Note: For the sake of those who cannot read Vanguard online I now publish the last part of the article published in December 2020. Please read on:
‘FROM US WHITE HOUSE TO NUT HOUSE – ONLY ONE STEP’
Will Trump attend Biden’s inauguration?
“Will you attend Biden’s inauguration?” Fox TV interviewer.
To that Trump gave what to me was the expected reply. “Don’t ask me about that.” It is doubtful if any American journalist would write what I am about to publish. But, I am convinced that Trump will not attend the inauguration. The reason is simple. His presence will amount to admitting the defeat which his now deranged mind would never allow – even if he lives a thousand years.
In fact, it might be in the best interest of America if Trump does not attend. If he inexplicably does attend, it will be to create a scene which will draw attention away from the usually drab event to the escapade Trump will introduce. But, I am almost certain Trump will not be there on January 20, 2021.
HOW WILL TRUMP LEAVE THE WHITEHOUSE?
“Men make history; but not just as they please” (Karl Marx, 1818-1883).
Unknown to Trump’s supporters (or is it idol worshippers?), they have inadvertently driven the man into a corner. He cannot leave the White House the way other Presidents voted out of office did. Clinging to his self-delusion that he won and was robbed of victory, there are only two options, both unprecedented in American history, left for him to leave the White House and an office which had left him.
First, Trump could refuse to vacate the premises and wait to be physically evicted and provoke widespread civil disturbance to feed his over-bloated ego – now deflated. That option will appeal to him if he thinks that he can create such massive civil disturbance as to allow him to pronounce a State of Emergency and suspension of the US Constitution. Go and read about how Hitler captured Germany if you think that is impossible. It can happen in Trump’s America.
Second, he could join the former eight US Presidents who died in office; four were assassinated – William Harrison, 1841, Zachary Taylor, 1850, Abraham Lincoln, 1865, James Garfield, 1881, William McKinley, 1901, Warren Harding, 1923, Franklin Roosevelt, 1945 and John Kennedy, 1963. None killed himself.
Trump could be the first American President to die in office by committing suicide. If you disbelieve that, then consider this. The man’s egg-shell thin ego cannot abide ridicule. If ten thousand shout his praises and one man boos, Trump’s sensitive ears will pick out that lone dissenting voice and a tweet will follow. He hates losers; and although not as successful as he claimed, his defeat has made him a global loser. He cannot live long with that tag. He will prefer to be carried out of the White House, not as a former, but, as a late President.
History can be funny. Trumps epitaph could have been written by a communist – Karl Marx.
BUHARI, AIR FORCE AND NAVY CHIEFS
“As far back as June 2018, I made my opinion known about our service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police…There is definitely a need for the Service Chiefs to go, either they are asked to go by the President who appointed them or by themselves being honourable….” Aminu Tambuwal, Governor of Sokoto State.
Tambuwal was Speaker of the House of Representatives – elected on the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in 2011. When he defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, in 2014, he was not ‘honourable’ enough to resign and re-contest on the ticket of APC. He took the mandate solemnly given to the PDP and donated it to APC for his own selfish end. He returned to the PDP without surrendering the mandate he received as APC candidate. Tambuwal is the last person to ask for others to act ‘honourably’.
“There is no question about this. Even he should have left too considering the state of insecurity in the country. Despite the fact that people are saying they are incompetent, he kept them there” – Chief Ayo Adebanjo on Service Chiefs.
Tambuwal was not alone in the New Year call on Buhari to resign. Afenifere chief, Ayo Adebanjo, had also been consistent in his call for the dismissal of Buhari as far as I can remember – even before the security and economic situations reached calamity levels. Adebanjo’s own call was therefore principled and deserves respect – even as I disagree with his conclusions for reasons stated below.
“No matter how thin you slice the bread, there are always at least two sides.”
When my senior, Chief Adebanjo, made the declaration that “there is no question about this”, it was a bold attempt to shut down debate on the issues. With all due respects to Baba, I want to state categorically that there is not just a question, but, there are several questions bordering on justice and even security if the loud demand for the removal of Service Chiefs is acted upon by Buhari.
“It is better that ten guilty persons escape justice than for one innocent person to suffer” – Sir William Blackstone, 1723-1780, VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS.
Pa Adebanjo, an eminent lawyer, should be more familiar with the life of Sir Blackstone, British jurist, judge and professor of law, than me — an ordinary Area Boy in the media. The statement quoted above established the principle that proclaiming guilt by association is unjust. It is for this reason that I have limited my dissent from the pervasive call for removal of Service Chiefs to the Navy and Air Force. But, as usual, it is necessary to make some open declarations for the sake of those who might think I have been settled by the Service Chiefs.
First, most readers might be shocked to learn that I don’t even know their names. I have never stepped into the Navy or Air Force Headquarters and have never met the current occupants of the positions. I can’t identify them – if asked. I have no contract with any of the services and I don’t intend to ask for any. At almost 77, I don’t want to face a probe by the EFCC or National Assembly.
Second, I talked to two retired US officers who remain my friends and who had trained Nigerian officers. They were able to educate me on the responsibilities of various services. I am not a military man. But, I remember one thing — “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing…” To be quite candid, most, if not all, of the bloody civilians asking for the sack of the Navy and Air Force Chiefs are totally ignorant of how military forces operate. Fairness dictates that they at least pause and listen to alternative argument. Or, at best – belt up. Here is why.
The worst aspects of our national insecurity occur inland – mostly in the North. Consequently, the Navy has no role to play in the skirmishes. It is for the same reason that the US Navy is not involved in the Afghanistan operations. The security threats in Nigeria are taking place far beyond the farthest reach of Navy guns. The Chief of Naval Staff might sympathise with his Army colleague, but, he is just as much of an onlooker as you and me.
The Air Force is in only a little better position than the Navy in an asymmetric war.
The US found that out the hard way in the Vietnam War, 1955-1975. Against well-entrenched guerrilla fighters, even the best Air Force in the world was helpless. By their nature, the Navy and Air Force, where they can, only operate support missions. Battles on the ground must be won, if possible, by the army. The best Navy and Air Force can never be substitutes for a weak army.
“A precedent embalms a principle” -William Scott, 1745-1836, VBQ p 198.
Again, I am addressing myself to Pa Adebanjo – because I only argue with those I respect. Where is the fairness in asking Buhari to sack two young men for no reason at all? Since when have we descended to the level where the national interest is served by sacking innocent officers? Doesn’t that make Buhari an accomplice to serving injustice? How would that promote the national interest?
One might as well ask: how many Federal Officers should be removed unjustly because several aspects of our national life are in horrible shapes? Why stop at Navy and Air Force chiefs?
“You can’t beat something with nothing” – US Coach after team lost 17th game in a row 1970.
Tambuwal stopped short of asking Buhari to join the Service Chiefs on the way out. Chief Adebanjo was more categorical – Buhari also must go. I must admit that the call is more difficult to refute. The Buhari administration has been a disappointment.
So, on the face of it, all calls for his resignation have a great deal of merit. But, that argument only moved a few steps beyond Tambuwal’s. It has not addressed the simple question: what follows Buhari’s resignation? Precedents point two ways: the President alone resigns or the entire government abdicates. We have not been told which those wanting Buhari out prefer. Each will produce distinctly different repercussions and land us where we might not like as a nation. The problem is more complex than is generally realised.
Let us address the second possibility first, namely, Buhari, Osinbajo and the entire executive branch resign. The Constitution is quite clear on who should step in as President. Is that the leader we want for the remaining twenty-nine months? I leave that for those asking Buhari to go to answer.
Apparently, Buhari stepping down alone should make me happy. When he goes, Osinbajo steps up. The Vice President and I have a lot in common. We are both Yoruba progressives from Ijebu South West, Christians, Old Igbobians and he helped a great deal from 2013 to make Christian Governorship in Lagos State (my pet project) possible in 2015. I remain for ever grateful to him for making Ambode Governor; followed by Sanwo-Olu. He and others saved me from the mockery of those who said it was impossible. So, why am I not happy? Because nothing frightens me more than that eventuality. Explanation is needed again.
I will repeat myself. Nigeria’s APC has become like the US Republican Party. It is now a one-man show. The man is Buhari; the person nobody wants to offend. He is the same person everybody wants to please. So, who wants to replace him? If the goal is good governance, it certainly cannot be achieved by creating a power vacuum at the top. We don’t operate a parliamentary system under which a vote of no confidence in a government is followed by a snap election. There can be no election for President until 2023. So, the entire palaver revolves around who should lead us until then – nothing more. Let us stop deceiving ourselves about that. And, until somebody points to the next President, they should stop asking Buhari to go.
To be continued….