Redefining Justice: The Tinubu Approach vs. Buhari’s Regime – Lessons from Sowore, Bakare, Igboho and Kanu

By Prof John Egbeazien Oshodi

The Advantage of a Less Militaristic Tinubu-Style Presidency Over Buhari: The Relaxed Judicial Atmosphere under a Tinubu Non-Military Democratic Leadership – A Reflection on the Cases of Omoyele Sowore, Olawale Bakare, and the Potential Freedom of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho

For reflection’s sake, let’s not forget the consistent push from Femi Adesina, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, and Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, in championing the Buhari ways. How market for them now? I repeat Femi Adesina, Malam Garba Shehu, Lai Mohammed, how market?

In the intricate tapestry of Nigeria’s political labyrinth, the manner in which a leader navigates the ship can send ripples throughout the domains of justice and governance. It’s as if their approach sets the scene for the unfolding drama within the courts and the halls of power. Now, when we delve into discussions about leadership, it’s inevitable to draw a stark comparison between the previous tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari and the current leadership helmed by Bola Tinubu. It’s not merely a matter of the present moment; it’s about laying the groundwork for the future narrative of our nation as we navigate the twists and turns of our evolving landscape.

President Buhari’s tenure has been characterized by a notable penchant for militaristic tactics, marked by a heavy-handed approach to dissent and a proclivity for crackdowns on civil liberties. The echoes of #ENDsars still reverberate, reminding us of the price of dissent under such governance. This approach has entrenched a climate of fear and suppression, where the judiciary often operates under the looming shadow of political influence and perceived coercion. In stark contrast, the current leadership of Bola Tinubu represents a potential paradigm shift—a departure from the confrontational politics of the past towards a more inclusive, rights-driven democracy.

Unlike Buhari, Tinubu’s background—a non-military, American-trained Nigerian—brings a refreshing perspective to governance, fostering an environment of relaxation in the justice and law enforcement sectors. Tinubu’s experience in American democracy and governance principles could lead to a more nuanced approach to leadership, one that is grounded in the principles of transparency, accountability, and respect for human rights. In the era of Buhari, a leader with a history of military despotism and rigid religious convictions, the influence on law enforcement and the justice system has been profound, often resulting in a less positive approach to human rights. Instances of over-detention of suspects, disobedience of court rulings, and acts of impunity became disturbingly common.

The recent legal developments surrounding Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare serve as poignant examples of the transformative potential inherent in a less militaristic leadership style. The withdrawal of charges against them and the subsequent orders for the release of seized items signal a departure from the repressive legal tactics often associated with militaristic regimes. Instead of perpetuating a culture of fear and intimidation, these actions underscore a commitment to upholding the rule of law and respecting the rights of citizens. This shift in approach not only promotes individual liberties but also fosters an environment conducive to civic engagement and democratic participation.

At the crux of this transformation lies the concept of a more laid-back judicial ambiance—an environment where the judiciary functions autonomously, shielded from any potential undue influence or political meddling. Under a leadership akin to that of Tinubu, there’s a strong probability of empowering the judiciary to administer justice without bias, ensuring the protection of citizens’ rights impartially. This sharp comparison highlights the persistent shadow of political intervention that typically looms over a militaristic regime, wherein the judiciary is often viewed as an arm of the executive branch rather than a fortress of fairness.

Moreover, should Tinubu’s presidency follow the rules of law and not the Buharian ways, our democracy will flourish. Law enforcement agencies, including the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Services, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, will experience growth, and the people will have more confidence that their rights are not being abused. Furthermore, the international community will respect Nigeria as a developing democracy that upholds the principles of justice and human rights.

The potential of a Tinubu-style presidency offers a beacon of hope for Nigeria—a vision where justice prevails, and the rights of all citizens are upheld without exception. By prioritizing democratic principles over authoritarian tactics, leaders like Tinubu pave the way for a future defined by inclusivity, accountability, and respect for the rule of law. As the nation navigates the complexities of its political landscape, it is imperative to embrace forward-looking leadership that champions the rights and freedoms of all Nigerians, ensuring a future where justice is not just a privilege but a fundamental right for all.

As our nation strides forward, it’s vital to acknowledge the unique and significant roles played by individuals such as Femi Adesina, Malam Garba Shehu, and Lai Mohammed. Their contributions have been pivotal in advocating for the policies and strategies of the Buhari administration, shaping public narratives, and influencing discussions, particularly concerning governance and security.

However, it’s equally important to confront the challenges and criticisms that have surfaced. The Buhari administration’s inclination towards militaristic tactics and a forceful crackdown on dissent has sparked concerns regarding the erosion of civil liberties and the independence of the judiciary. Events like #ENDsars serve as poignant reminders of the intricacies and tensions inherent in governance during such circumstances.

While individuals like Adesina, Shehu, and Mohammed have undoubtedly been committed to their roles, it’s evident that Nigeria is undergoing a period of transition. The evolving landscape calls for a reevaluation of governance paradigms, emphasizing inclusivity, accountability, and respect for democratic principles.

In this journey towards progress, the focus must shift towards collective advancement and national unity. It’s imperative to transcend individual contributions and affiliations, prioritizing the common good and the aspirations of all Nigerians.

As we navigate these challenges and opportunities, it’s crucial for leaders like Tinubu to learn from past mistakes and chart a different course. By embracing inclusive governance and upholding democratic values, we can confidently move towards a brighter future for Nigeria, guided by a shared vision and a commitment to progress.

And now, as we’re about to call it a day, let’s give a shoutout to our favorite cheerleaders for the Buhari team: Femi Adesina, the Media Master; Malam Garba Shehu, the Publicity Pro; and Lai Mohammed, the Culture Minister! How’s business for them these days, huh? I mean, Femi, Malam Garba, Lai, how’s the market treating you now? Anyone buying those Buhari specials?

 

Professor John Egbeazien Oshodi, born in Uromi, Edo State, Nigeria, is an American-based police and prison scientist, forensic psychologist, and legal psychologist. He’s a government advisor on forensic-clinical psychological services in the USA and the founder of the Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi Foundation for Psychological Health. With a significant role in introducing forensic psychology to Nigeria through N.U.C. and Nasarawa State University, he’s also a former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association. He’s taught at esteemed institutions like Florida Memorial University, Florida International University, Nova Southeastern University, and more, and is currently an online faculty member at Weldios University, Nexus International University, and Walden University. John.Oshodi@mail.waldenu.edu


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