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buhari and idiagbon

Nigeria has not recovered from any coup d’etat. Buhari could have been the best President Nigeria hardly had until he came back as a civilian President to demonstrate how clueless he is. One factor Buhari had on his side then, was patriotism. A fake leader of a whole nation is worse than a fake doctor or lawyer on an individual basis.

Nigerians refused to blame themselves for abdication of responsibility for governance to terrorists, bandits, looters and fraudsters. When Funso Williams was killed, we wondered why a man of such integrity would even venture into politics. It is the attitude that turns politics to the game of do or die. It got worse, the upper class in Nigeria today are militricians, money launderers, ritualists and drug pushers.

The hooligans and thugs that used to protect and fight for politicians realised that they could become Chief Security Officers, Governors and Ministers. It did not make any sense to lose your life fighting for someone when they could assume their positions.

They all bow to the even least educated; callings of Voodoo, Pastors and Imams of fortune. Those wondering how leadership lost integrity, ran away from home expecting those they left in charge of the country to turn it into El Dorado. If we think we could have done better, why didn’t we fight it out with those we thought should not even govern or become the head of dog catchers or maja maja?

After all, there was a time Africans could not wait to finish their education abroad before rushing home. If you do not want to kill your waiting mother. There were people waiting after four years to ask why you were not back home. It was the days Mbadiwe called those in political circles: men of “timber and calibre”.

We do not need to speculate or accept the patriotic reasons Buhari and Idiagbon gave for overthrowing Shagari. Many writers stated their opinions on Buhari’s junta motivation, some claimed he beat others to it. Buhari changed Shagari Civilian Rule to Military Rule. He was so blindly ambitious like most fanatics with desire but lack direction, clarity, raw and unlettered. Another civilian overthrown by the Military before him was “invited” by the Acting President Nwafor Orizu; until he was contradicted by his colleagues.

Richard Akinjide and others made it clear, they did not invite the Military, it was a coup. We have to reflect on that history in view of 20/20 insight and Buhari’s impunity today. Compared to the 1st coming of Rawlings in Ghana that queried the audacity of the Military to overthrow Kwame Nkrumah Civilian Government. Though the motive of Rawlings and his Opponents were heavily contested, it never resulted into civil war as we witnessed in Nigeria.

But we should have held on to our suspicion and those expressing doubts when Buhari went to Ibadan to question Lam Adesina, the Governor, about the treatment of Hausa/Fulani, threatening violence. It certainly was not the behavior of a patriot but of an ethnic champion.

The mission after his reign with Idiagbon, quickly overthrown by Babangida was to reassert himself at Ibadan “ole afajo” – “on 13 October 2000, when words went round that Gen. Muhammadu Buhari was leading the Arewa team to the governor’s office to confront the state over alleged killings of Fulani cattle rearers in Saki, Oke Ogun Area.”

Nevertheless, this reputation of patriotism with little tolerance for corruption brought him back from two election defeats to being elected civilian President that won a reelection. It became clear that we trusted him to lead a great country despite all its faults and the Civil War as if he ever had allegiance to the whole Country. Just as another great country elected an idle leader.

Indeed, Jonathan the most promising President Nigeria ever had, by and large, single handedly made it possible for his own defeat and election of Buhari. Ebele Jonathan was the Acting President installed by all Nigerian Activists from the South to the North and subsequently voted the President. As any complacent Nigerian, he got overbearing labeling his friends and kingmakers, motor park touts. Even worse he left the Environmental Degradation where he comes from in Niger Delta worse than he met it. He would rather boast about how many Nigerians he made billionaires.

Therefore, Buhari had an easy pass to power in view of Jonathan’s failure. The unfortunate point is that a potential Regional Power always had to contend with the lesser of all evils. No country can grow that way and Nigeria remains stunted. This is a country that has talents, more educated citizens and earned more foreign income than anywhere on the Continent. But competent people did not get the opportunity to serve, only cronies that enhanced corruption were invited to lead crucial productive sectors.

The number of brains and talents Nigeria has directly on the Equator under the Sun should have made the Country a leader in the production and export of Solar Power. We are still struggling to build and discover yesterday’s fuel for our future needs. It is not only shameful but embarrassing that a country that should have been a regional power yesterday is still running after past technology that has been discredited for its contribution to global warming with no future for a better world climate. While International Oil companies still waste and flare gas. If gas production cannot be achieved without Oil companies, individual institutions can do Solar.

However, when it comes to terrorism, fraud and drugs, the world can point to specific regions in Nigeria. Buhari, who had pointed out what was wrong in Nigeria and even jailed Nigerians in violations of regulated foreign currencies, now champions waste of foreign income on personal care and travels. He has more planes at his pleasure than the Country’s epileptic Airline. The Country’s medical services and schools are in shambles while he and his cronies jet outside for medical treatments and graduation of their children. Buhari, why are you leading any government?

Na by force?

***Farouk Martins Aresa @oomoaresa