President Muhammadu Buhari must be wondering what he might have got wrong again in reading what can be called a riot act to those that can be called potential riggers. The statement by which he might have thought he was reversing his remarks in Zamfara for which he has been criticized has, however, been undergoing deconstruction. But, first, a summative quotation from the president’s intervention at the meeting of his party earlier today:
Anybody who decides to snatch boxes or lead thugs to disturb the election, may be that would be the last unlawful action you would take. I have given the military and police the order to be ruthless. I am going to warn anybody who thinks he would lead a body of thugs in his locality to snatch boxes or to disturb the voting system; he would do it at the expense of his/her own life.
This is also a clip of what he said:
But, Hon Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and an emergent thinker of the PDP has been deconstructing the president, producing a new and completely different reading of the text. Here goes the Speaker:
These statements clearly indicate that our democracy has become the victim of a full blown dictatorship, when one considers that a democratically elected President would give a directive that is in clear violation of the laws of the land which by his oath of office he is to defend and protect. In view of this statement by the president, it is obvious that the military has been given a central role and co-opted into the conduct of the election despite the fact that they have no constitutional role in our electoral process.
While the president and the Speaker were involved in a language game in Abuja, a real game was playing out in Kano. Again, this has been cited in no less than three platforms. It goes like this:
The question is, were this a variant of Election Day drama, what would the soldiers standing there then do?
What is the point in all these? The answer is: words have power implications, even for presidents.