The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, last week threatened that the Federal Government may proclaim a state of emergency in Anambra State. This was because the state has suddenly changed from its peaceful nature as the November 6 governorship election approaches to that of violence by unknown gunmen.
A prominent figure, Dr. Chike Akunyili, sadly lost his life in the imbroglio, among others. In all, about 10 persons have lost their lives to the unknown gunmen lately. However, many believe the violence is politically motivated with a plot to manipulate the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
Malami, who is a member of the APC-Anambra Campaign Council, despite the sensitive position he occupies in the government displays a body language that is similar to that of the APC candidate, Andy Uba, who is also endorsing the emergency rule.
The state witnessed similar mayhem when the present APC candidate contested in the PDP platform during Obasanjo’s administration. Since Malami’s remarks, criticisms from leaders-of-thought have continued to trail it.
The state governor, Willie Obiano, without taking chances has reported the AGF to his principal, President Muhammadu Buhari. Indeed, people were stunned that Malami whose state, Kebbi, has also been under siege for years by banditry including countless abduction of school children could recommend emergency rule on Anambra for a violence of a few weeks.
Though the violence in Anambra is condemnable, nonetheless, it must be noted that it doesn’t measure a fraction of the casualties the nation has recorded in places like Borno, Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Benue, Plateau, Yobe, Niger, Adamawa, Taraba and others.
In these states, terrorists have not only killed several thousands of citizens but have also attacked military formations and slaughtered soldiers and other security officers. Terrorists have even brought down some sophisticated combat aircraft.
Amid these outrageous developments, Malami remained silent. To be candid, this episode and other previous allegations that have been linked to AGF Malami leave much to be desired of the occupant of the sensitive position.
Instructively, the AGF is expected to be nonpartisan. Unfortunately, under Malami’s watch, many developments had pointed to partisanship, with even the courts being used recently in obtaining of frivolous orders as in the past.
These inadequacies triumphed during the previous administrations which Buhari vowed to stop by his ‘Change’ mantra. Thus, there’s no better time for President Buhari to put his house in order. Remarkably, President Buhari unyieldingly displayed statesmanship during the Edo election, and didn’t allow federal bullying interfere with the will of the people.
Convincingly, Buhari can do it again, and must not allow his aides to defecate on his hard-earned integrity. Nigeria cannot go back to the dark years when governors were imposed on people through federal might. To AGF Malami, the question begging for answers is: if a state is under attack, between the President who is the chief security officer and commander-in-chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, and the governor handicapped by the constitution, who should be liable?
For emphasis, by constitutional arrangement, all security agencies take directives from the president. Hence, the call for emergency rule in Anambra; believably a script to foist a lapdog against the popular-will is an indictment on the Federal Government.
Even though the believably sponsored-mayhems cannot be compared with that of Borno or other states under a siege, however, it is worrisome as Anambra State for over 16 years has enjoyed peace, stability and progress.
Thus, order must be restored forthwith. Again and importantly, there are numerous untreated issues particularly allegations of misconducts linking some government officials, and the masses deserve to know how those weighty allegations were investigated. That is how other countries of the world make progress.
As a matter of fact, had the various protests been tied to any specific and meaningful issue instead of ‘Revolution-Now’ or ‘Buhari-Must-Go’ they would have made serious impacts. Had any been directed towards the probity of any public officeholder, certainly, it must succeed with popular support as accountability is key in public service.
But the organisers took it personally and misfired. Public officeholders cannot do whatever they like against standard norms. An untreated issue that must not continue to be swept under the carpet is the alleged financial misconducts by former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.
The indictments cannot be treated as a party or family affair. The public deserve to know what transpired that led to the coded removal of Magu from office, strangely, without prosecution. Magu cannot be shielded on the alleged misconducts particularly, diversion of proceeds recovered from corruption.
Otherwise, the Federal Government should be willing to release all the helpless masses languishing in various correctional centres across the country even for lesser crimes. These are where mass actions are requisite. And the government must treat these matters seriously and urgently. Some people cannot be above the law or sacred cows. The time to act is now.
•Umegboro is a public affairs analyst and social crusader, wrote from Abuja