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Cover Story: The Return of Tyranny

After 20 years of unbroken civil rule, Nigeria’sdemocracy is regressing into another tyranny

I do solemnly swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I will discharge my duties to the best of my ability, faithfully and in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law, and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will strive to preserve the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions; that I will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will abide by the Code of Conduct contained in the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that in all circumstances, I will do right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will; that I will not directly or indirectly communicate or reveal to any person any matter which shall be brought under my consideration or shall become known to me as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, except as may be required for the due discharge of my duties as President; and that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of Nigeria. So help me God.

Cover design photo
cover design

This was the oath that President Muhammadu Buhari sworeto for the second time at Eagle Square on May 29, 2019; “…that I will to thebest of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the FederalRepublic of Nigeria.” If he had taken this oath in Okija Shrine or any otherpotent Nigerian shrine, the gods may have exacted due punishments for a serialbreach of the constitution. The common thread running through Buhari’s overfour years in power as civilian president has been constitutional breaches.

Had Nigerian democracy been robust like that of thewestern countries, especially United States of America, the National Assemblywould have initiated impeachment proceedings against Mr. President. Respect forthe rule of law is integral to promotion and preservation of the values andprinciples of democracy. No matter how patriotic and well-intentioned a regimemay be, the test of democracy is the rule of law. Under Buhari, the rule of lawis seen to be in chains as he governs with the same military impunity thatmarked his brief stint as military head of state from 1983 to 1984.

In the 20 Years of Democracy in Nigeria Conference hosted by TELL Communications Limited in Abuja on Wednesday, October 23, it was generally held that the indicators of rule of law are in regression under Buhari. Among the four presidents that have ruled Nigeria since the return of democracy in 1999, he is seen to be the least responsive to the rule of law. Since 2015, the annual National Appropriation Act, which is a law, has never been implemented according to the Act. According to the National Assembly, the implementation of the capital budget is about 25 percent. In some ministries, it is as low as 15 percent. Ben Akabuze, the director-general of the budget office, claims that if the recurrent expenditure is taken into…

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