In every virile democracy, the question of institutions and the infantry that mans those institutions is often a very interesting one. The question constantly revolves around whether those men are icons or imps, giants or gnats as the case may be.
The question is usually democracy`s curtain raiser for there is an inescapable realization that without strong institutions manned by icons, and sometimes iconoclasts, who pride their conscience and conviction above the crumbs of convenience and conviviality, democracy will end up dead in the doldrums.
Since a historic return to democracy blunted military avarice in 1999, Nigeria
s democracy has grown in leaps and bounds in spite of what has often turned out to be eminently frustrating spells as thebaby, Nigerians sought for close to two decades experienced teething problems.
There have been riotous rampages of corruption. In 2007, as his bittersweet tenure drew to an end, there was that sacrilegious attempt by the then President, Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, to bludgeon Nigeria`s constitution into his personal bucket list. In one of the clearest moments of conviction from a legislature that has often struggled with indecision, the National Assembly stood up to the one who had shed his military khaki for civilian kaftans in 1999. In this time, the judiciary has also huffed and puffed with many judges showing at different times that their consciences were for auction at the right prices.
INEC has also variously struggled to keep its position as an independent and impartial umpire of elections in Nigeria
s eclectic empire of eels who would be snakes. There has also been the flippancy of corruption-fighting agencies to go with the rank unprofessionalism of many of Nigerias security agencies.
In spite of the upheavals, Nigeria
s democracy has been defiant – showing a spine many suspect was crafted in the days when Nigerias civil society looked military interlopers in the eyes and asked them to return to the barracks.
All the upheavals have happened under the watch of the executive at different times and under the watch of the different Attorneys -General and Ministers of Justice who as chief law officers of the federation have borne the responsibility of providing sound advice to the government at different times. The current Attorney-General is Mr. Abubakar Malami.
A lightning rod for controversy, Mr. Malami was forged in the fire of those days when the Congress for Progressive Change sought to get President Muhammadu Buhari into power. He held fast when the CPC joined the alliance that became the APC. When the APC unexpectedly won power in 2015, Mr. Malami received the portfolio of Attorney-General as guerdon for his steadfastness. Or was it for his sycophancy?
With Mr. Malami, when it has not been chicken, it has been feathers. From the time he corralled guests to his child`s wedding in Kebbi State amidst the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic to his prematurely triumphant reaction to the invalidation by a Federal High Court of Section 84(12) even when he was supposed to know that the appellate processes had not been exhausted, to his recent distribution of vehicles to his supporters no doubt as part of his strategy to become the Governor of Kebbi State in 2023,whenever Mr. Malami has called, it is controversy that has hurried to do his bidding.
Mr. Malami`s penchant for controversy reflects poorly on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari whom it took a mammoth six months to pick his cabinet. As his administration twists into its twilight, scarcely has any of his ministers covered themselves in glory. From the one who sickeningly sleepwalked into a storm of Islamist terrorism to the one who unapologetically places parochial interests above public interest, Mr. Buhari has seemingly left sensitive national offices to a cast of crabs who have gleefully succeeded in ripping public confidence in his administration to shreds. Does he still wonder why Nigerians are sick of his government?
Bad governance does not just happen. It has those who enable and condone it. While the clan of hyenas in the corridors of power enjoys a laugh at the chaos Nigeria has become, there is among Nigerians a congregation of crocodiles which enables bad governance to thrive.
Master mischief makers that they are, there are many Nigerians who because they make the lives of do-nothing public officers easy enable maggots to crawl all over the national bread. They as much as those they blindly and brazenly serve are responsible for the rashes that have broken out all over the skin of the Giant of Africa.
Now that his eight years in service of controversy has entered into its seventh year, Mr. Malami seeks to be Governor of Kebbi State. With his car- and money-crusted charity and blind servitude to a government that had no qualms allowing the Department of State Services to trample the homes and courtrooms of judges, he should get it. He will also be helped by the fact that Nigeria is a country that never tires of recycling politicians who have nothing to show for their time in office save their bulging cabinets of controversies. The good people of Kebbi State can be sure that if Mr. Malami goes on to become their Governor in 2023, very few Nigerians will envy them.
With the boulder of the 2023 general elections hurtling towards the country with fearful ferocity, there is no doubt that Mr. Malami will again court more controversies. When he does, well-meaning Nigerians must not fail to rue the ruinous path he has chosen for himself and one of Nigeria`s most important public offices.