By Vincess Okushi

In the early 80s, former President Muhammadu Buhari’s military rule was perceived by many as that of a dictator.

This aspect of his lifestyle may be termed a hidden agenda by those who did not witness the Buhari-led military regime.

Counting down from 2015 to 2023, the change, era of Nigeria’s immediate past president, in which many believed to have seen Nigeria’s political messiah, little did they know they were in, for another authoritarian administration that hindered the Rule of Law, Legislation, and Shades of Gray in Governance, Military Dictatorship as seen in 1983-1985, where going by the track records led to the public flogging of civil servants who were late to work, Suspension of Civil Rights, and Constitution as well as Decree 2 enacted for Severe restriction on the freedom of expression and inordinate arrests of political activists, hence it became imperative to examine critically the Buhari’s two-term tenure.

This need informed the basis of the discussion at a one-day training organized by Global Rights to formally present the findings of a comprehensive scorecard report, assessing the civic space under the administration of President Buhari in the past eight years. 

According to Global Rights program manager, Edosa Oviawe, analyzing the impact of the policies and actions of the government on the Civic Space with regards to the Nigerian Press Council Act (Amendment) Bill 2019 Sections 3(c), 3(d), 12 Not Passed, Non-Governmental Organizations Regulatory Commission (Establishment) Bill 2016, Sections 11, 13, 15, 24, 29 Not Passed, Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill (Social Media Bill) 2019, Sections 3(1)(b), 7, 8, 12, 32, 33 Not Passed, Independent National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches Bill (Hate Speech Bill) among others sponsored and passed by the 8th and 9th National Assembly will position the Citizens and the Civic Space for the battles to come in the future. 

The point is that leaders fail to know that even after they leave office, somebody will come to ask them to give an account of how they spent their time

Earlier in his presentation, Ken Henshaw said the Buhari-led administration was the highest defaulter of the Rule of law and the Civic Space, heightening misbehaviors across public officeholders that led to the destruction of properties and loss of lives in the last Nigerian civil rule.

Looking at judicial compliance challenges in Nigeria, we start with the disobedience by government officials.

It is on record that the Buhari era, disobeyed court orders up to 40 times, according to an Amnesty report, and yet there was disregard by high-profile officials as it touches the personnel concerned. 

Generally, according to the law, the reward or punishment or penalty for disregarding a court order is imprisonment. 

So there was this pattern of non-compliance, it was as if they held that the body of government they headed gave them the supreme power higher than the judiciary itself.

The report is aimed at examining various policies and bills that have threatened civic space in the past eight years as well as to set an agenda for the present administration to promote citizen-structured governance in the country


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