5 Reasons Why Buhari May Not Be The Messiah Nigeria Needs
Editors' note: Never has Nigeria been more in need of a saviour than at this time. There is no doubt that President Goodluck Jonathan has fallen out of favour over the past four years, and it is crystal clear that many Nigerians yearn for change at all costs. But is General Mohammadu Buhari the messiah Nigeria needs? Political commentator, Ewubare Kesiena gives 5 reasons why Buhari might not be that messiah.
– A short overview of Buhari's quest to become president under a civilian dispensation
– author's opinion on the 5 reasons why Buhari may not be the messiah Nigeria needs.
Below is the full text of the opinion:
Having suffered defeats in the last three presidential election, Gen Mohammadu Buhari has returned to contest again. This time things look promising for the general who will be facing incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan for a second time at the polls on March 28. But is Buhari the messiah Nigeria needs? Here are 5 reasons why that may not be so.
1. Buhari’s Past Is Too Bloody To Ignore
Some Nigerians have compared Gen Buhari to former Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin Dada. As someone who has been involved in two violent coup plots and several human rights abuses, Buhar’s profile needs no introduction. In July 1966 while serving as a Lieutenant in the army, Muhammadu Buhari was one of the participants in a coup led by Lt-Col Murtala Muhammed that overthrew and assassinated Nigeria's first self-appointed military Head of State, General Aguiyi Ironsi.
Other participants in the July 28, 1966 coup included 2nd Lieutenant Sani Abacha, Lieutenant Ibrahim Babangida , Major Theophilus Danjuma, Lieutenant Ibrahim Bako among others. That coup was the bloodiest in Nigeria’s history, leading to the murder of mostly Igbo officers. Among the casualties was Lt Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi, the military governor of the Western Region.
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On December 31, 1983, General Buhari again got involved in another Coup. This time the democratically elected government of President Shehu Shagari was overthrown.
After taking charge in December 1983, Buhari’s government became best for its human rights abuses. He went about jailing innocent citizens and politicians arbitrarily. Critics of the regime were also thrown in jail, as was the case of Nigeria’s most popular artist and one time presidential contender, Fela Anikulakpo Kuti. Under his regime, the most repressive journalistic laws were enacted leading to the incarceration of many journalists among whom was Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor of The Guardian.
But the height of Buhari’s tyranny was unleashed when Bartholomew Owoh, Bernard Ogedengbe and Lawal Ojulope were made to face the firing squad for an offense which did not carry death sentence at the time it was committed.
That regime was brutal, not a few will forget the koboko (horse whip) lashes that lacerated their backs when they committed minor offenses or littered the environment.
In politics the past is never forgotten. If this rule were to apply in Nigeria then Gen Buhari may not be the messiah Nigeria needs.
2. APC Is Made Up Of Re-cycled Politicians
The All Progressive Congress (APC) under whose flagship Buhari is running was formed as a result of a merger between three of Nigeria’s prominent political parties: the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in February 2013. The sole reason for the merger was to take on the People's Democratic Party. The merger thus brought together politicians from these three parties, some of whom had occupied government positions in time past with little or nothing to show for it. The untold truth is that some of the characters in the APC are not any better than those in the PDP. Most of the ardent critics of the PDP were once zealous PDP supporters in Obasanjo and Yar'Adua regime.
The question is why did it take these recycled politicians so long to realize that PDP was not the answer to Nigeria’s problems? Now that most of them are accusing PDP of wrong doing they should also realize that they share in the sins of the PDP. The APC might even be a bigger evil than PDP considering the unpredictable nature of Nigerian politicians. Even if Muhammadu Buhari becomes the president will he be able to perform competently while surrounded by this crop of people? I doubt. A pack of wolves with a change of name remains a pack. APC is a product of Nigeria’s political system hinged on greed and ghana must go bags. The possibility of Buhari changing his compatriots are slim.
3. Buhari Is A good Soldier But Not A Good Ruler
If Buhari was born in the days of Alexander the great, Napoleon Bonaparte or Julius Caesar, he would have fit that era perfectly. Without bias, Buhari is a sterling example of what a good soldier should be like.
According to Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde, in 1983, when Chadian soldiers invaded some communities in Nigeria, the then GOC of the 3rd Division in Jos under whose command the Northeast fall, Maj. General Buhari, was given the signal to flush out the Chadians. Buhari mobilized his soldiers and personally led them in the field. Within few days Nigerian soldiers not only got the Chadians to flee but they chased the latter right into Chad. Buhari couldn't stop. It took quite some effort to get the soldier in him to pull the brakes. Later, he will claim that he didn't know that he was already deep into Chad. Buhari the GOC had an excellent relationship with his soldiers. He never allowed superiors to oppress their juniors or edit their allowances. He was riding a 504 saloon car and lived in a simple bungalow along Bauchi road adjacent to the Unijos Main Campus. When he was appointed the head of state after the coup, his soldiers in the barracks went wild in happiness.
But as excellent as his military prowess are, Buhari still lacks the basic leadership qualities that distinguishes a tyrant from a ruler. After all Adolf Hitler was a fine soldier who bravely fought in the First World War, but that same Hitler became a nightmare when he was entrusted with the reins of power in Germany. Being a president is a totally different ball game from being a Head of State.
Leading soldiers who don’t ask questions is different from leading the whole country. Truth be told, Buhari lacks the leadership ability to rule a nation successfully. He has also never tried to inculcate these abilities in himself. Decades after ruling Nigeria with horse whips he is still relying on his past leadership style which is now outdated.
4. APC lacks A Clear Ideology
The lack of ideology in Nigeria’s political system is another reason why Buhari may be unable to deliver if he becomes president. Unlike Nigeria’s earlier political parties which were hinged on defined ideologies. Present day parties in Nigeria lack identifiable political ideologies and even when these parties attempt to include some in their manifestoes or constitution they are vague and uncertain. The APC is also guilty of this shortcoming.
While giving a brief note about it self on its website, the party states that the purpose of its coming into existence is to take on the People's Democratic Party (PDP). It’s no wonder why the party has pushed the concept of change. Change; change; change. But APC has failed to state how it intends to bring about this change. Added to this, their presidential candidate, Gen Buhari, dodged the political debate that could have given him an opportunity to shine. By doing so he has given the impression that he lacks the intellectual capacity to solve Nigeria’s problems.
Like birds of a feather, APC is also hampered by the lack of defined political ideology just like the PDP. This implies that APC bears many similarities with the PDP. The only visible difference between the two parties is that they don't share the same name and party logo.
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5. Buhari Is Hunted By The 2011 Post Election Violence
Buhari is a devout Muslim from Katsina State, who has given his support to Sharia in the north. He has previously had to deny allegations that he has a radical Islamist agenda. It would be unfair to judge him based on his religion, but this does not exempt him from accusations that he flamed the embers that lead to the 2011 post-election violence. Back then, while campaigning in the northern part of the country, the general was said to have told his supporters to defend their votes at all cost.
After the results of the presidential elections were announced, with Jonathan the winner, the North boiled with violence. Some analyst blamed Buhari for the violence, citing the general's charge to his supporters to defend their votes as the reason cause of the violence. While Buhari’s message to his supporters could be subjected to several interpretation based on who interprets them, the glaring fact remains that his supporters were said to have slaughtered innocent victims, among whom were Youth Corpers in the name of defending their votes.
One torching incident according to This Day was that of Ikechukwu who was murdered in cold blood by rioters who said they were protesting against the results of the 2011 presidential election. Ikechukwu was wasted in far-away Bauchi: lonely, terrified, kilometres away from friends and family—in the service of his fatherland as a youth corps member.
His last phone calls were described as coming from “someone in distress”. His last post on his facebook wall was on Sunday, April 17, a day after the election, at 6:48am, via mobile web. He wrote (unedited): "Na wao! This CPC supporters would hv (have) killed me yesterday, no see threat oooo. Even after forcing under age voters on me they wanted me to give them the remaining ballot paper to thumb print. Thank God for the police and am happy I could stand for God and my nation. To all corps members who stood despite these threats esp. In the north bravo! Nigeria! Our change has come."
He was reported missing that day by friends and finally confirmed dead on Friday, with thousands of tributes flowing across the social network sites.
He was not alone. Six other youth corps members were confirmed killed in Bauchi, where the candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, polled 1,315,209 votes (or 81.69 per cent), defeating President Goodluck Jonathan (of the Peoples Democratic Party) who scored 258,404 votes and did not even hit the 25 per cent mark.
The corps members were reportedly chased to a police station where they sought refuge. But the rioters, who were said to be chanting “Sai Buhari”, overran the station and killed the young Nigerians.
In countries where human lives are cherished, a messiah whose supporters carried such gruesome act would likely choose to stay away from politics so as to clear his name. But our general has chosen to gallop ahead ignoring the fact that innocent blood was spilled for his lofty ambitions. A leopard doesn’t change its spot that easily. Gen Buhari may not be the messiah Nigeria needs.