19th July 2017
PROTEST AGAINST BANIRE: A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT
Some supporters of the All Progressive Congress (APC) staged a protest in Lagos yesterday to demand the expulsion of the National Legal Adviser of the party, Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN). The demand was premised on the latter’s recent condemnation of the imposition of candidates in the coming local government election in Lagos State.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) regards the protest as a dangerous precedent. As victims of a 16-year pillaging of the common wealth of the Nigerian people by the former ruling party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), we are concerned that such internal wrangling is likely to open a window of opportunity for the PDP and its army of greedy, selfish and overtly corrupt politicians to stage a comeback.
It is natural for innocent onlookers who are watching the unfolding scenario to start feeling unsafe. Corruption drove Nigeria to the pitiable economic condition in which it found itself today and the PDP should be blamed for the country’s present woes. The present administration’s headlong attack on corrupt elements in the country gave hope to the masses but crisis in APC is beginning to becloud this sense of security moreso since the war against corruption is far from being over as new challenges rear their ugly heads on a daily basis.
APC leaders should borrow a leaf from its recent loss in Osun senatorial election where victory was snatched by opportunists whose major credential is dancing on their fathers’ grave. Charles Darwin’s wise words come in handy in these circumstances: “It is not the strongest of the species or the most intelligent that survives. It is the one most adaptable to change”
By calling for adherence to democratic principles as entrenched in the party’s constitution and demanding a stop to the imposition of candidates, Banire was merely performing his duty as the party’s legal adviser. The call for expulsion is therefore arbitrary. It should be ignored in the interest of the party and that of the Nigerian people at large.
We advise APC leadership at the national level to immediately set its reconciliation machinery in motion and to up its internal democracy game. At the local level, the leaders are advised to stoop to conquer. They should remember that the hawks are waiting by the ringside. We appeal to all stakeholders to sheath their swords in the interest of Nigeria. There is also no need to feel slighted as this will not diminish an inch from the greatness of the founding fathers of the party.
Banire represents the new generation politician and any attempt to expel him for defending noble principles of democracy will send the wrong signals to up and coming generation of politicians. While Banire may have fallen foul of Woodrow Wilson’s advice that, “If you want to make enemies, try to change something”, APC leadership should be wary of ignoring Hegel’s warning that history always repeats itself and Karl Marx’s rejoinder that the first repetition of history is a tragedy and the second, a farce.
We further advice that APC leadership should not see Banire as an enemy. Neither should it frown at his exposure of certain autocratic propensities within the party. Former President Goodluck Jonathan learnt too late that it is better to listen to complaints coming from within and he paid dearly for it.
According to Aristotle in his Analytics, “Opposition is true friendship. The man who tells you that you have a stinking rear is your friend. He is only drawing attention to your bodily filth and asking you to do something about it. He is better than a sycophant who says you can always come out of the sewage tank and smell roses!”
On a last note, we affirm that we are not interested in any political party. Our concern springs from genuine fear for a return to unbridled kleptomania, reckless spending and free descent into corruption without tears in Nigeria. MURIC’s advocacy is party-blind, ethnically neutral and religiously liberal. We are middle-roaders and social jihadists seeking food for hungry Nigerians, healing for the sick, clothing apparels for the naked and shelter for the homeless.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)