by Collins Uma
I have often wondered why people would look at General Muhammadu Buhari and say he is the best man to lead Nigeria. What have they been seeing since 2003 (almost 12 years) that I have not been able to see? I’m not really that blind. I know I’m not.
It is, for me, a sad appraisal of Goodluck Jonathan’s administration these past years that Nigerians will vote anyone but Jonathan. Anyone. Even a Buhari. That we are considering bringing back the former military Head of State talks about how much we are drowning, clutching at any straw. This is an indictment on Goodluck Jonathan. Dogs do not rush to eat faeces when they have better options.
Buhari’s age has never been an issue for me. Sani Abacha was younger. We know how that ended. His religion is also not an issue for me. I will rather vote a true Muslim who has imbibed the teachings of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) on compassion and brotherliness than vote a non-Muslim who isn’t really a Christian either but pretends to be one. In Nigeria, one is either a Christian or a Muslim, pro-broom or pro-umbrella, black or white. But there are lots of people in leadership positions in this country who aren’t Christians though they aren’t Muslims. They operate in that Godforsaken, diabolical chasm in between. So, Buhari’s ‘bigotry’ is a good thing for me.
But there is a myriad of reasons why I cannot vote for him. And I don’t think anyone should.
Below are some reasons which have been previously put forward and which I still totally agree with.
1. He is an oligarch who does not believe in equality before the law. The way he jailed Lateef Jakande, Jim Nwobodo, Ambrose Ali, Pa Adekunle Ajasin, Chief Ayo Ojewumi on cases that had no foundation and allowed Awwal Ibrahim, the then Niger State governor, who was arrested at Heathrow Airport in London with 14 million pounds and several millions of Naira and dollars to be under house arrest is proof he doesn’t understand what is equality before the law.
1b. Buhari jailed Benue’s Aper Aku and most of the other Governors in Shehu Shagari’s administration, setting up military tribunals to investigate their conduct while in office. Aku’s health was broken by the harsh conditions in jail, and he died in 1988 shortly after being released.
1c. Professor Ambrose Alli also became blind as a result of this false imprisonment. When he died, he had only one undeveloped plot of land to his name.
1d. Pa Adekunle Ajasin was never the same after his eventual release and remained sickly for the rest of his life. When he died, he never had any property anywhere in the world except the one he had built from his sweat as a former teacher and school principal in his Owo.
2. He put in place a retroactive law that killed three men, innocent men, by public execution. He left untouched an alleged well known drug baron in Ibrahim Babangida who later overthrew his government.
3. He jailed Nduka Irabor and Tunde Thompson of the Guardian on stories that were factually true under Decree 4. He had told the Nigerian journalists then that it did not matter whether the story reported was true or not.
4. He supervised the smuggling of 53 suitcases filled with cash through the Murtala Mohammed Airport, against the protests of General Tunde Idiagbon and, ironically, Atiku Abubakar, the then Director General of Nigeria Customs who later became the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and a compromised politician himself. This smuggling of the suitcases was supervised by his ADC, Col. Mustapha Jokolo.
5. He jailed Fela Anikulapo-Kuti on trumped-up charges under emergency law which prompted the sentencing judge to confess that he was ordered to do so and apologised to the late musician. It was Buhari’s administration that said it has “decided to deal with this Fela problem once and for all.”
6. He convinced many Northern political leaders against allowing the National Identity Card program because, according to him, this would unravel the myth of Northern population majority
7. He may not have plotted the coup that brought him to power but he stayed to enjoy the spoils. He is as guilty as the man that receives stolen goods.
8. He has never been able to account to Nigerians what he did with the 20 billion Naira of the Petroleum Trust Fund of which he was the chairman under military dictator Sani Abacha.
9. He has not been able to point to any project that he prosecuted outside Northern Nigeria with the so-called trust fund.
10. He was in full support of all the atrocities of Sani Abacha against the Nigerian people. There is no single record of his criticism of Sani Abacha during those dark days when Nigeria was on a precipice. It shows that he is a patriot of convenience and as such unfit to lead the country.
11. Buhari, as part of his tribalistic practices, placed President Shagari under house arrest inside a palatial mansion in Ikoyi while he locked up Shagari’s Vice, Alex Ekwueme, in Kirikiri Prison. Shagari is Hausa/Fulani like him while Alex Ekwueme is an Igboman.
12. Emeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, another Igboman, who returned from 13years exile just a little over a year then was as well locked up in Kirikiri Prison by Buhari. We are yet to be told what Ojukwu’s exact offence was.
13. Busari Adelakun died of ulcer because Buhari refused him to be taken out of prison for immediate medical attention.The then Governor of Ogun State, Bisi Onabanjo suffered a similar fate which we were told led to his untimely death.
14. Buhari ransacked the late Obafemi Awolowo’s house and confiscated his International passport based on frivolous charges.
15. One of Buhari’s major sponsors in the 2011 presidential election was the then CPC governorship candidate for Kano State, Mohammed Abacha, the same person that had/ran a personal killing squad, coordinated the killing of Kudirat Abiola & attempted to kill Ibru. The same Mohammed Abacha who reportedly stashed money in underground tanks.
16. Buhari is unforgiving. When he “took over” in 1983, he remembered an article written a long time ago by Bisi Onabanjo (‘The Mallams Are Coming’) and a later one in which Onabanjo wrote that people should watch out for that “gangly officer from the north” after Buhari gave a no holds barred speech at an Army function where he was reported to be very openly pro-Northern Nigeria to the exclusion of all else and where he also talked about the termination of democratic rule. For that, Onabanjo got one of the harshest jail terms and treatments.
17. Buhari’s intolerance level is unmatched. When he was adopted as the ANPP’s presidential candidate on the night of the party’s Primaries without prior warning to the other candidates and a few of them protested, Buhari got up and made a speech that those who protested must be disciplined.
18. The evil genius, IBB, and his crew similarly ran rings around Buhari. On the 10th anniversary of General Abacha’s demise, Buhari said that Abacha stole nothing from Nigeria. Despite millions of Dollars recovered from banks around the world and the Abacha family signing a formal agreement to return over $1 billion dollars, Buhari still said that Abacha’s stealing remains an unproven allegation.
19. Buhari snubbed the same Nigerians who’s votes he now wants by refusing to appear before Justice Chukwudifu Oputa’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee (Oputa Panel) despite knowing how much Nigerians needed that reconciliation committee.
20. Buhari executed Lawal Ojuolape (30), Bernard Ogedengbe (29) and Bartholomew Owoh (26). To put it quite plainly, one of those three – Ogedengbe – was executed for a crime that did not carry a capital forfeit at the time it was committed.
This is the same man Nigerians want to bring back?
People have also spoken about the discipline he brought into the insane jungle that was Nigeria between 1983 and 1985. And they say he will replicate this in 2015. But they fail to recognise the fact that the playing field has changed.
Thirty years ago Buhari did not have a Senate or House of Representatives to pass laws or carry out other legislative functions. His word was law, including the decrees he issued to muzzle the media. How does he intend to work with a National Assembly that is most likely going to have a PDP majority, going by the realities in the states? This is one question I would love to have answered.
This article was published with permission from Ekekeee.com
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.