Like it has become the practice shortly before and after the 2019 presidential poll, this is another week of throwing up of accusation between the nation’s main political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Thus, unsurprisingly, the APC-led federal government accused the PDP of playing the kind of politics that can both be described as “toxic and a threat to the nation’s democracy.”
To underscore gravity of the accusation, the government chose to let it come from the mouth of no other person than the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed.
Agreed, the government and APC had made many other allegations, through the minister, but the latest one can be said to be an accusation like no other because it attempts to question the much touted political credentials of the PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and borders on the security and safety of the nation and its citizens.
The minister alleged that the PDP and Atiku Abubakar are doing everything possible to sabotage President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. He said the party and Abubakar have, unnecessarily, formed the habit of overheating the polity through making unhealthy utterances, before and after the 2019 general elections, all with the aim of making the country unsafe and ungovernable.
The minister said the federal government decried the increasingly unpatriotic and desperate opposition politics that the PDP and Abubakar play.
Adducing reason why such form of politicking is dangerous, the federal government said that such dead-end opposition, if allowed to go unchecked, could be toxic for the nation’s democracy.
And, no doubt, the government cannot be further from the truth as democracy has its roots in peace, stability and right of people to move freely. Any action precipitated by those claiming to be politicians that is capable of undermining these ideals upon which democracy wrest, are inimical to democracy and the country.
Yet, as the minister said, never in the history of politics in Nigeria has an opposition party and its presidential candidate exhibited the kind of desperate tactics the PDP and Abubakar deploy while pretending to oppose the government, especially since Buhari defeated Abubakar in the 2019 presidential election.
To demonstrate the fact that the PDP and Atiku Abubakar really mean to undermine the country’s peace and democracy, one has to only cast his mind back to the statement credited to the former Vice President that unless Nigerians vote out the APC administration, killings by herdsmen will continue and ultimately spark a series of ethno-religious crises that will be irreversible and many of such statements issued by the PDP and its chieftains.
In fact, recently, the PDP has taken its desperation to a new low and attacked the judiciary, at a time the party challenges the victory of the president at the poll in the court.
If those careless statements are, as they are guaranteed to be considered by some people, minor and inconsequential, a faceless group believed to have the backing of some rich and powerful opposition politicians has emerged, and called for the overthrow of the democratically-elected government of Buhari.
Of course, like the government said, it beggars belief that Atiku Abubakar, who prides himself as a democrat, can allow desperation to becloud his sense of propriety and associate himself with anti-democratic forces and join the fray of making inflammatory statements.
No doubt, it is painful if one does not win an election and the consequences could be catastrophic, especially in a place like Nigeria where candidates used to spend huge amount of resources and the winner takes all. Yet, there are acceptable channels for aggrieved candidates to seek redress if they are not comfortable with the outcome of the polls. President Buhari himself, considered by many as a giant in the nation’s democratic history, took advantage of that and went to court three times to challenge election results.
Happily too, Atiku Abubakar has gone to the court to, in his own words, “reclaim my freely given mandate.” Regrettably, it appears that he does not truly believe in the ability of the court to, if he merits it, dispense justice to him.
Undoubtedly, if Atiku Abubakar and his party believe in the judiciary, nothing of the kinds of statements and actions credited to them would occur. The kind of subterfuge and sabotage they partake in while also mounting a legal challenge is anti-democratic and unconscionable.
They should, therefore, stop beating the drums of war and concentrate on the legal suit they’ve instituted against the election of the president if, indeed, they have faith in the country’s judiciary.
Why Nigeria must end drugs abuse
Nigeria, especially its northern part, populated by people largely known for their respects for religion and culture, is now a hub for drug trade, trafficking and consumption and a den for drug addicts.
Cutting across age and sex, the menace of drugs has ravaged many states in the North and made particularly youth fearsome, fearless, unimaginative and less productive.
In fact, today, drugs abuse, coupled with the menace of illiteracy and unemployment, the old habit of respects for culture and religion is fast fading in the North and, in its place, vices such as armed robbery, cultism, kidnapping and political hooliganism are fast getting entrenched in the fabric of the once peaceful North.
It is, therefore, a thing of joy when, last year, Preesident Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated a committee headed by ex-Lagos state governor Brigadier-General Buba Marwa (rtd) to tackle the problems posed to the society by drugs.
Joyously too, this week, in faraway Saudi Arabia, the president promised that the sweeping offensive initiated by his administration against drug trafficking and consumption would be sustained.
To this end, the president urged Nigerians in diaspora to provide information that will help the government to curb the menace associated with drugs. The president, who spoke when he received leaders of Nigerian Community in Saudi Arabia at the end of his Umrah trip, called for efforts to be intensified to expose those involved in drug trafficking and illegal trade in the country.
However, good as this may seem, the government should go beyond exposing drugs dealers to prosecuting them because the rate of drug abuse in the country is alarming.
Youth, ages 13 to 35, are more involved in drug abuse now more than ever, and housewives have also caught the bug with many of them indulging in the intake of psychoactive substances such as cannabis. Some drug addicts even sniff pit latrines or gutter or take tramadol and codeine in order to be intoxicated.
Regrettably, drug abuse is a self-destructive habit. Those involved easily get addicted. Substance abuse affects all organs of the body from kidney to liver to heart. It can lead to memory loss and depression of the central nervous system. It can also lead to mental disorder and negatively affects the abusers social interaction. Drug abuse can also, and it actually did in some cases, truncate the careers of many promising and talented youth, particularly in the North.
This unfortunate trend must, however, be halted. And as a way of going forward, instead of sentencing drug addicts to prison terms, they should rather be sent to rehabilitation centres to wean them off their addiction and affliction.
In this regard, the need for public sensitisation against drug trafficking and abuse cannot be overemphasised so that those who indulge in them can see the harmful effects of their habit.
There is also the need to hastily prosecute those caught peddling illegal drugs while the Buba Marwa-led committee and the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) should be strengthened to effectively and efficiently perform their functions.
Above all, the recent effort that led to the exposure of a network of drug dealers operating at the Aminu Kano International Airports in Kano that specialises in tagging bags filled with drugs in the name of innocent passengers must be sustained and improved.