By Pius Adesanmi.
The Nigerian Army is threatening to sue Premium Times for publications they claim are hostile to them. My friends, Musikilu Mojeed and Ololade Bamidele, must be sweating after receiving a letter from the Army promising Premium Times a date in court with the lawyers of the Army.
Allah be praised.
This is a very significant national moment that we should not allow to pass. The Nigerian Army is mentioning courts and lawyers after encountering something she does not like? In my life time? I congratulate Premium Times for being the instigator of this significant national moment when we notice a momentous shift in the mentality of the Army.
This is a major climacteric in our national evolution as far as I am concerned. How many of you would have believed that you would ever hear law suits, lawyers, and courts from the mouth of the Army – unless they, of course, were beating up lawyers and burning down the courts?
Let’s hope that this becomes their ethos. Let’s hope that they replace “sorrow, tears, and blood” ( apologies to Fela) with the practices of civil humanism. It is refreshing that Premium Times will meet Buratai and his goons before a judge. They won’t have to go into hiding or cower under his jack boot, with Ak-47s pointing at their chest. Premium Times’ offices have not been invaded and sacked by soldiers.
If the Nigerian Army embraces civics as practice, only the first part of the battle would have been won. The second part is how to get them out of our spaces of civilian agency. They are so visible. They are omnipresent.
In national discourse, you hear more from the Army spokesperson than you hear from Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu. If two housewives quarrel in Gaa Akanbi in Ilorin, the Nigerian Army will weigh in and urge the public to go about their normal business. If two roadside mechanics quarrel in Ikot Ekpene, the Nigerian Army will offer an opinion. If two pure water sellers argue in Lagos traffic, the Army public relations officer will issue a statement.
There is no national issue, no public discourse that the Army does not crash her unwanted mouth into. There is no space of civic agency where we don’t feel their aberrant presence. The aberration has been so normalized that Army and citizens don’t even know that it is travesty. It ain’t supposed to be so. When you become an Army of gbeborun and sobolation, constantly dabbling in civilian affairs instead of facing domestic and external threats to national security, you will have time to be yakking about lawyers and law suits.
Premium Times must send an editorial to Buratai and his goons and tell them to get out of our civic spaces.
We want to see Buratai only when he comes to the market to sell snakes…