How Freedoms Are Suppressed in Nigeria’s Democracies: An Independent Day Recollection of the Arrest of Ibrahim Bature.
Today, we, the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, celebrate a historic moment of 1st October 1960. It is a moment of celebration and indeed a moment to ponder on what is gained and what we expect to get in the near future. This piece will look at how power suppresses dissent and the negative implications of such suppression in the attainment of the very creeds entrenched in a democracy- the freedom of speech and guarantee of basic human rights.
If I am to come down to Katsina State level, I will have to say that we are yet to enjoy these promises enshrined in the democratic process. As I write this piece, I think of the two kids of the detained Malam Ibrahim Bature. I am certain those kids are still trying to make sense of why their father is not at home for more than a month now. The people closer to Governor Aminu Bello Masari are saying that the Governor has nothing to do with the arrest. Now, whoever is behind the arrest is politically harming the image of the Governor.
In case you have forgotten, Governor Aminu Bello Masari was a speaker, House of Representatives, from 2003 to 2007. One can say that from 1999 to 2017, his 4 year tenure was the best controlled and the most historic politically. He managed to control the House, without much crises like Ghali and Tambuwal. As the speaker, the most important job Masari did to the polity of this country is the brave way he truncated Obasanjo’s Third Term Agenda. Now, with this experience, I cannot believe that Governor Masari will come so low as to order the incarceration of someone like Ibrahim Bature.
Thus, we are left to speculate why Ibrahim Bature will be in detention for this long. Probably, some people within this administration think that they must use power apparatuses to silence dissent like Ibrahim Bature. What they have forgotten is the fact that they came to power by the activities and resistance of people like Ibrahim Bature. Ibrahim fought the Shema administration viciously and campaigned for the APC. Just scroll down his Facebook Wall and see this for yourself.
The people behind the incarceration of Ibrahim have forgotten that people outside this state are keenly watching the administration of Governor Masari. For one thing, Masari is considered by many as the champion of democracy for reason explained above. This arrest is damaging to the image of Governor Masari. The people around him will never be mentioned when the blame started. People will just say that Governor Masari detained Ibrahim Bature. I saw a similar incident involving Governor Dan Kwambo in Gombe State. Someone was arrested for insulting the Governor and his mother. Governor Dan Kwambo immediately ordered the release of the man and promised to investigate the perpetrator of the arrest. This statesmanship is what all of us expected from Governor Aminu Bello Masari.
The business of running a state is serious. Whoever is behind the arrest of Ibrahim Bature is only harming the Governor. He or she is just diverting the attention of the Governor from doing his job properly. I don’t expect a serious Governor to be arresting people like Ibrahim Bature. Politically, you’re breeding criticism for yourself. The government of Aminu Bello Masari should never expect to thrive without criticisms. Criticism and opposition are raw materials in a democratic dispensation. You take them out; you murder democracy.
In case you don’t know, Ibrahim Bature is a socially important person. In his home town Dutsin-ma, he campaigns for support of the sick people who cannot pay their medical bills. He updates people on social media on the sick and collects donations and takes these sick to hospitals. Go to his Facebook Wall and see all this. Everything stops with his arrest. Think of those sick people who could have been at the hospital if Ibrahim is not behind bars.
On and final note, Malam Ibrahim Bature was arrested for releasing a vedio clip, condemning the intention of the Governor to seek loan to renovate hospitals in Katsina State. The very day the vedio was released, Ibrahim Bature was condemned by everyone on his Facebook lists. He removed the vedio and released another one where he apologised.
We are only free if Ibrahim Bature is set free.
Dikko Wurma Muhammad.
2nd, October, ’17.
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