An article in the New York Times penned in the name of President Muhammadu Buhari should be troubling for all right-thinking Nigerians.
Buhari, who overthrew a constitutional government in the 1980s, has history of anti-constitutional behaviour. “Treason” is “the crime of betraying one’s country” and this statement from the New York Times article is nothing short of “betrayal”:
“There are too few examples in the history of Nigeria since independence where it can be said that good management and governance were instituted at a national level. This lack of a governance framework has allowed many of those in charge, devoid of any real checks and balances, to plunder.”
We have always known that the president is not the sharpest pencil in the box, but surely those that wrote this article for him should have been prudent enough to check their facts before displaying their ignorance and betraying their country on the pages of the New York Times.
Nigeria has a comprehensive governance framework. It is called the Constitution. It covers governance from local government to state to national level. And it is full of checks and balances. The president swore to uphold the Constitution when he took office.
He has now gone on the pages of the international media to deny a simple fact about his country. That is betrayal.
Nigeria also has a Code of Conduct for public officials. The Constitution says: “A person in the public service of the Federation shall observe and conform to the Code of Conduct”. There is also a Code of Conduct Bureau that should enforce and check compliance against the Code. The Bureau can investigate breaches of the Code of Conduct by public officers. This ranges from indiscipline, abuse of office, lack of accountability, corruption and unethical conduct in government business, among others.
What the country lacks is enforcement of the governance framework (the Constitution), the Code of Conduct and the penal codes against misappropriation of public funds. Our problem is not a lack of frameworks and codes, but impunity in ignoring them – just like the president did by claiming they don’t exist!
As if this were not enough, Buhari goes on in the article to claim: “we look to U.S. businesses as well as the Obama administration to help develop governance initiatives”.
He might as well have just surrendered our sovereignty – “the full right and power of a governing body to govern itself without any interference from outside sources or bodies.” What he wrote read like a cry for the US and its “businesses” to colonise us since we can’t even “develop governance initiatives” on our own.
An attempt to surrender our sovereignty to a foreign body is treason.