That President Buhari stand on Rule of Law

Recently during the last national convention of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, in Abuja, president Muhammadu Buhari had caused a stir when declared that the rule of law should play second fiddle in matters of public and national interest.
The President had gone ahead to say that the Supreme Court had in the past made similar pronouncement through a judgment it delivered.
Expectedly, this presidential declaration has elicited so much controversy and reactions with majority of them condemning totally the statement.
Nobel Laureate Prof Sole Soyinka in his reaction described the position as a play back to the military era. So many prominent lawyers and commentators have taken a swipe on the president accusing him of trying to jeopardize the country’s democracy through subjugation of rule of law which, should be the fulcrum or pivot on which the system stand.
Surely, every patriotic citizen and lover of our democracy should be alarmed by president Buhari’s suggestion. We should be concerned because as many have rightly stated the rule of law is not just a necessity in democracy but, essentially the most important foundation of democracy. Again, like some have also pointed out the rule of law is supposed to define what constitutes national and public interest and not one individual whose definition may be  subject to his whims and caprices.
Another salient issue about this ground norm which has been hammered on is that in a democracy the three arms of government are supposed to make input in the defining of national interest. An instructive example here was the issue of the presidential executive order President Donald Trump of United States of America, rolled out when he assumed office banning citizens of some countries from entering the country.
As a country built on the supremacy of the law, the country’s judiciary played it’s own role by declaring the order invalid. Once this judgement was entered all institutions complied until the supreme court eventually ratified it.
So, as a democracy Nigeria is supposed not only to be seen but, actually toeing this line in arriving at a sensitive decision of what constitutes national interest.
If president Buhari does not know or, pretends not to know some of his stands and utterances have caused so much damage to the country’s image in the international community. Once a country is adjudged  lawless and undemocratic most countries and their citizens will begin to treat it as a pariah nation, a tag which comes with so many negative consequences.
On this basis and also in view of  dangers his utterances like this one pose for the country’s democracy, growth and development, we think it is time he completely aligns himself with the democratic system of governance and its norms and principles which he swore to protect at his inauguration.
The truth which the president must accept is that the system is bigger than him, and had also been in existence before him and definitely will outlive him. The only way out for him is to allow it as it is designed and when this is done the rule of law would definitely reign supereme.

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