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Is Prof. Odekunle reinventing democracy, rule of law?

Since the disobedience to court orders by security agencies in the country under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari began, a number of experts who were expected to stoutly oppose the act, have rather chosen to look the other way.

Some others have however taken sides with the agencies, adducing all manner of arguments to support the unconstitutional actions of the agencies.

Among those who have chosen to side the actions of the security agencies, some have gone further to qualify democracy and rule of law, key provisions of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution (as amended).

One of such persons is Professor Femi Odekunle, an expert in criminology, and currently a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption set up by President Buhari and headed by Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN).

Asked what grounds the EFCC has to re-arrest persons granted bail by the court, Odekunle said: “As a professional criminologist, I am not for unmoderated democracy, I’m not for unmoderated rule of law in which the rights of the individual will be so hyperbolised and override those of the collective”.

From his response, it is clear that Prof. Odekunle is not only in support of actions of the EFCC and the Department of State Services (DSS) to disobey court orders, but has qualified democracy and the rule of law.

Though Prof. Odekunle is entitled to his opinion, still he needs to realise that his attempt to qualify democracy and rule of law if allowed is a clear recipe for dictatorship.

When democracy is moderated as suggested by Prof. Odekunle, it loses its attractions which include the famous five freedoms, protection of peoples’ rights, adherence to due process, and obedience to court orders among others.

On the other hand, when the rule of law is moderated, as Prof. Odekunle posits, it opens door for the violation of people’s rights as enshrined in the nation’s 1999 Constitution (as amended).

If rule of law is moderated, then we can as well bid good bye to the freedoms guaranteed by the constitution. Moderated rule of law is simply a recipe for impunity by those in power and their cronies. When the rule of law is moderated, those who find themselves in power and their cronies will run wild, brow beating everyone to submission.

These clearly runs counter to democracy and the rule of law as enshrined in Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution(as amended) and Prof. Odekunle and his likes must not take Nigerians to that inglorious path. Nigerians have since May 29, 1999 enjoyed full blown, unmoderated democracy and rule of law. It will therefore unfortunate for a few who now find themselves in and along the corridor of power to return us to the dark days.

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