BUHARI’S SPEECH: A PRECURSOR TO AUTOCRATIC GOVERNANCE
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has bemoaned President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech in which he regarded the N500 and N1,000 notes has ceased to be a legal tender in the country.
In a release issued by its Director, Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo on behalf of the organization’s Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “In the last couple of weeks, Nigerians have been facing the reality of scarcity of cash. Our banks are overwhelmed by angry customers demanding money, the ATMs are flooded with furious Nigerians struggling to withdraw cash, and some spend the whole day hoping to get a few Naira notes to pay bills. POS operators complain of lack of money; a few have charged between 15% and 20% to customers to get some cash”.
But to make matters worse, President Buhari in his recent speech to the nation illegalizes the N500 and N1,000 notes despite the Supreme court ruling extending the period the notes can be in circulation.
The CACOL head noted that “The Supreme Court can make pronouncement even on the President or whatever policy that emanates from the executive and because the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is part of the executive, any pronouncement from the Apex court relating to the monetary policy of the land in particular and the CBN in general must be obeyed to the latter. The presidency is fast turning itself to the Judiciary. Since the pronouncement has ordinarily extended the period with which the old naira notes could be used, the president doesn’t have to review it pending the ruling of the Supreme Court. What the president has done is tantamount to contempt of court which is a kind of impunity and it is a precursor to rule of the thumb instead of rule of law”
Moreover, the principle of separation of powers clearly defines the limit of each arm of government. Taking the President’s speech into context, it shows president Buhari is gravitating towards dictatorship. The President ought to know by now that he cannot and he is not in a position to nullify the decision of the Supreme Court. If the executive is not pleased with the decision of the Court, the Attorney General of the Federation has the opportunity of going back to the Supreme Court to ask for a review of the earlier decision not that by Presidential fiat he would kind of set it aside without going back to the court.
Furthermore, the Attorney General who is supposed to be the Chief Legal Adviser in this administration doesn’t seem to deserve his license to operate as a legal practitioner anymore as he has become an embarrassment to the legal profession which he claims to represent. His credentials should be recalled and he should be sanctioned by the Body of Benchers.
The nonchalant attitude of the government which was displayed by the carefree speech delivered by the president has heightened the initial protests to full-blown riots in different parts of the country as we speak and the country is sliding rapidly into a state of anarchy. State governors are now giving counter directives to citizens of their states on what to do with the old notes and if different states are carrying out different policies as diverse and distinct from that at the centre then we can say that a state of anomie is imminent.
We at CACOL will like to use this medium to implore all stakeholders to respect the rule of law and the principle of separation of powers while urging the citizens to remain calm in the midst of the present uncertainties and allow the government to find a lasting solution to the present impasse.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL’s National Secretariat located within the Humanity Centre, 610, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Ijaye Bus Stop, Ijaiye-Ojokoro, was gutted by fire early Wednesday morning.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Director, Administration and Programmes on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “The Humanity Centre that houses headquarters of many civil society organizations, including the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, gutted fire earlier today after the office closed for the day’s commitments and locked the building yesterday. The immediate and remote causes of the inferno which gutted the ante room to the Director of Administration’s office are not known but electrical surge was suspected as the likely cause. Due to the fact that all doors to other offices were securely closed, the fire did not go beyond the office where it originated from, only the smoke passed through the openings around the entrances and left thick hoots on all the office equipment, furniture, fittings, walls and the floors of other offices”.
In their bid to curtail the fire, the first responders who happened to be the good people living around the area had to break the main access door and the windows of the office where the fire was raging, and eventually put it out. This was after the fire had destroyed office equipment, electronics, furniture and fittings valued at millions of naira. The only consolation is that no life was lost in the incident.
Some of the residents of the area, the estate agent to the premises Mr. Adeyemo, and the Chairman of CACOL called the Lagos State Emergency number (112) but instead of getting a favourable response from them they were being asked some frivolous and trivial questions.
The Chairman further remarked, “I am still amazed at the level of mediocrity displayed by the personnel of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA). I personally called the emergency number around 4:29 am and I was expecting to be attended to as someone who urgently need help but unfortunately despite the claim that they now have improved response time to emergencies, they were asking if I am at the scene of the incident, I told them the place is our office and we don’t sleep at the office, they further asked what is the magnitude of the fire and how sure am I that the fire is really burning the building”.
We are still at a loss concerning the cause of the fire, though we are not suspecting sabotage but the men of the fire service would have used their expertise to decipher the real cause of the fire had it been they responded to our call.
“Though we are grateful that no life was lost in the incident and we appreciate all those living in the neighbourhood who tried their best to put out the fire, we would like to use this medium to call on the Lagos State Government to go beyond the provision of safety and rescue infrastructures and equipment but also invest heavily in the area of training and retraining of the personnel of the emergency contact centre, who are the first line of contact so as to make them more efficient and responsive to the yearnings of the people during emergencies”.