By Dele Sobowale
“He who sets out on revenge must first dig two graves.” Chinese Proverb. (VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ, p 215).
The Chinese philosophers apparently wiser than those who believe in the principle of “an eye for an eye” advised mankind to eschew seeking revenge for wrongs done to us personally. But, we don’t always listen to good advice. That is why the world is in such a mess – which gets messier every time. Later, another sage, Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948, had warned us that “an eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind.” But, individuals and those in political power can still not resist seeking revenge. While avenging real or imagined wrongs might be excusable in private life, it is to be condemned when those in power are perceived to be using the mandates given them to govern to exact revenge for a private injury. Last week, the focus was on El-Zakzaky – the Shiites leader being held in detention despite a court order allowing bail. The week before, it was Kanu – leader of the pro-Biafra group whose bail was being canvassed. Coincidentally, early last week, Amnesty International, AI, carpeted the Federal Government of Nigeria for gross violation of the rights of some of its citizens. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a rejoinder to the AI report claiming that Kanu and his group were threats to Nigerian security; while El-Zakzaky and the Shiites were declared “terrorist group like Boko Haram”. The Honourable Minister for Foreign Affairs who must have authorized the release of that rebuttal failed to demonstrate adequate grasp of the tenets of democracy and our constitution to which the Ministry referred in the ill-considered press release.
A democratic society is a country where the Executive, Legislative and the Judiciary branches have well-defined roles. The Executive can accuse anybody of any crime under the sun. It is the judiciary which determines guilt based on the interpretation of the country’s laws. Where the Executive accuses, detains, prosecutes, judges and sentences individuals, democracy has fled that nation. What the AI and people like me are saying is simple. Kanu, El-Zakzaky and Dasuki were apprehended, detained, accused and are being prosecuted by the Executive branch. The Constitution stipulates that the accused should be taken before the Judiciary and evidence of the offences committed should be laid before the judges who will then determine guilt or innocence. The first order of business is the matter of bail for the accused. The Executive branch is entitled to argue against bail being granted; the accused is entitled to request for it. The power to grant bail had been given solely to the Judiciary and there is no provision for refusal by the Executive branch. That was why a “so called judge” in a state court in America could order the suspension of Trump’s Executive Order and the court’s order was obeyed. That is a true democracy. Trump also based his order on “security” – whatever that means – but the court was not impressed. The Federal government is basing its defiance of court order on the same claim and court order is ignored. The question is: is the refusal in the national interest or are in individuals now in power using the powers given to them by the people to subvert the law and settle personal scores?
Even a child remembers the main causes of the Civil War – mainly the massacre of thousands of Igbos in the North. Till today, the wounds of that war have refused to be healed simply because the rest of Nigeria has not “forgiven” Igbos. Each time the word Biafra comes up, it is like waving a red flag before a raging bull for some people. So, their activities are branded treason. Well, why not prove it legally?
When the Foreign Ministry branded all Shiites as terrorists, it threw Nigerian headlong into the Islamic sectarian conflicts ravaging the Arab world and paved the way for Nigeria to experience the horrors of Suni/Shiites immense bloodletting globally. The statement was irresponsible because it has placed all Nigerians – including non-Muslims — at risk by implying that the Federal Government supports one Islamic sect. Yet, our Constitution forbids state religion. How can El-Zakzaky and Shiites ever obtain justice given the stated bias by the Ministry?
Colonel Dasuki (rtd), former National Security Adviser, NSA, to former President Jonathan is the third in the series. And, the references to revenge pertain more to him than others. “Even God cannot change the past”, said Greek playwright Agathon, 447-401 B.C. If the Almighty cannot do it, no power on earth can. It is part of Nigerian history that Dasuki was on the side of those who staged the coup which brought Buhari’s regime to an abrupt end in 1985. He was only obeying orders and, perhaps, trying to save his own life as well. Even now Buhari still bristles with anger whenever he touches on the subject of that coup. With all the others safely out of reach – at least for now, unless we return to full blown dictatorship – the only one to “pay” for the historical humiliation is Dasuki. Like the last cow on the other side of the highway when others have crossed, Dasuki now receives the whip. Not necessarily because he did anything particularly wrong, but, because holders of transient power in Nigeria must have their pound of flesh.
To be continued…
WHY SHOULD NIGERIA EXTRADITE SEN. KASAMU TO THE US? – 3
“Omo eni ki buru ka fi fun ekun pa je.” (Yoruba proverb). Translation: “Even a wayward son should not be thrown to a tiger to devour.”
NOTE: Part two of this series ended abruptly last week. We pick up the trend of our defence of a fellow Nigerian unknown to me. Please read on.
Hypocritical as Americans often are, their support for democracy in other countries is strongly situational. A democratically elected President, if it resists their overtures to dictate to her/his country can be overthrown by the US Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, which readily does business with a dictator who is regarded as “friendly” – meaning a stooge of the US. The history of Iran, which is currently in the black books of America offers a classic example of US duplicity.
Only recently did the CIA finally admit that it undertook the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Iran in 1953. In a document titled “The Battle for Iran”, the CIA in the internal CIA history recorded the following. “The military coup that overthrew Mosaddeq and his National Front cabinet was carried out under CIA as an act of US foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of the government.” What was Mosaddeq’s sin? He wanted the best deal for Iranian oil from American oil companies which were cheating – just as International Oil Companies, IOCs, have been cheating Nigeria from Oloibiri till today. The de-classified documents revealed that Britain’s MI6 collaborated with the CIA to get rid of Mosaddeq, who was regarded as a threat to their economic interests after the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was nationalized by the government of Iran. Mosaddeq was replaced with the Shah of Iran, an American stooge and a dictator but who was kept in power by the US until 1979 when the Iranian revolution led by the Ayatollas swept off the American stooge. The US has not forgiven Iran till today for standing up to it.
I have gone to great lengths to expose the often peddled propaganda that America believes in democracy and the rule of law. Nothing can be further from the truth. Globally, America allies itself with nations it can manipulate and opposes those that are independent. Those are regarded as enemies.
In its arrogance of morality, the US does not trust any other nation in the world to sit in judgment over an American citizen – irrespective of the charges or the evidence. Once an American lands in the US, no extradition treaty can bring him out to be tried elsewhere in the world. Consequently, the so-called extradition treaty which the US relies upon to have citizens of other nations returned to the US for trial had been a one-sided affair. America can request for a Kenyan or an Indian, or Nigerian to be brought from his country for trial; but, Kenya or India or Nigeria cannot do the same. That, to me is an international insult which Nigeria must resist in the case of Senator Buruji Kashamu.
In fact, recent events have reinforced the feeling that no Nigerian and this Nigerian in particular, will not get justice. The election of Fuhrer Donald Trump as American President and the executive orders he had signed, as well as other utterances of his have revealed America’s hypocrisy more than ever before. Trump hates Africans and other people of colour. Kashamu is an African. He detests Muslims intensely. Buruji is a Muslim. Trumps cabinet is full of those generally described as “red necks”. His Attorney General has a long record of racist utterances. Yet, that is the man who will receive out fellow Nigerian and assign his case to a “hanging judge”. A fat cat dropped into the midst of half a dozen hungry cats has a better chance of surviving the ordeal than Kashamu in Trump’s America.
Finally, the same Madeleine Albright had made the point that the primary duty of every American government is to protect Americans wherever they may be.
That is why no US government will give up its own citizen.
It is not too much to ask that every Nigerian government and this one in particular, should adopt the same position. What this means is quite clear, Nigeria should not extradite a Nigerian citizen to any nation, US included, which does not believe in reciprocity.
To be continued.
P.S. I am grateful to Barrister Biodun Ajao, whose photocopy of a document titled “CIA admits role in 1953 Iranian coup” came to me in the nick of time for the second and third parts of this series. Egbon, I know you are reading this. Accept my deepest appreciation. With help from people like you, and I have received calls from many on this matter, Senator Kashamu will not go anywhere near the US. He belongs in the National Assembly serving Nigeria.