As citizens of Egypt continue to celebrate the successful military ousting of their President, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, last night, Nigerians have warned political leaders in their own country against thinking they are immune from such an anti-government action.
Prominent Nigerians who spoke with P.M.NEWS Thursday morning warned that the country was on the brink and that the incident in Egypt could happen in Nigeria.
They also warned Nigerian political leaders against the continued belief that the citizens of the country are docile and would not react when the challenges of the country become unbearable.
Former Governor of old Kaduna State and Chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, said the lesson to be learnt from the coup is that against the belief by the west that military coup is out of date in spite of misgovernance, “the incident in Egypt shows that we can still have it and nothing can prevent it.
“We can’t expect stability when even simple issues like free and fair elections is not possible in this country.
“If it can happen in Egypt, it can happen in Nigeria and South Africa, no matter their place in the African continent,” Musa said.
Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Bamidele Aturu, said the lesson has always remained that where politicians misbehave continuously, they cannot always assume that they cannot be overthrown by other forces.
“Politicians are a very rare breed who hardly see the handwriting on the wall. Many of them think Nigerians are docile and that they could continue to act with impunity, but the truth is that we are not docile and they must not take Nigerians for granted,” he said.
He warned Nigerian politicians against derailing the country’s democracy, reminding them that in the event of a revolution or coup, they would be the biggest losers
“They must put an end to the culture of impunity and stop deceiving themselves that military coup or a revolt is not a possibility here. They would be living in a fool’s paradise to think so,” he said, adding that he is looking forward to the day Nigerians would decide to “really take over their government and make the country a better place instead of the government of impunity currently in existence.”
Another Lagos lawyer and aspirant for the governorship seat in Delta State in 2015, Festus Keyamo, warned Nigerian leaders to always be conscious in their activities that the military is never too far away.
Keyamo, who condemned the military intervention in Egypt, warning the Egyptians to learn from the injury caused Nigeria by the military, expressed fears that the revolt that occurred in Egypt could begin to spread across Africa.
Spokesperson of the Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, Yinka Odumakin, said to avoid such an occurrence in Nigeria, the country’s leadership must immediately address “the nationality question” and organise a national conference where a roadmap would be carved.
He lamented that since the era of General Ibrahim Babangida, the nationality question had remained unanswered and that this had continued to fracture the country’s system.
He explained that Mohammed Morsi emerged from the Muslim Brotherhood, a body which conflicts with the tenets of democracy like the Boko Haram group in Nigeria and as a result, he was challenged right from when he took over.
“Before we celebrate the cetenary, we must have a national dialogue so as to address the nationality question,” he said.
The Chairman, Committee on Judiciary, Complaints and Public Petitions of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Sanai Agunbiade, urged Nigerian leaders to always reflect on how many people sacrificed their lives for the current democracy.
The lawyer and former rights activist, who condemned the military action in Egypt, however, said he would not support a democratically elected person who decides to go against the will of the people that elected him.
He wondered how Morsi could have continued when he was already making himself autocratic by declaring his disregard for the country’s judicial system.
He recalled how the people jubilated after the coup last night, warning that this is what happens when those elected into power breach the laws of the land.
“Now that we have democracy, the leadership of this country must not do anything to usurp it. They must play by the rules and be disciplined in all their actions,” he said.
Social commentator and rights activist, Barrister Chris Nwaokobia, said the coup was a testament of the people’s power in the 21st century to unseat any leader that decides to relegate them.
“It also shows the shallow fallacy that the worst civilian rule is better than the best military rule,” he said, citing the how the Asian Tigers evolved through military rule.
While celebrating with the Egyptians, he said: “until the Nigerian leadership understands the anatomy of the people’s power, then such revolution is knocking at our door.”
President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Shettima Yerima, said the coup pointed to the fact that there is a limit to what people can take from their leaders.
“Nigerians are daily being pushed to the wall, but the leaders forget that incidents like this widen the scope of the citizens.
“People must rise up and tell themselves the truth. There is high rate of suspicion between the Nigerian political class and the people and this cannot stand for long,” he said, adding that what happened in Egypt is a sample of what could happen if Nigerians decide to rise up someday.
“The government must understand that we are long overdue for a revolt and it should be a big lesson because we are already in urgent need of solutions to our problems,” he added.