Soyinka berates Buhari for saying he will place national security above the rule of law
Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka has berated President Muhammadu Buhari for allegedly saying that his administration will continue to place national security and national interest above the rule of law.
In a statement on Thursday, Soyinka described Buhari’s stand as a ‘dictatorial recidivism’ and a ploy to degrade the authority of the rule of law.
He wondered whether President Buhari had considered his imprisonment in 1985 after he was overthrown by the regime of the former military Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida as it was in the interest of the nation and for national security.
Soyinka informed Buhari that there was no shortcut to democracy.
“Here we go again! At his first coming, it was “I intend to tamper with Freedom of the Press”, and Buhari did proceed to suit action to the words, sending two journalists – (Nduka) Irabor and (Tunde) Thompson – to prison as a reward for their professional integrity. Now, a vague, vaporous, but commodious concept dubbed ‘national interest’ is being trotted out as alibi for flouting the decisions of the Nigerian judiciary. President Buhari has obviously given deep thought to his travails under a military dictatorship, and concluded that his incarceration was also in the ‘national interest.’” he noted
“The timing is perfect, and we have cause to be thankful for the advance warning, since not all rulers actually make a declaration of intent, but simply proceed to degrade the authority of the law as part of the routine business of governance. We have been there before. It should be of mere interest, not despondency that this latest proclamation of dictatorial recidivism has also been made before an assembly of officers of the law, the Nigerian Bar Association. We expect a robust response from the NBA as part of its conclusions.
“There is no shortcut to democracy. The history of law, even where uncodified, is as old as humanity. Numerous rulers have tried again and again to annul that institution. Sometimes, they appear to succeed, but in the end, they pay heavy forfeit. So does society. The Rule of Law, however, outlasts all subverters, however seemingly powerful. If the consequences for society in defence of the Rule of Law were not so costly, any new attempt would be merely banal and boring, hardly deserving of attention. We know, historically, where it will all end.” he added