Remi Oyeyemi: The Travails Of Danfulani Under Buhari’s Jackboot

President Mohammadu Buhari is now baring his fangs. He is living up to expectations as a dictator. He is becoming more and more intolerant of different views. He is consolidating his sordid image as an abuser of human rights. One just hopes that he is aware that he is under the klieg light of the international society that is paying close attention.

President Buhari

The travails of  Mr. John Danfulani, a lecturer at the Kaduna State University who has been a victim of intimidation and harassment from the agents of the Buhari – led Federal Government is giving one serious concerns. The Nigeria Police is being deployed against those who have the courage to challenge the charade presented as “Change” to susceptible Nigerians. Danfulani is being harassed for expressing his views about the country. Championing this debacle is the Kaduna State Police Commissioner, Mr. Umar Shehu who invited him to his headquarters for interrogation.

“Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression…….”  – Malcolm X

According to Media Reports and supported with evidence from his Facebook postings, Danfulani has been a consistent critic of the All Progressive Party (APC), President Mohammadu Buhari, northern leaders as well as Governor El Rufai’s administration. For this reason he has been marked down for persecution. The latest of his postings titled “APC SIMPLETONS OF NORTHERN NIGERIA” that has caused grief to the Buhari’s government is as follows unedited:

“To them, APC is a religious party.Northern leaders under the party are demigods and crusaders of their ways of life. These people living in dusty villages of Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kano, Jigawa are quick in calling you “Arne or Kafiri” once you express your view on anything their God PMB and his brigade of small Angels are doing.

With their harmattan ravaged faces, rough legs, and brown teeth, they behave like a herd of sheep. All they bragged at is numbers…numbers that is economically useless and a gigantic social menace to Nigeria. A useless number that over 12m kids are rooming the streets with rubber plates begging for food. A useless number spreading polio in the entire continent.

Who amongst them is strong enough to seal my lips on fuel scarcity and hardship we are experiencing? If PMB is your God and support for him an act worship, go ahead but don’t think you can force that on me.

I want to travel abroad, I can’t buy dollars in official quarter, and can’t use my ATM abroad. Is it their fathers money? Am I a thief? Our people don’t steal…no single Southern Kaduna man has any EFCC case. It’s their people that stole this country dry. Look at the names of the thieves and where they came from. Stealing is deeply embedded in their culture. Tics! Attack the Attacker, and let high skies fall.

Before Mr. Danfulani was invited by the police, the management of the Kaduna State University had suspended him as a form of punishment for making the same comment. It is not a rocket science to decipher that this was engineered by Governor Rufai who controls the purse strings to the University and who has been fingered by political insiders as the “real Vice President” in Buhari’s administration because of the power and influence he wields.

“There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.”  – Charles de Montesquieu

It is very unfortunate, that an institution of higher learning such as KASU is in the vanguard of muzzling the views of others. It is astounding that an institution that ought to foster and encourage debate about the national political, social and economic issues is doing everything to encourage intellectual aridity rather than water the tree of intellectualism to extend the horizon of its community.

The purpose of KASU as a higher institution is being defeated. It is being compromised on the platter of sycophancy. The Senate of this institution is a disgrace to its own existence. It demonstrated inability to show courage on the side of what is right and good for the society. The Senate of that institution kow-towed to political correctness and failed not only itself, it failed the institution and the many students attending it and the entire society.

It is very easy for some power drunk politicians and their rabid supporters to forget that we are in a democracy. It is also very easy for some closet dictators now dressed in the garb of democrats to forget that opposing views are the essence of democracy. The oxygen on which democracy operates is debate of issues and the espousal of several divergent views on several issues of concern to the society. For any person or group of persons in this administration to try to muzzle the views of those who disagree with them is a deliberate path to perdition.

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”-  Edmund Burke

Where I come from, our elders often warn us via an aphorism: “You don’t dance with another person’s goat if you have a reputation as a thief.” President Buhari has notoriety as a dictator. He is perceived, and rightly so, as authoritarian. He has a reputation as someone who has no respect for laws of the land and has no respect for the rights of other human beings except himself, his family and his friends. For this reason, one would have thought that anything that would suggest he is what is called would not be touched by him with a long pole.

When people call you a dictator, you have an obligation to prove them wrong in a reasonable way. You have a duty to show that you are not what they call you. You have the responsibility to demonstrate that such a descriptive robe does not fit you. But alas! Buhari is a Leopard incapable of changing his despicable spots of despotism. He is incapable of understanding that this is a democracy where people’s rights are freely exercised unimpeded.

President Buhari’s thinking process is seriously encumbered by his inability to tolerate the thoughts, feelings, views and the rights of others. He is unable to understand why others should see things differently from him. He is at pains as to why others could not genuflect at his snapping of his finger. He is intellectually constricted to understand why he has to debate his views or his positions or why he should tolerate those who have the temerity to question his views or stand on anything.

President Buhari is often very brutal about the way and manner he puts this mindset across. As history shows, President Buhari would consider long incarceration for those who might have the guts to disagree with him. He once posited that it does not matter how truthful your opinion is, if he did not like it, you ought to go to jail. Buhari is already failing as a born again democrat. And from the look of things, “awry” is the word that describes the state of the APC and Buhari’s administration right now.

“There are three things in the world that deserves no mercy: hypocrisy, fraud and tyranny.” – Frederick William Robertson

Except the uncoordinated war on corruption which is largely limited to the pages of newspapers and social media, it is evident that the manifested incompetence, lack of focus, aridity of ideas and confusion of purpose, growing suffering of Nigerians and increasing authoritarianism of this Buhari administration, the criticism has just begun. This is because the “war on corruption” would not put food on the table for Nigerians. It would not pay the school fees of their children. It would not put fuel in their cars unless they all have gainful employment.

Unless President Buhari focuses on how to create jobs and turn around the economy, give real hope to Nigerians beyond the bumper sticker slogans about war on corruption, the criticism is going to intensify. It is going to be more forceful. It is going to come from several quarters. It is going to be more consistent. When it does, and there are no more rooms in Guje, Kirikiri, Abuja, Kano, PortHarcourt, Enugu, Kaduna and other prisons across the country, what would the APC and Buhari administration do? Would the critics of the APC and Buhari administration be subjected to assassinations?

And by the way, what did Danfulani say that is not true? That his people are not thieves? That his people have no case with EFCC? That it is Buhari’s people that “stole the country dry?” That there are over 12 million kids roaming the streets with rubber plates begging for food? That stealing is embedded in some people’s culture? That Nigerians are experiencing fuel scarcity? That if you travel abroad you cannot use your ATM card? What has he said that is not true?

Even if all he said were untrue, the best response is to counter him with a different view and with facts if possible. Show that he is peddling falsehood. Debate his point of view. Engage the issues he raised. Don’t attack him. Don’t suspend him. Don’t arrest him. Don’t detain him. For goodness sake, this is a democracy. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of thought and freedom of choice.

If Danfulani could not express his views about what is bothering him about the society in which he lives; if he could not call the attention of the world to the shortcomings of his government as he sees fit; if he is not allowed to enjoy the basic human right of freedom of expression under a democracy now presently under the supervision of the APC and Buhari, then where is this country headed to? What is this APC all about? Where is Buhari and his APC piloting this country with all these shenanigans?

“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operation, perverted it into tyranny.”   –  Thomas Jefferson

Yes, we all knew and still know that the PDP was bad news. The party ruined this country economically. It was filled with morally bankrupt kleptocrats. Some of the depraved members of that despicable crowd now populate the APC. But despite everything, the PDP crowd tried its best not to tamper with the rights of Nigerians to express themselves or the Nigerian rights to associate with whomever they so wish. If the PDP did that, there would not have been any APC today.

If Buhari has any advisers, this is the time for them to do their duty. This is not the time to be a sycophant. This is the time to tell the boss the truth. It is time to tell Buhari that this is not 1984. It is time to tell him that this is a democracy. It is time to warn him that he would be consumed with the fire of authoritarianism if he should insist on fueling it. Nigeria is different now. It is getting different by the day. Any attempt to muzzle any person or group of persons would have serious consequences for the stability of the country. A word, they often say, is enough for the wise.

“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.”
– John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address January 20, 196

Please follow me on Twitter: @OyeyemiRemi