Se­crets be­hind Buhari’s ruth­less­ness

The Punch - - VIEWPOINT - Tunde Odes­ola

The lamb at home doesn’t know the dead­li­ness of the hunter in the for­est. Rad­i­cal is­sues re­quire dras­tic ac­tions. With un­com­mon courage and a mas­sive sense of pa­tri­o­tism, I, Ba­batunde Odes­ola, a mid­dle-aged Nige­rian jour­nal­ist and a die-hard lover of democ­racy, hereby, call for a revo­lu­tion against mil­lions of Nige­ri­ans who have been de­mon­is­ing Mal­lam Muham­madu Buhari (GCFR) and his amaz­ing party, the All Pro­gres­sives Congress.

The acro­nym, GCFR, is the big­gest gar­land in the land, be­fit­ting of a ma­jor-general run­ning a vi­cious regime. GCFR means Grand Com­man­der of the Fed­eral Repub­lic, and not Grand Cor­rupter of the Fed­eral Repub­lic, which res­onates more with the Nige­rian masses.

A down-to-earth truth is that if an­gels de­scend from heaven and take charge of Aso Rock to­day, some un­scrupu­lous anti­estab­lish­ment pro­test­ers will still sing ‘aluta’ on rooftops, in mar­ket squares and at road junc­tions, set­ting alight rag­ing bon­fires. Well, I know the rul­ing APC has gra­ciously pro­vided state-of-the-art fa­cil­i­ties for revo­lu­tion chanters, Omoyele Sowore, Olawale Bakare, Nnamdi Kanu and their re­li­gious ilk, Ibrahim el-za­kzaky, to dig­i­tally mix their ‘aluta’ songs with sea­sonal car­ols in na­tion­wide prison holes now dig­ni­fied as cor­rec­tional fa­cil­i­ties.

Be­fore I’m ac­cused of col­lect­ing money from the ma­jor-general to do a hatchet job, let me point out that Buhari’s stingi­ness stinks to high heaven, and I love him for that. Nige­ria is in dire need of a tight-fist, no-non­sense ‘old soja’ like Sai Baba. Buhari is an un­gen­er­ous, 77-year-old herds­man, who doesn’t throw money at peo­ple, ex­cept for his in­dul­gence of his rich, mo­tor­bik­ing son, Yusuf, whose sib­lings coughed up high for­eign ex­change as school fees to grad­u­ate from schools abroad. Yes, the children must have per­son­ally paid their for­eign school fees by them­selves be­cause Pa Buhari can’t af­ford to pay such crazy fees! I don’t need no stupid pro­test­ers like Sowore, Bakare and their ac­com­plice lawyer, Femi Falana, to tell me that Buhari’s life earn­ings can’t foot the tu­itions of his sev­eral children that schooled abroad; I know the truth. I know such money is un­af­ford­able for even a Field Mar­shal in the Nige­rian Army. I also re­mem­ber that Buhari gave his un­cle, Mam­man Daura, a pala­tial res­i­dence in­side Aso Rock, where the lat­ter and his overindulg­ed daugh­ters nois­ily live off tax­pay­ers’ money with im­punity. Those must be the lazy Nige­rian youths Buhari was re­fer­ring to in Lon­don, last year.

I didn’t for­get that this in­cor­rupt­ible ma­jor general is for every­body and for no­body. This is why he could proudly iden­tify with his children’s nu­mer­ous for­eign cer­tifi­cates, but not with their tu­itions. This is nat­u­ral; hon­est ma­jor gen­er­als don’t like stains on their starched khakis. They won’t look kindly at you if you blow the kakaki when you see their long, lean hands in the hot pot of soup and the palm oil tell-tale on their bony lips. Abeg, don’t ask me where the money could have come from; manna still falls in the Katsina desert, you un­be­liever!

Na­tion­wide, peo­ple ac­cuse Buhari of nepo­tism, clan­nish­ness, clum­si­ness, slug­gish­ness, brazen­ness and law­less­ness. Though dazed by these al­le­ga­tions, I’ll still rise to Baba’s de­fence by say­ing Buhari has saved so much money for Nige­ria. But they cho­rus, “Taaa! Baba nla false­hood.” These rev­o­lu­tion­ists are stub­born and silly, you know. They say Nige­ria needs not save up money stupidly in a piggy bank which is ac­ces­si­ble to bats in bul­lion vans. They ask, “Of what good is it to save up money in a leaky piggy bank while for­eign debts drown the na­tion? Of what good is it to jin­gle money in a piggy bank like a three-year-old while un­em­ploy­ment, hunger, in­se­cu­rity, poverty and hope­less­ness rav­age the land?” They ask.

These rev­o­lu­tion­ists are stupid. They went back in time to 1983, the year of reck­less mil­i­tary aban­don when Ma­jor General Buhari snatched power, and they came up with dis­turb­ing facts. They be­gan to ques­tion and query. Fool­ishly, these silly rev­o­lu­tion­ists couldn’t un­der­stand why Vice-pres­i­dent Alex Ek­wueme, a mere ‘spare tyre’, and sev­eral gov­er­nors from the South-west and South­east were clamped be­hind bars while the head of the al­leged cor­rupt and undis­ci­plined civil­ian gov­ern­ment, Pres­i­dent Shehu Sha­gari, was left out of jail – with­out trial. Also, they said the ma­jor general and world’s No 1 An­ti­cor­rup­tion Cru­sader never con­demned the evil regime of the dark-gog­gled armed-robber general, Sani Abacha, who is still sin­fully rich – more than 21 years after his death and alarm­ing seizures of his out­ra­geous loot. But I ask, “Are all these enough to la­bel Mr In­tegrity an eth­nic bigot? In what ways do these lit­tle things show Mr Clean as un­clean?”

Be­cause his sec­ondary school cer­tifi­cate de­vel­oped wings and flew away, these ‘turenchi’-speak­ing rev­o­lu­tion­ists think the ma­jor general is brain-lazy when it comes to log­i­cal rea­son­ing. how wrong they are! Like the war general he is, Buhari de­fended himself log­i­cally and fiercely, two weeks ago, when he opened up on the pro­found logic and in­ge­nu­ity of how he catches trea­sury loot­ers. he said, “Well, like I said, I have learned in the hard way. When I came in uni­form, I got those who were lead­ing, took them to Kirikiri (Max­i­mum Prison) and told them they were guilty un­til they could prove them­selves in­no­cent. I put, based on almost all the geopo­lit­i­cal zones, com­mit­tees to in­ves­ti­gate them. Those that were found to have lived be­yond their means, the bal­ance was taken and was given to the states. But, I my­self was ar­rested, de­, un­der this sys­tem (democ­racy), which is sup­pose to be more ac­count­able, it is too slow for my lik­ing, but I have to fol­low it.”

Be­tween Ma­jor General Buhari (retd.) and the Nige­ria Po­lice Force, I don’t know who bor­rowed the awe­some thief-catch­ing style from the other. With­out in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the Nige­rian po­lice would ar­rest on mere sus­pi­cion and tor­ture till a sus­pect con­fesses to a crime never com­mit­ted. Sim­i­larly, Buhari openly con­fessed, a fort­night ago, that he clamped civil­ian lead­ers of the Sec­ond Repub­lic into jail (with­out ev­i­dence), ac­cused them of guilt and bur­dened the lead­ers with the onus of proof. Could this be the rea­son why many cor­rupt pub­lic of­fi­cials wrig­gle out of cor­rup­tion cases and re­turn home to en­joy their loot to­day? And many Sec­ond Repub­lic lead­ers were dis­charged and ac­quit­ted after they in­no­cently spent nu­mer­ous months in jail. The Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion has ob­vi­ously im­proved on the Buhari Maja-maja The­ory, ar­rest­ing Sowore and Bakare in­side a court in ses­sion, de­tain­ing them and de­fy­ing var­i­ous court or­ders set­ting both men free. But when he was dealt, in 1985, the same blow that he dealt oth­ers, the ma­jor general whined cow­ardly and played the vic­tim, say­ing, “I, my­self was ar­rested, de­tained...” But he failed to add, “Like I de­tained oth­ers with­out ev­i­dence and trial.”

After that night­mar­ish coup that shat­tered his iron rule in 1985, our ma­jor general has lived in mor­bid fear of coups - a rea­son many ad­duced to his re­luc­tance to change his ser­vice chiefs de­spite ob­vi­ous ev­i­dence that they have no an­swer to the crush­ing in­se­cu­rity across the na­tion. I sus­pect that the old sol­dier’s per­pet­ual fear of be­ing top­pled un­der­lines his ut­ter in­tol­er­ance to be­ing chal­lenged or called to ques­tion. Some say that’s why Baba gave com­mand of the se­cu­rity or­gan­i­sa­tions in the coun­try to his North, whose sons con­trol the mil­i­tary, DSS, po­lice and all. When the cold-blooded regime bares its fangs against rev­o­lu­tion­ary pro­test­ers and phan­tom hate speeches, please, know that the ma­jor general is liv­ing in abid­ing fear of los­ing his crown a sec­ond time.

Email: tun­[email protected]­

(tun­[email protected]­

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