By Tola ADENIYI
WHATEVER is the alleged offence of EL-Zakzaky and his wife, it is inhuman to incarcerate them without a conviction for years unending.
This wicked ploy of committing an accused to prison without a court judgment is the worst form of injustice and abuse of power.
It is a ploy deployed when accusers know they may not secure a guilty verdict and so make the accused serve prison term through the back door.
It was done to Mustapha, Bamaiyi, to Dasuki and now El-Zakzaky. I am neither a lawyer nor a judge, but I know a case in court need not last till eternity unless there’s prejudice.
Whoever is exercising the power of life and death today should remember there is Life after Power.
Pass judgment on the accused today and either grant him his freedom or convict him. To do neither is absolutely wicked.
I am not particularly interested in whatever offence or crime the Man of God may have been alleged to have committed. And since the case has been brought up forth and backwards one can hardly remember what he was charged with initially.
I can recollect however that the case has been amended a million times such that only a magician can tell exactly what it is the holy man has done.
My interest in the matter like in all matters where those who are privileged to be exercising temporary power are using the power to oppress others is to remind both the oppressor and the oppressed that no condition is permanent.
One continues to wonder what joy anyone derives from the sadness or agony of another fellow human being. It beats imagination hollow how any human can sleep soundly conscious of the painful fact that his action is making another human sleepless.
In any decent society, if a man breaks the law, he is arrested, charged to court, given every opportunity to defend himself and if found guilty, appropriate punishment is applied. It is as simple as that.
But why in the name of all that are just, and fair things don’t work that way in Nigeria? Why do some people exercise power as if they are drunk or bereft of any human feelings?
One is also worried at the frightening level of indifference to other people’s plight in this country.
It does appear that all men and women of conscience have disappeared from the land. What is it that has taken away people’s voices? What has eaten up people’s balls?
It is usually convenient to blame the Head of State or head of government for all infractions. But you must ask yourself; is Buhari the judge adjourning cases in our courts? Is it a state governor that orders Public prosecutor [who is a professional with name and integrity to protect] to withdraw cases from the courts? Is it the Head of State who goes to the polling booths to chase voters away or snatch boxes and election materials?
Nigerian professionals of all classes are as culpable in the rot that has taken humanity away from our shores as the men and women who exercise power wrongly.
People are taught to owe loyalty only to their country not to the transient head of government or to political party. People are also taught to disobey unlawful orders or directives regardless of who is dishing out such reckless or inhuman orders.
Nigerians must resist blatant tyranny and ridiculous autocracy. Orders are dished out on daily basis by faceless outlets and most times by people who have no constitutional or lawful authority to do so. Every crooked face appears on television issuing orders to citizens of this country as if every office holder or every chief executive of a government agency is the government!
For an example, the head of Customs will wake up from the wrong side of his bed and declare that nobody or goods should go out or come in at our borders. And while he is doing so, the President of the country will be announcing to the whole world that Nigeria has become borderless and a particular set of people are free to enter the country without Visas and possibly even without passports!
As of today, we don’t know who is the highest authority in the Judiciary? We are no longer sure who the Director of Public Prosecutions is. Sometime ago, we were told that El-Zakzaky had a case with the Federal Government. At another time we were told that the Kaduna state government was the one holding the poor man and his wife hostage in an endless trial. It is really not conscientious to be playing pin-pong with another man’s freedom.
We ask again: why is El-Zakzaky being held behind bars? If he was alleged to have committed murder, read out relevant charges in court, expedite his trial and convict him or free him accordingly. If he had allegedly committed arson, or burglary or armed robbery or treasonable felony or whatever infraction, there are statutory laws and procedures to deal with whatever it is. But to hang on to extra-judicial tactics is a gross abuse of power and man’s inhumanity to man. Every religion, every faith, every philosophy condemns in unambiguous terms such a disposition in any civilized society.
I am not unaware that Nigerians in general have lost human feelings especially since all they see these days are exhibitions of animal behaviour. I am tempted to add that what we see and hear these days fall short of animal behaviour. Anybody who is in doubt should visit the University of Ibadan Zoo and watch in utter disbelief the decency and discipline exhibited by the baboons. I wrote an article in the Tribune sometime in 1980 titled “The Baboon of UI”, anybody interested should visit the Nigerian Tribune Library and read the article. You will be shocked to the marrow when you are confronted with the story of how orderly the baboons were in front of bananas!
I choose not to comment on the daily rituals of murders, assassinations, kidnapping, armed robbery, gang rape and mind-boggling stories of humongous treasury looting and unprecedented corruption, nepotism and arrant impunity. That will be a story for another day. A once promising country has become the butt of countries all over the world!
Whatever hell pit or shithole Nigeria has been reduced to in the comity of nations I appeal to all men and women of conscience regardless of religious persuasion to appeal to the supreme conscience of those exercising the power of life and death over El-Zazaky to grant him and his wife their freedom today. And if in the eyes of the law [the accuser, the prosecutor and the judge] they still stand accused, the law should expedite their trial and convict them or set them free.
There is, as always, life after power!
Tola Adeniyi is former Group Executive Chairman of Daily Times Conglomerate and international Consultant on Strategic Public Policy.