If I were to be in Turkey, I’d probably be in jail by now. For I doubt if any judge, tribunal or, much less, a political power monger – in the mould of ‘The Boss’ in Ankara, would believe I was not preparing the ground for Friday’s coup attempt in Turkey, with my article of penultimate Wednesday.
But since I do not intend to write about Turkey again, let me put it on record that I’m one of the few who strongly believe the alleged coup attempt could have been stage-managed to give Tayyip Reccep Erdogan the justification to clamp down on real and perceived opponents to his ambition to rewrite the constitution and transfer the centre of executive power from the office of the Prime Minister to the office of the President, which he presently occupies.
Coups have been a particularly sour spot for everybody in today’s Turkey – be they cronies or critics of the government in power. Almost every Turkish citizen today is, therefore, ready to spill his blood to forestall another coup. That means that one of the quickest ways to get lynched on the streets of Istanbul or Ankara is to be accused of plotting a coup. It’s like accusing somebody of blaspheming the Holy Prophet (SAW) before a mob of Islamic fundamentalists. Erdogan knows this sentiment and he played it to the hilt, especially among his army of cronies, and the rural populace, most of whom depend on his regular handouts for survival.
But the dizzying thing about this coup is the ease with which the ‘coupists’ were rounded up, without much of a fight. Then there was the allegation that over 200 people had died. And you’d be tempted to ask: Who got killed? Where? Who killed them? Was it the same coupists whose fighter jets allegedly refused to shoot down Erdogan’s plane, despite having it in sight? The same coupists who refused to fire a shot at unarmed (apparently, rented) crowds of the president’s on the Bosphorous Bridge?
Everything looked so rehearsed: ‘Coupists’ shooting into the air, crowd booing them, protesters climbing all over the armoured tanks and nobody getting hurt, ‘blood-thirsty’, coup-plotting soldiers being picked up from inside their tanks like sitting ducks.
Even in democratic America, policemen would fire live bullets in less dangerous circumstances. Haba!
My takeaway? Somebody wanted to use judges and the police to overthrow strongman Erdogan – in a Turkey that is not naïve to military coups. And in this age of ICT, all the coupists planned to do was to, like a certain Bukar Suka Dimka, take over a radio station? If this could not work in Nigeria of 1976, how did they think it would work in the Turkey of 2016? Beats my imagination! And this coup was supposed to have been co-ordinated from the United States? By a group believed to have, arguably, the best of Turkish elite and intelligentsia? Benumbing!
And, wait for this, barely one hour into the coup, Erdogan (on Facetime) and his Prime Minister were already blaming Fethullah Gulen and the Hizmet movement for masterminding it. And calling for the extradition of the Muslim cleric, even when the coup had not been quelled and the plotters arrested?
And less than 24 hours later, over 12,000 people had been arrested (and stripped to their underpants), including some 2,700 judges, who have been suspended. Erdogan argues that Gullen has infiltrated the judiciary – and if the cleric is a ‘terrorist’, then all the judges must be terrorists too. He is also toying with the idea of damning the European Union and returning the death penalty to Turkey as well as making insinuation to stop co-operating with the US and NATO over strikes on ISIS. Hmmm. Some narrative!
But I guess, it’s not only in Turkey that judges are terrorists and coupists. We also have some of them in Nigeria. I suspect it’s these coupists and terrorists in the judiciary that are frustrating President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war. Instead of them to be throwing accused treasury looters into jail and confiscating every item of wealth traceable to them and their extended families, the judges and lawyers are wasting time over due process and rule of law. They are also the ones handing out all manner of injunctions and election verdicts. Coupists, all of them!
But, while we are at it, could we also throw the searchlight on Bayelsa State and the rhetoric that has been going on about the governorship election tribunal for some time now.
The social media is awash with allegations of a $4 million bribe and how one party is already celebrating ahead of the judgement.
And as the lobby to upturn Seriake Dickson’s victory intensifies, the good offices of the SGF, AGF and even the First Lady have all been dragged into the muddy roforofo. Even the name of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has been dropped into the mix. There have been talks about a London meeting, blackmarket judgement, kangaroo judgement, Jankara judgement and a repeat of the Abia scenario – INEC, certificate of return, court order, etc. The only difference is that in Bayelsa, there would actually be a swearing-in. In fact, people are alleged to have even procured their aso ebi, in anticipation of the victory march.
However, since I have come to take everything I read on the social media with a tablespoon of salt, I now don’t know what is true, and what is not. I don’t know which is PDP propaganda and which is APC’s. I wouldn’t know if Chief Timipre Sylva’s alleged closeness to the SGF, for instance, is now been used to blackmail him and the APC, or whether there is indeed a plot to capture Bayelsa for APC, by all means necessary
But as the parties gear up for the July 28 ruling, I’m taken aback more by the threat of the group that goes by the name Arise Bayelsa. It is threatening fire and brimstone (including getting women to march naked on the streets) if the judgement does not reflect the will of the people, freely expressed with their PVCs on December 5, 2015 and January 9, 2016. We must not set more fire to Bayelsa than the Niger Delta Avengers and cultist groups are already doing.
Thankfully, we have an NJC as well as a CJN, who are determined to remain isolated from partisanship – be it in Osun, Ogun or even Abia.
But, like a spokesman of one of the governors told one online medium “It is not the election that is on trial; rather, it is the judiciary that is on trial”.
I just hope that we would not, like Erdogan, have cause to accuse our judiciary of coup plotting – either by failing to uphold a legitimate government or installing an illegitimate one, or vice versa.
Another milestone for Peter ‘The Rock’
In this time and season, it’s almost impossible to wish a good friend a happy birthday without drawing political insinuations.
But former Anambra State governor, Mr. Peter Obi, who turned 55 yesterday, counts very high on my list of friends. So, as he hits a new age, I can only wish that all his good dreams – both the altruistic and the not-too-altruistic – come true.
Posterity will sieve those who served humanity well and those who, in the guise of service, took humanity for a ride. I am sure that in the fullness of time, Peter Obi (warts and all) would be counted among the former.
But if you asked me, I would say Chris Ngige liberated Anambra, Peter Obi laid the foundation for growth and set the state on the path of that growth, Obiano is consolidating and taking the state to the next level. So, why would political jobbers, desperately scavenging for their next meals, want to diminish the contributions of any of these men?