Buhari’s 4th Gamble


By Ben Nanaghan

The long awaited declaration by General Muhammadu Buhari to clinch the Presidential ticket of the All Progressive Congress (APC) took place at Eagles Square on 15 October, 2014.

It was a day all the APC bigwigs showered encomia on the 72 years old former Head of State. General Buhari in his usual terseness and almost bland presentation demonised the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and promised to “rescue Nigeria from the stranglehold of the PDP”.

It was very evident from the heavy presence of party hierarchy that General Buhari was the APC’s anointed one and that he may finally be chosen as the party’s consensus candidate.

General Buhari’s 9-point agenda was not well enunciated and articulated as he left the audience with numerous opportunities to fill up the gaping hiatus in his declarations. In nearly all his 9-point agenda, Buhari did not impress anyone of a fundamental difference or change from what currently obtains.

The first of his 9-point agenda is “protection of lives and property”. This basically refers to the problem of Boko Haram which President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is prosecuting with wisdom and great caution. And we also know that most Northern Elders support Boko Haram to frustrate President Goodluck Jonathan

On May 17, 2012, the Arewa Youth Forum condemned General Buhari’s “monkey and baboon” speech of May 14, 2012. The AYC President, Abdulkareem Tijani lashed out at General Buhari thus, “Buhari by the statement he made before the election in 2011, precipitated the violence that followed the 2011 presidential election and till now Nigeria has not recovered from the same”. Before the April 16, 2011 presidential election, Buhari told his audience in Hausa that they should defend their votes.

General Buhari’s 2nd Agenda is “pursuing economic policies for shared prosperity and immediate attention on youth employment” General Buhari  who does not have any known economic policy has forgotten that as at today Nigeria has the most buoyant economy in Africa and the 23rd best economy globally.

General Buhari’s 3rd Marshal plan is “quality education for development, modernity and social mobility”. General Buhari ruled Nigeria from December 1983-August 27 1985 but there is nowhere he instituted  this quality education. Today President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has established 120 well equipped grassroots schools for the Northern Almajiris and Talakawas. GEJ has also established 13 new universities including a maritime and a Police university. And of course our campuses have known relative peace because GEJ has met most of the Government obligations to the universities. GEJ has also ensured that every state in Nigeria has a federal university.

Agriculture, industries and developing solid minerals are General Buhari’s 4th, 5th and 6th Marshall plans. General Buhari cannot even equal GEJ’s achievements in these areas of Agriculture, industries and solid minerals. Nigeria’s agriculture today is the best in Africa. Our fertilizer supply and distribution is today one of the best even in the world. One Alhaji Aliyu Tanko of BBC Hausa service said thus: “Nigeria has introduced more transparency into the supply and distribution of fertilizers which had previously been marred by massive corruption.” When General Buhari was Head of State, the Nigerian Fertilizer Company NAFCON was a parastatal where Nigerians became millionaires overnight. But today fertilizer sales and distribution is digitalized. And of course Nigeria’s agriculture minister Dr Adewunmi Adeshina was chosen as AFRICAN Agric Minister of the year by the prestigious Forbes magazine.

In October 2013, Nigeria reduced her food import bill by a whopping 40% and also increased local production of rice, cassava, sorghum, cotton and coca between 25-56%.

Buhari’s 7th Marshall Plan is “restoring honour and integrity to public service by keeping the best and attracting the best”. In Nigeria, really educated Northerners are of such miserable paucity and yet dominate every sphere of employable position in the Nigerian employment market. Go to the police, customs, AMCON, immigration, the civil service, CBN and any federal government parastatals, the top management in some of the agencies have up to 80% lopsidedness in favour of the North.

Most Northern graduates become DGs under 10 years while for their southern counterparts, it’s about 28 years or never.

When General Sani Abacha, another epithet for corruption in Nigeria, created the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), he invited General Buhari to be the boss in order to rehabilitate his former boss. The PTF under General Buhari’s watch could not account for billions of Naira and so President Olusegun Obasanjo set up the Haroun Adamu Probe panel which could not pin down General Buhari as proxies were used to cover all the leaking tracks in PTF. Apart from billions of missing funds General Buhari also ensured that most of the PTF projects were located in his Northern Nigeria.

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Where ever General Buhari worked there was always the controversy of missing funds as was the case of the missing $2.8BN when he was Minister of Petroleum Resources under President Obasanjo. General Buhari has not been able to bury the spectre of all these missing funds trailing him. On the other hand President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has been able to plug the loopholes sustaining corruption. For instance pension corruption was unidentified during General Buhari’s regime but was unearthed by GEJ and culprits were arrested, tried and jailed. Same goes for the previous fertilizers scandals.

Today there are hundreds of corruption cases pending in the courts and GEJ cannot be the judge, the jury and the executioner at the same time.

General Buhari’s 9th and last Marshal Plan is respecting the constitutional separation of powers and respecting rights of citizens. General Buhari does not have the antecedents to respect citizens’ rights and my homunculus tells me that many Nigerians will flee to escape Buhari’s rapturous wrath and gulags.

One of the greatest flaws of General Muhammed Buhari’s personality is his inability to tame his tongue. Chief Obafemi Awolowo one of Nigeria’s most learned intellectuals and former politician cum philosopher had this to say about discretion of the tongue: “only men who are masters of themselves become easily masters of others. Therefore, my thoughts, my tongue and my actions shall be brought under strict control always”.

It is necessary at this juncture to bring to memory General Buhari’s “monkey and baboon” speech of May 14th 2012. He raged, “God willing by 2015 SOMETHING WILL HAPPEN. They either conduct a free and fair election or they go a very disgraceful way. If what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the MONKEY AND THE BABOON WOULD ALL BE SOAKED IN BLOOD”. (Capitals mine)

For General Buhari, any election he does not win is rigged and not free and fair. General Buhari does not understand the logic of fairness and equity because his hands are not clean. Nigerians still remember the 53 suitcases unfairly given waiver by General Buhari’s government. Nigerians also remember how General Buhari undiplomatically  accused, haunted and found Alhaji Umaru Dikko guilty of corruption while exonerating Alhaji Shehu Shagari who was then President of the federal government. And the unfairness and injustice in his skewed distribution of PTF projects in favour of the Northern states is also inexcusable. General Buhari’s tough anti-corruption stance is a façade, an ice-cube pack that will thaw when the battle actually begins. His iron caste incorruptibility is only in ideas and theories not in principle and action.

But if anything has prevented him from accessing Aso Rock, it is his messianic, born-to- rule mentality which goads him to believe in an illusionary vision that he is the divine messiah and solution to Nigeria’s multifaceted problems.

General Buhari’s followers and loyalists have severally attempted to down play his ethnic and Islamic fundamentalism to no avail as he still holds these cards very close to his chest and has insensitively promised considering a Muslim/Muslim ticket in a presidential election to be held in February 2015 when the General will be in his 73rd year on mother earth.

In 2011 el-Rufai described General Buhari as politically ruined and unelectable as a result of his Islamic fundamentalism. And in a recent interview Sheikh Ahmad Gunmi warned that General Buhari’s Presidential ambition can “Set Nigeria on fire because his followers were fanatical, irrational and sentimental”

Gunmi also posited that Buhari’s followers who already hope that their “god” will be president will ignite the “flames of war” if they suddenly discover that their idol had lost the election. Sheikh Gunmi expatiated that 2015 will take the same pattern as 2011 when Buhari’s followers started violence immediately after his loss at the 2011 polls. The All Progressives Congress should as a matter of urgency prevail on Gen Buhari’s unquenchable ambition and source for another presidential candidate from the south west, south East or the south south.

Or is there any master/slave documentation between the North and the south making the north, slave-drivers and the south, slaves?

Nigeria should avoid the American assisted 2015 Armageddon for which the North is an insider.

•Nanaghan wrote from Lagos •E-mail: [email protected].

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