By Oji Odu
What does the Federal Government stand to gain by heating up the polity filled with overheated, overstretched, overburdened and vulnerable Nigerians who seem to have lost hope of a better tomorrow? Why dash their frail suicidal minds against brick walls of Executive decisions, according to some quarters, just to score cheap political points?
The decision of the Federal Government in line with its anti-corruption campaign, to ban about 50 prominent Nigerians from travelling outside the country has rather raised more dust than attract more support. This is because, in its peculiar manner, it said it will not mention the names of such people, both living and dead, leading not a few Nigerians to ask, why bring up the issue in the first instance?
Although many are in love with governments anti-corruption campaign, however, the same cannot be said of the results in almost four years of the present administration. The lists that had been released by government had most of the time rubbished its laudable and desired policy. According to many, they were not comprehensive enough as they allegedly omitted some names that were supposed to be primary.
“ On the so called list you asked for confirmation, I want to confirm to you that we (Federal government) has not issued any list, and we are not doing so”, Shehu Garba, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Media and Publicity said, while reacting to a list circulating around. He stated that the list of those to be banned was inherited by the present administration from previous ones. The question then remains: Why raise the hopes of Nigerians only to dash it to pieces?
The SSA was said to have made the statement following heavy outrage against the decision from prominent Nigerians and organisations including Atiku Abubakar, Elder Statesman and Yoruba leader, Ayo Adebanjo, Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana, Nigeria Labour Congress President, Ayuba Wabba, Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, Socio-Economic Rights and Accoutability Project (SERAP).
In a chat with the Magazine, Dimabo Samuel, a political analyst challenge government to publish the names of such Nigerians. “ Can they do it? If government will, I can bet you that the list will be filled with names of small fries that can be sacrificed when the chips are down.
“ I can also bet that like former lists, key names will be omitted either overtly or covertly. I can also tell you that the whole thing is ‘Abubakar Atiku-lated’. All of this is because of the emergence of Atiku Abubakar as the Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who the PDP believes will give President Buhari a run for his money.
Paulson Ekwo believes that government’s decision is laughable although it can be implemented. “ But what about the alleged corrupt present Ministers, Governors, Senators and House of Representatives members, senior civil servants et cetera?
“ Why did this administration have to wait until this time, about four months to the 2019 general election before it brought up this idea? What does government actually want to do to these people who many describe as its political opponents? Little wonder the widespread opposition to President Buhari’s Executive Order (EO) which has been described as draconian, fascist and dictatorial,” he said.
Meanwhile the PDP has rejected the travelling restrictions on 50 high-profile Nigerians in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Saturday, October 13, 2018 in Abuja.
The PDP scribe described the restriction as a ‘draconian step’ and a “Decree”clearly targeted at members of the opposition parties, business community, religious leaders, former political leaders and traditional rulers, perceived to be opposed to President Buhari’s re-election bid.
He said that the ‘decree’ was a direct clampdown on the country’s democratic order and an overthrow of rights of citizenry as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended). We hope this is not a ploy to harm certain eminent Nigerians on the claims of resisting travel restrictions.
“The whole world can now see how fascism is fast taking over our democracy and judicial system and how the Buhari administration, by fiat, has directly ordered that citizens be secretly trailed. Their movements and financial transactions are restricted by government agencies, without recourse to due process of the law,” he said.
Ologbondiyan said that since Atikus emergency as PDP flag bearer and the wild jubilation that trailed it across the country, the Presidency had gone into panic mode. He said that the party maintained that the resort to total clampdown on the opposition and PDP supporters would be totally unacceptable.
“What this means is that all Nigerians, particularly opposition members, members of the business community and religious leaders have become endangered and stand the risk of state violence under the APC administration,” he said.
He has therefore alerted the international community to take note should any harm befall any opposition leader, key members of the business community and religious leaders across the country, as Nigerians march towards the 2019 general elections.
NAN recalls that Buhari had mandated the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to implement the Executive Order 6 (EO6) in full force following the instant judicial affirmation of the constitutionality of the order.
Meanwhile, the Buhari Campaign Organisation( BCO) is angry with the rejection of the travelling ban on some Nigerians, describing it as absurd as it stands to dwarf the huge benefits over 200million Nigerians stand to gain by it.
In a statement issued by its Director of Communication and Strategic Planning, Mallam Gidado Ibrahim, the BCO said only corrupt and criminal-minded persons would condemn the president’s effort to stop corrupt persons from escaping with looted funds.
The group said if the president’s directive on the full implementation of the Executive Order 6, recently validated by the court, would quake the PDP and other opposition camps to the extent of generating negative reactions, then they truly are questionable characters and have skeletons in their cupboards.
Urging Nigerians to stand strong and not to fall for the antics of the opposition, the BCO said it was only in Nigeria that corrupt persons would regroup to loot the country dry again with gullible persons whose future was stolen celebrating them.