Hon. Samson Osagie, former minority leader of the House of Representatives, said on Monday that Nigeria is not safe for everyone at the moment.
He claimed that instability and criminality have become endemic throughout the nation.
Osagie, on the other hand, said that President Muhammadu Buhari must rise above the rhetoric and justify his election as President in 2015.
Osagie was responding to a call for military takeover on national television in Abuja by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Chief Robert Clark.
The former congressman, who is also a senior lawyer and a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, described the call as treasonable.
He urged Nigeria to engage in critical criticism of the government rather than requesting military interference in Nigerian politics.
Osagie was perplexed as to why the security services had not invited Robert Clark to justify his motivation for making the call.
“Yes, as a parliamentarian and, of course, as a lawyer, remarks of that kind reveal the ignorance of certain otherwise learned or highly educated members of society,” he said.
“In Nigeria, we must be careful not to let our indignation dig our own grave.
“I was shocked to hear Robert Clark, SAN, ask President Buhari to hand over to the military when there was no reason for such a request. Regardless of the state of our country’s rule of law, it is unthinkable that a Senior Advocate of Nigeria of that age will call for an illegal change of government, requiring the incumbent elected president to hand over power to the military on his own. It is completely absurd, and no logic or reason can explain it. Nigeria and Nigerians are going through difficult times; we are all affected by our country’s severe insecurity. The enormous economic problems confronting our country impact us all. Yeah, we all blame the government in power and they must accept accountability, but we must not add insult to injury by requesting an undemocratic takeover of government by a Senior Advocate. How does he explain that? In any case, such a call is treasonous.
“To be honest, as a SAN and an old man, I believe Robert Clarke should have known better because the evidence of our past shows that the problems we face today are due to long years of military disruption of our democratic governance, which has made our democratic path very crooked in the last sixty-something years that we have been independent. If we had unbroken civilian administration since 1960, our experiences would have helped us to correct many of the mistakes we would have made, as well as consolidate some of the gains we would have made.
“Take it or leave it; no one is coming to create the Nigeria of our dreams.” Nigerians must do it on their own. So, if you contact the military, know that they are not angels. They are not going to do something special that hasn’t already been done. They can just exacerbate the problems that already exist. If you advocate for an undemocratic takeover of government, you endanger the development of democracy. Regardless of how fragile our political culture appears to be today, it is still superior to any military government.
“If we believe that the President is not doing enough, we have a common responsibility to engage in constructive criticism of his administration, which I support because I feel the pains, and my people feel the pains. Things may have been better if this government had taken a different path to governance, but that is not to suggest that we can forego our democratic rights in order to elect another President in the next couple of years who we believe would be able to push the development agenda that will favour and support the citizens of Nigeria.
“In the meantime, we must continue to call on President Buhari, which I support, because you cannot assume that if your prayers are not answered, you will never pray to God again. You cannot replace God with another god. He is still our President. What we should do is keep calling on him, and I will do so here, to go beyond rhetoric in resolving security issues.
“In Nigeria, no one is healthy. Insecurity can now be found everywhere. Criminals are nearly destroying the constitutionally mandated defence infrastructure. What has become of us? The few victories that have occurred are insufficient to provide people with the relief and protection that they deserve. We must avoid reacting and responding to every kidnapping and bombing.
“We must be able to thwart illegal acts before they occur. This reactive method of responding after any event would benefit no one. This was happening during Jonathan’s tenure, who was known for issuing beautiful statements in the aftermath of an incident.
“President Buhari must do everything possible because this is one of the reasons he won election in 2015: Nigerians believed that as a retired military general, he would be able to manage the security situation because no one would tell him what to do, but quite frankly, the insecurity in Nigeria today is mind-boggling. Granted, there is no constant bombing, just detonators here and there, but the level of instability that exists today is concerning.
“We can’t let it happen. We must continue to engage the government and seek transparency from them, regardless of party affiliation, and make suggestions and statesmen for our country’s advancement and growth. But, regardless of how we feel, we have no right as people to demand a military takeover of government. We do not have that right, and anyone who does so commits a treasonable crime, which is punishable under our constitution, which is the foundation of our country.
“I’m curious if our intelligence forces would have to question Robert Clarke about his motivations. We must speak out about it. We have the right to suggest ways to improve our country, but you have no right to suggest unlawful means of taking over the government. According to the constitution, our freedom of speech would not allow us to commit treason. If you commit a crime, your rights will be restricted. Section 1(3) of the constitution declares that the constitution takes precedence over all other laws. There is no rule in this country that says the military will take over if a civilian government is failing.”