No. 22
The development in the country with the behaviour of the president is not only worrying, it is awful and it sets a very terrible example to the state governors, local government chairmen and many others. It will soon become the order of the day for state governors and others to defy, disobey court orders and rulings simply because the president is doing the same. The message from the president to the entire country is indeed worrisome and is going to set Nigeria backward to the military days or even to the days of Mohammadu Buhari as a military head of state.
It was norms in the murky days of military rulerships in Nigeria to see military heads of state snub court orders, or even order the arrest of the judges or magistrates. The very acts of retaining and remanding in custody Gen. Dasuki and Mr Nnamdi Kanu brings back those memories of the murky military days. These people have been granted bails by various courts but the president refused and ordered for their unlawful detention. His ordering of siege on the house of Islamic cleric Imam El Zakyzaky and remanding him in custody even when he was in desperate need for medical attention. This may be the beginning, what more has he in offing?
While some may argue that he is being tough on serious issues to show his seriousness or firm stand. it is indeed very worthy to remind those that he, the president cannot uphold and protect the law by breaking the same law. The court should be the highest authority in the land and the president must show or lead by example by obeying the law and respecting the orders from the courts. Right now, he is absolutely not doing that, and that is terrible for the country. Those who support him may cheer and rejoice now, but sooner or later, he will bolden his stands and run away like a mad dog. It is a matter of time before he extends his military kind of posture against the orders of the court to many others issues on our citizens. Then, those who may cheer him now, will no longer cheer then.
The international press are already taking keen notice of his military kind of posture towards orders of the court and defiance he showed on those issues on his first media chat. The Washington Post, an American Newspaper had this to say about him.
“Nigeria won’t release 2 detainees despite court orders
Nigeria’s government will not release two prominent detainees despite several court orders for their release, and will not comment on the situation of a third, wounded detainee, President Muhammadu Buhari said Wednesday.
Buhari, a former military dictator who calls himself a born-again democrat, did not discuss the propriety of defying court orders when he spoke on national TV.
“If you see the atrocities these people committed against this country!” Buhari said in justification. “We can’t allow them to jump bail.”
A Federal High Court set no bail conditions and ordered the unconditional release of Biafra separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu on Dec. 17. Kanu was detained Oct. 17 on charges recently escalated to terrorism and financing terrorism. His cause led to a civil war that killed 1 million people in the 1960s.
Former national security adviser Sambo Dasuki was detained Nov. 4 after intelligence agents surrounded his home for days to prevent him from leaving the country after a court allowed him bail to seek medical care abroad.
Dasuki is accused, among other things, of diverting $2.2 billion meant to buy arms to fight the Boko Haram Islamic uprising. Three courts have ordered his release on bail.
“What of the over two million people displaced, most of them orphans whose fathers have been killed?” Buhari asked. “We cannot allow that.”
He refused to discuss the situation of Shiite leader Ibraheem Zakzaky, who was detained with four bullet wounds Dec. 14 in military raids that allegedly killed hundreds of his followers.
The army said the raids and bulldozing of Zakzaky’s home and Shiite spiritual centers was a response to an alleged Shiite attempt to assassinate Nigeria’s army chief. Human Rights Watch has said the raid was unprovoked.
Authorities have refused to allow anyone to see Zakzaky.
Buhari said he would not comment until an investigation is complete.
My question to his supporters are, is this the change you wanted and voted for? Is this the president you wanted, the president who will have utter disregard for our Constitution and law?
By Ike A. Offor