… AND NOW, THE FOURTH ESTATE

From day one, they never hid their distaste for opposition or for anybody holding contrary opinion or dissenting view. Better for everybody to seal up his lips and not to say anything.

Rather, they should all begin to hail them, to sing their choruses and to shout their alleluias. In the same vein, they never wanted anybody to disagree with them or to open their mouths to speak anything against the administration, even though we are in a democracy.

They would beam their searchlight on individuals or groups suspected not to be in tune with their own line of thought and their activities, to harass or intimidate them, using government security agents. The aim was to cow everybody to submission, to subjugate them, and to make everybody begin to toe their path.

They never wanted to hear anything about the so-called separation of powers, where each of the three arms of government was said to operate independently of each other. The only government they knew was the executive branch, while the two other arms must be subservient to it, to toe the path dictated by the executive.

At the inception of the administration, they had wanted their own men to take over the legislative branch, but they failed. So, they were not happy and they decided to declare members of the legislature their number one enemy.

In consequence, they came after the head of the legislative branch, the President of the Senate, charged him with corruption, and took him to the Code of Conduct Tribunal. For almost two years, the man was shuttling between his office at the legislative house, and the courts, to answers charges preferred against him, until the highest court in the land freed him.

They did everything possible to frustrate the works of the legislative branch. For instance, they encouraged some agents of the executive branch, like the Comptroller General of Customs and the Inspector General of Police, not to obey the directives, or honour the summons by the legislature, just to spurn the institution.

Not done, they sent some security agents to barricade the homes of the principal officers of the legislature, and even the legislature itself, to prevent its members from carrying out their legislative functions.

At a stage, they even sent some thugs to invade the hallowed chambers of the Senate, in session, to cart away its mace, the symbol of authority of the legislature. But the legislature refused to cave in, or to surrender to them.

Then, they turned their gaze on the judicial branch, and saw some faces they did not so much like. So, on one particular night, when everybody was asleep, they sent their security agents to desecrate the institution of the judiciary, the men on the Temple of Justice, to invade the homes of some senior judicial officers, under the guise that they were fighting corruption.

At the height of it all, like what they did with the legislative branch, they went after the head of the judiciary, the Chief Justice of Nigeria. They also took him to the Code of Conduct Tribunal and charged him with improper declaration of assets. Before the man could open his mouth to answer “Not guilty”, they sent him packing and swore in his replacement immediately! These were the people who took an oath that they would protect democracy in the country.

Now, it is the turn of members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm, the Gentlemen of the Press, the watchdog, the gadfly, those who hold the conscience of the people. They are becoming too heady “too open mouthed”. So they must be caged, a big padlock put on their lips, so that they would not talk.

For long, the regime had been tolerating their recklessness, trying to bear with them, but not any more. That was why they decided to use their sledgehammer on DAAR Communication Limited, owners of AIT and Raypower broadcast stations. This is just a tip of the iceberg as more draconian laws may be underway.

With the way they are currently going to ensure that they enthrone a legislature that would be subservient to them, a legislature not in consonant with the Saraki-Dogara led team which had refused to be cowed or intimidated, and since they had already conquered the judiciary, it may not be long before every Nigerian would have his mouth completely sealed, so that they would not talk.

In consequence, there would be no more freedom of speech and freedom of expression, since they would begin to roll out draconian laws that would curtail all “irresponsible utterances” and “useless write-ups” that are disturbing the peace of the country.

Then, every Nigerian would be made to give up his right to free speech, which is even guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution and the natural law of man, which approximates to the law of God.

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