I worry because the entire trial had been political. I worry because his release is also political.
One doesn’t even need to have keen interest in the events following al-Mustapha’s release to see that a complex and dangerous political game is at play here.
The signs have been too glaring, including among others: al-Mustapha’s visit to Prophet T.B Joshua upon his release; Femi Fani-Kayode’s hurriedly arranged press conference (If I can call it that) commending the federal government; the escort to Kano by leader of the Oodua People Congress (OPC), Fredrick Fasehun; the celebrations that erupted in the north; the pronouncement by Kano Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, that al-Mustapha is a national hero.
Some might even add the failure, or is it refusal, of the Lagos State Government to take the case to the Supreme Court.
Everything about al-Mustapha’s freedom has been about politics; not the end of a murder trial.
My conclusion is that someone very high up there must have thought it was time to play the al-Mustapha card hence his release last week.
But who is the person playing this card?
Several conspiracy theories have already been made, most of them pointing to 2015.
Yet, in this unfolding drama, we have a president who has remained quiet and seemingly uninterested in the events. This is the thing that worries me at night.
Agreed, President Goodluck Jonathan cannot comment on every issue in this country, but there are issues, like al-Mustapha’s freedom, that have implications for national security and for the democratic experience in Nigeria.
When such issues come up, observers naturally look out for the president’s clear position on the matter, or at least his body language. By body language, one means statements made by the president’s lieutenants or even his other half, the Dame.
We saw this body language during the October 1 bomb attacks for which Henry Okah has been jailed. Jonathan hurriedly assured the world that his “people” could not have been responsible for the barbaric attacks.
Yet, this president has decided to play the waiting game regarding the al-Mustapha release. He has neither made his position clear nor spoken by proxy. This is despite very provocative statements coming out of some sections of the north; and I consider it an unusual reaction from the Jonathan troop, which includes a certain Ijaw chieftain who is obsessed with the north.
So what card is Aso Rock playing? The truth is I don’t know. And this worries me.
Let me, however, speculate like several Nigerians have been doing since Friday and by virtue of the fact that this is my space to freely express my opinion.
I have two theories. First, Jonathan has a hand in al-Mustapha’s release. I cannot say why I believe this is so but when you have seen systems work in this country; you are bound to feel that a president has a say in how someone like al-Mustapha is prosecuted in court, let alone discharge and acquitted. In fact, such a case would interest any president.
If I am right about Jonathan’s interest in the al-Mustapha case, it won’t be long before we hear the two have met or are meeting. It could even be under the guise of a courtesy call on the president. After all, has al-Mustapha not paid same on the Kano governor?
For al-Mustapha, a visit to the Presidential Villa would bring back floods of memories. Some good but most of them of the dirty work he had to do to keep late General Sani Abacha in power.
If he is the workaholic they say he is, you can be sure al-Mustapha will be looking to return to work at the Villa. Who knows how Jonathan will respond if such a thing ever came up for consideration.
Anyway, the second theory is that Jonathan has no hand in al-Mustapha’s release. If this is the case, you can expect the voices from the creeks to issue a tersely-worded statement soon, on behalf of the Yoruba race.