Sunday, June 20, 2021

Coup Scare: Could the government be complicit?, by Bala Ibrahim

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tiamin rice

I remember an instance when the then governor of Lagos state, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu raised alarm about an attempt to assassinate him, after an incident in which four people with him were killed. Governor Tinubu said assassins shot at his convoy while he was on his way home from a tour, pointing accusing fingers at the Yoruba Oodua People’s Congress, OPC.

Although the Police, under Mike Okiro as CP, had arrested two prominent people in connection with the attack, late Gani Fawehenmi, (SAM, SAN), was quick to condemn the arrest, insisting on the contrary, that the Governor should be the first suspect.

Gani, (may his soul rest in peace), maintained that Tinubu might have arranged the drama, for the simple reason of stimulating public sympathy, which at that time was decreasing in vigour for the Governor.

If we juxtapose what happened then and what is happening now, with the federal government dishing out warnings almost on monthly basis, about plans by some unscrupulous elements to topple Buhari, we may be compelled to think like late Gani Fawehenmi, SAM, SAN.

Early this week, precisely on Monday, there was an alarm of a plot to topple PMB, by what the government described as, “disgruntled religious and political leaders.” As a consequence, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) was quick to issue a warning, wherein it said, “misguided politicians who nurse the inordinate ambition to rule this country outside the battle box should banish such thought.”

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Prior to that, precisely on Sunday, just a day before the DHQ warning, the Department of State Services (DSS), flashed its own warning against individuals and groups, to desist from utterances and actions that threaten the country’s peace and sovereignty.

Again yesterday Tuesday, pursuant to a series of high profile security meetings, the Presidency, in a statement by the Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina, said the government has uncovered a plot, “championed by some disgruntled religious and past political leaders, to eventually throw the country into a tailspin, which would compel a forceful and undemocratic change of leadership.”

This is not the first, second or third of such a warning coming from the government. Yet there has never been any arrest, or specific mention of name or names of the accused. The obligation of government on the preservation of power goes beyond issuing warnings about plans to usurp such powers. There should be a course of action, legal or moral, that would punish or deter those intentionally engaged in undermining national security, by levying war against the government, or giving aid or comfort to the enemies. Because it is pure treason, which is the highest of all crimes to a country.

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Although everyone knows that since the change of guards at the DSS, when Bichi replaced Daura, intelligence gathering has gone unintelligent, but these warnings, that are becoming synonymous with the barking of a toothless dog, are particularly painful when a country is under constant attacks by bandits, insurgents, separatists etc, and the government keeps saying it would crush them, while the atrocities are continuing with undiminishing intensity.

I was pained most by Femi’s quote of, “Further unimpeachable evidence shows that these disruptive elements are now recruiting the leadership of some ethnic groups and politicians around the country, with the intention of convening some sort of conference, where a vote of no confidence would be passed on the President, thus throwing the land into further turmoil.”

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If the government has such intelligence, what stops it from arresting the culprits immediately, and charging them to court? Should it just fold it’s arms and continue to engage in rhetoric?

Last week, a senior lawyer, a SAN in fact, Mr. Robert Clarke, called on the government to hand over leadership to the military, so as to end insecurity and undertake a restructuring. Knowing that that was how the end of the second republic started, and rather than invite the man for questioning, they permit him to get away with the threat.

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For months, a cleric in Kaduna, Sheik Ahmed Gumi, is hobnobbing with bandits and even advising the government to direct the CBN to pay kidnappers, as the only solution to ending insecurity. Rather than invite the man for questioning, they permit him to get away with the warning.

Namdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho are busy calling for the balkanization of the country into Biafra and Oduduwa Republic. Rather than invite them for questioning, they permit them to get away with the warnings.

The morale of the police is dampened. The military cannot effectively act for fear of being accused of being excessive. Is that the way to go?

Unless the government is the architect of these shenanigans, it must act, and be seen to be acting, by naming and shaming the malefactors.

Alarm bells without actions, can make the government become the suspect, more so because a similar thing had happened under the watch of the same Mr. President.

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