GIVE it to President Muhammadu Buhari, just about 15 months in the saddle, he has learnt so fast the art of politics or probably, all these years he was struggling to be the president, he had undergone political tutelage on how to keep people busy by diverting their attention in other directions when serious issues of deeper concern are on his table.
A cursory glance at his policies will reveal that when the complaints of people were reaching high heavens over the excruciating economic situation in the country, he would come up with issues that tend to distract the people and keep them busy talking momentarily ,so that they forget their sorrows and keep trudging on.
This strategy resonated penultimate week when the Naira depreciated to an all time low, exchanging more than N350 to one dollar, causing more factories to close shop and more Nigerians to join the endless queue in the labour market.
More so, this played up when international aid agencies were bitter over the hunger and malnourishment of children in the Northeast and when the nation was experiencing its worst electricity supply capacity in years.
For the inability of the government to steer the ship of the nation’s economy in the right direction, the president has always looked for an excuse and who to hold responsible. It has always been excuses
upon excuses. Policy summersaults. JAMB would give admission today and tomorrow the Ministry of
Education would cancel it. Ministers openly disagree on the same issue. While the finance minister says
the economy is on technical recession, the national planning minister would disagree.
Truth is no more a home run in Nigeria and has plunged to the deepest abyss. The entire society has
been completely monetized, values and norms eroding fast. The value of our society has fantastically been eroded beyond revitalization and if a good leadership is not enthroned, a better societal reorientation cannot be achieved. Yet, he is looking for excuses. That is why his rating across the globe is nose-diving.
When he assumed office, Nigerians thought they were in for good times, but it hasn’t taken long for
them to realize that the change mantra was a ruse. Instead, they have been engulfed in crisis and threats of disintegration.
In today’s Nigeria, every direction one turns is crisis and mezzanine leadership. People flock around those they perceive as haves for favours of all kinds rather than going to constituted authorities.
The favour recipients, in groups, can dangerously be brainwashed into private armies. Nigeria is drifting
at hypersonic speed and the target destination could obviously be either a federated Nigeria or an apocalyptic split.
As the wailing in the country continues, the president continues to look for whom to pick on and this time, decided that former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, was an interesting target. And based on probable cause, this is a clear and present danger to IBB’s life.
In an interview published in the current edition of The Interview magazine, Buhari said IBB overthrew
him to escape probe.
According to him, he was removed from office 31 years ago, because he planned to purge the military
hierarchy of corruption. Specifically, he said senior military leaders, led by former military president,
General Ibrahim Babangida(rtd) and General Aliyu Gusau(rtd), masterminded and effected his ouster on
August 27, 1985, to save themselves from a probe, which was hanging over their heads like the proverbial sword of Damocles. Buhari said he championed the probe via a proposal he wrote to the Army Council. He said it was after he tabled the proposal for the sacking of Gusau, then Director of Military Intelligence, that Babangida embarked on a coup knowing that he
(IBB) was in line for a probe.
“I learnt that Aliyu Gusau, who was in charge of intelligence, took import license from the ministry of
commerce which was in charge of supplies and gave it to Alhaji Mai Deribe. It was worth N100,000. It was a lot of money at that time. I confronted them and took the case to the Army Council in a memo… I wanted Gusau punished,” Buhari said.
This is an orchestrated total blackmail and being angry with a dog to kill it if Buhari can unfortunately
and sadly evoke an event of 31years ago and see ‘North’s resistance can’t stop restructuring’ perhaps a time for vengeance. Next is probably to cause the arrest of IBB, Gusau, including Obasanjo, T Y Danjuma etc. for phantom reasons and a shutdown of several media outlets. It is unfortunate that President Buhari should choose this time to ruminate on the ugly past. He is rewriting history and equally making history to walk on its head.
This is not time he should dissipate energy on frivolities and idle talk. This is a time that demands
so much from him; a time he should roll up his sleeves and work hard to see how he would remove
the forced wrinkles on the faces of Nigerians who are more disillusioned over his style of governance.
If Buhari is not seeing the real danger of disunity of Nigeria, which most Nigerians are glancing and
staring at, reasoning inductively and deductively and yet remains clueless with no capacity to go head
on to confront the virus to preserve unity, obviously he may suffer a repeat of his failed administrative
idealism. Buhari can look over his shoulders to see Republic of Biafra emerging. It’s no more a mirage.
If Buhari can’t spearhead the renegotiation of sovereignty, he must give way for someone else who
has the interest of Nigeria at heart to come on board.
A peaceful resolution is still possible to arrest the imminent danger of disintegration and a two year
interim national government to renegotiate sovereignty is the only option available, otherwise
forget the brand Nigeria.
The question Buhari ought to have asked is why was there jubilation across the country when
Nigerian heard the voice of Sani Abacha that announced the overthrow of his government? Why
was it that his government became so unpopular in less than 18 months? Why is it that 31 years after ,
Nigerians hardly looked back with nostalgia on that government?
In retrospect, Nigerians usually cite, the good old First Republic, first six years of Nigeria’s birth and
three years of our republic, the existing cities then bore the names of great Nigerians from all walks of
life, from the ethnic nations that makes up our nationstate and from the several political and ideological
divides. In as much as the country was crafted fraudulently and corruptly, there was hope then for a
country and nation building. Not anymore.
The overthrow of Buhari in August 1985 was timely to save the system from total collapse. That
government was seen as the darkest period in Nigeria’s political history outside the Nigeria/Biafra
internecine war and so, no one wanted to remember it. It was a time Nigerians queued to buy milk
and other items that were categorized as essential commodities. In fact, back then, frustration and
hunger were rife.
And now similarly, his ethnocentric and nepotistic style of governance is anti-federal character, anti-
Nigeria, anti-Ndigbo , anti-Hausa (only in favour Fulani), anti-Christian, anti-establishment, anti-basic
needs of life, anti his own policies, anti his own government’s economic team and in fact, anti all
facets of life. Terrible!
Nigerians know that our president was being economical with truth when he alleged that IBB
removed him because he was about to probe former and Gusau. The fact was that his government had
choked up Nigerians and as they suffocated and prayed for God’s intervention, IBB showed up. His coming was answer to their prayers. IBB had also stated the reason for the coup, which
Nigerians believe and not what President Buhari was telling them about the coup.
According to the former military president, there was nothing in the memo, which Buhari submitted to the Army Council. “Don’t forget that I was one of Buhari’s closest aides. I was the Chief of Army
Staff. So, I had an important position, an important role to play within that administration. I don’t think
it had to do with a memo”, Babangida was quoted to have said.
Except for diversionary reasons, this isn’t a good time for Buhari to attack IBB and unearth a history
that the people didn’t want to hear. During his electioneering campaigns last year, Buhari went to
IBB for endorsement and political support and IBB obliged him. That should have meant a lot to Buhari.
•Brady Chijioke Nwosu is Imo PDP governorship aspirant and writes from