Opinion: If Buhari is easy to defeat, why the fear?

by Ola’ Idowu

This is one question I’ve been asking myself since the last article I wrote in support of Muhammadu Buhari’s presidential ambitions. Prior to writing the article we’ve had a Special Adviser to the President on Media, Doyin Okupe, saying Buhari is a serial loser.

I’ve monitored so many other articles and interviews with many of them insisting Jonathan would have a walk-over if Buhari were to be the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and I ask myself the question, if Buhari would be easy to defeat, why the fear from the Presidency, their supporters in the media and party members within the PDP about Buhari’s candidature?

Would there be something we’re missing out on with all the sudden press attacks on Buhari or is that part of the plan to make him easy to defeat? The truth is Buhari’s candidature if given the chance as the APC’s presidential candidate would give Jonathan and all his handlers a good run for their money, hence why they are all quaking.

The fear of Buhari has become the beginning of wisdom for many. Let’s remind ourselves again, this is a man who almost single-handedly started a new party four months to the 2011 elections and won over 12 million votes as the candidate of the CPC with 25% of votes across 16 states compared to Jonathan, with all his resources and being the candidate of a 12-year-old party then winning 10 million votes more than Buhari.

In the last 18 months, Buhari has worked assiduously along with other well-meaning Nigerians across the different power bases in the country to build a much stronger party and yet the presidency and the PDP would have us believe he would be easy to defeat.

So the question remains, why the fear?

Buhari, if selected as the APC presidential candidate, would surely be hinging his campaign on his zero tolerance for corruption, which in the past has seen him come up against allegedly corrupt politicians. Though many accuse him of jailing mostly southern politicians, I can’t recall him crating any Southern politician, drugging him and attempting to bring him back to Nigeria. The fact that he did that to a Northern politician, Umaru Dikko, absolves him of a lot of blame. If he was parochial or partial in his fight against corruption, he would never have crated a northern politician to bring him to justice back home, though his administration has always denied being involved in that landmark drama in Nigeria’s history.

Thus if he says he would be fighting corruption and economic sabotage as president in 2015, there is sure guarantee to believe him compared to this present administration that has remained aloof even in the face of massive corruption and economic sabotage going on in the country. The PDP and the presidency, despite all this, would however insist that Buhari is easy to defeat. I would not be interested in arguing over that, I’m just amused at the amount of fear Buhari’s candidacy is generating, why the fear if he is easy to defeat?

Its become so ridiculous that you find some of the writers disingenuously calling for the APC to choose Abubakar Atiku as their presidential candidate, with a certain Islamic cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi even going as far as suggesting other names as Rotimi Amaechi, Tunde Fashola, Rabiu Kwankwaso etc., but surely not Buhari. But I haven’t seen any of the writers present a compelling reason why Jonathan should re-contest in 2015 let alone why Nigerians should vote for him.

The whole talk is about that great man Buhari, but I thought he was supposedly easy to defeat, so why all the fear? The way supporters of President Jonathan are calling for the APC to make Atiku their presidential candidate reminds me of TV adverts of mosquitoes and roaches begging not to have Baygon or Raid insecticide sprayed on them should Buhari be chosen instead. If they feel Buhari would be a softer target to defeat why would you be discreetly and indirectly begging your opponents to field a “stronger” candidate in Atiku?

It just doesn’t add up and in my next article I would give reasons why I believe the APC should cool off on Atiku’s presidential bid not because he isn’t good enough or prepared but because it would be playing into the hands of the PDP. Let Jonathan, his handlers, and his party stand against the Buhari they have been boasting for years would be easy to defeat.

Without any iota of doubt corruption and economic sabotage remain Nigeria’s problems and we can’t make any progress as nation unless we fix it. Its not just about sending corrupt people to jail as Buhari did as Head of State, its by the perception you give to people and the international community, the confidence you give to foreign investors that business can be done in Nigeria without giving bribes, the hope you give to millions of young Nigerian graduates, engineers, managers, bankers, business men and women that the country is open for genuine business and people and indeed the entire nation can prosper should they choose to be legitimate.

People forget this was some of the perception and hope that the Buhari/Idiagbon regime gave to Nigerians in 1984 as Head of State. For example under Buhari’s regime, feasibility and pre-feasibility studies for any government project was done by Nigerians with no fee paid to any foreign consultant for a job Nigerians could do. The only fees paid where in services where Nigerians lacked the expertise or occupational shortages then in the sciences, technical skills or advanced technology.

He ensured that turn around maintenance (TAM) on our refineries was done by Nigerian engineers thereby saving us foreign exchange. He also started paying off all our debts as soon as he in came into power, as corrupt Shehu Shagari’s government was unable to meet any debt repayments before they were overthrown. By the time Buhari was overthrown he had paid off over $4 billion of our foreign debts in two years from the huge $15 billion Shagari had being ill-advised to borrow, and brought inflation down from runaway 40% to less than 5.5%. Also by the time Buhari’s regime was usurped by IBB we were running a budget surplus all in less than two years, the first and only time that has happened since after the oil boom of the 70s in Nigeria.

Since August 1985, when IBB came into power Nigeria has always ran a budget deficit consistently, possibly under the late Sani Abacha we had a budget neutral once but consistently its been a deficit. Nigerians don’t even talk about something that is a big issue in every serious country around the world including Puerto Rico, where its a big political talking point. The Nigerian budget under the PDP since 1999 has always been a deficit despite oil prices at an all-time high. Under Jonathan since 2010, we’ve consistently ran a budget deficit (which for those who don’t know means we spend more than we earn as a nation to the detriment of the economy and the masses) and under Buhari we had a budget surplus (we earn more than we spend as a nation to the betterment of the economy and the masses). Yet they insist Buhari is easy to defeat, so why the fear?

I leave with feedback I got from a reader on my last article titled: “A Closing Argument for Buhari’s Case”. Chimezie Okezie, writing from [email protected], wondered why the APC is shying away from building a fanatical followership across the country for Buhari like he has in the North, and why they are treating the issue of unseating President Jonathan with kid gloves. He advocates that the APC should mobilise their registered members to collect their permanent voters cards, and verify they are doing so.

Okezie posits that the APC should start recruiting vowed loyal members as polling booth agents across the country and start training them on how to counter rigging and arm them with readily available technologies that can be used to capture voting (declared results) in each booth and polling unit, with results collated in real time at the APC central campaign coordinating office.

This would ensure that results come in live to APC and there is no way election results can be rigged by the PDP across the country as the results are being collated from each polling unit in real time by the APC, should they deploy the technology Okezie advocates.

He finishes by saying: “If we get our act (APC, Buhari supporters, and Nigerian masses I believe) right, I will close my eyes, beat my chest and tell you that Buhari has won.” This is coming from an ordinary Nigerian. The question I need president Jonathan’s handlers, supporters, media supporters and the PDP to answer is, if Buhari is easy to defeat as they claim, why the fear?

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This article first appeared on Sahara Reporters

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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